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Video Game / Combat Mission

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A notable series of platoon- to battalion-level historical wargames. They use simultaneous turn resolution ("WeGo") and place an emphasis on historical accuracy. The series features an incredibly detailed simulation of ballistics, armor, and penetration, especially as it relates to tank armor; things such as ricochets are fully modeled, as is individual vehicle component damage. The difference types of cover and concealment are also modeled in-game with meticulous detail - rifle bullets can potentially punch right through drywall, for example, and a mortar shell will go straight through a thin sheet-metal roof. The series is also extremely easy to mod, and boasts a robust built-in scenario and campaign editor.

There are currently three games in the original game engine, and seven titles in the second generation (most with additional add-on modules, noted):

First Generation (CMX 1)

  • Beyond Overlord: June 1944-May 1945 in Western Europe.
  • Barbarossa to Berlin: June 1941-May 1945 on the Eastern Front
  • Afrika Korps: 1940-1945 in North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Second Generation (CMX 2)

  • Shock Force: A fictional "near-future" war set in 2007 between the U.S. and Syria. It would get three content packs, adding new factions—each of which plays differently to reflect different nations' military doctrines—and new equipment:
    • Marines: Introduces the United States Marine Corps and Syria's "14th Airborne Division," a branch of the Syrian Army that fields newer, more modern kit.
    • British Forces: Adds the British Army, a new campaign, and new scenarios.
    • NATO: Adds Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, with a new campaign for each.
  • Afghanistan: Takes place during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s.
  • Normandy: Beyond Overlord's setting remade in the new CMX 2 engine.
    • Market-Garden: The Western Front in the Netherlands in September 1944.
    • Commonwealth Forces: The Western Front from June to September 1944.
  • Fortress Italy: Italy from July 1943 to early 1944
    • Gustav Line: Italy 1944
  • Red Thunder: The Eastern Front from June to August 1944
    • Fire and Rubble: The final months of the Eastern Front, culminating in the fall of Berlin.
  • Final Blitzkrieg: The Western Front from October 1944 to January 1945
  • Black Sea: A "near-future" fictional conflict in Ukraine with Russian, Ukrainian and American forces
  • Shock Force 2: A remake of Shock Force with the improved Game Engine 4, featuring new mechanics like electronic warfare and amphibious vehicles, plus a few new scenarios that take advantage of these mechanics
  • Cold War: An alternate history about a conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact on the border between East and West Germany from 1979 to 1982.

This series provides examples of:

  • A Commander Is You: Downplayed since real-life militaries try to be effective in multiple roles, but still present.
    • The US Army in Shock Force and Black Sea is an Elitist faction. In most scenarios it's heavily outnumbered, but it has the strongest tank in the M1A2-SEP, and even its weakest tanknote  outclasses anything that it might face. Its IFV, the Bradley, is the sturdiest and arguably the deadliest in the series. And every Bradley and Stryker carries a Javelin launcher with 3 missiles, meaning that a US Army fireteam can destroy any enemy tank that it gets the drop on. And, unlike the Syrians and Russiansnote , any US rifle squad can call in any form of fire support.
    • In Shock Force and Afghanistan, the Unconventional Forces and the Mujahideen are, obviously, the Guerrilla faction, depending on concealment and traps to compensate for their lack of firepower.
      • Shock Force goes further by adding a "Civilian Density" mechanic that makes Unconventional forces harder to spot in high-density areas, and creating restrictive victory conditions for NATO that the Unconventionals can exploit to deny NATO a win. It also adds Spy units that are unarmed but extremely difficult to spot, and can roam the map relatively safely to see what's going on behind enemy lines.
    • The regular Syrian Army in Shock Force is a Turtle faction that's fighting in a Guerilla role. Its best strategy is finding good vantage points for its spotters so that its (somewhat formidable) artillery can degrade NATO forces, hiding its tanks to set up ambushes (since any Syrian tank that moves in the open will probably get spotted and destroyed), and forcing NATO to advance slowly in hopes of running out the clock.
    • The Dutch Army in Shock Force is the closest thing that NATO has to a Ranger Faction. It has the two most mobile IFVs in the game, the YPR and the CV-9035, which can advance at high speeds over terrain that would bog anything else down. This makes the Dutch excellent in forested maps, where they can get troops from A to B quickly and can set up devastating ambushes. But their thin armor makes them a bad choice for prolonged or close-quarters engagements.
    • The Bundeswehr in Shock Force is a somewhat Technical faction: its formations are useful in their niches, but limited otherwise. Its Panzergrenadier infantry enjoy support from Leopard 2 MBTs and are carried by Marder 1 IFVs, a durable vehicle that has so much ammunition that simply demolishing buildings is often a viable alternative to clearing them. But each Panzergrenadier squad is so small that one firefight can leave it combat-ineffective. The Gebirgsjäger light infantry have larger squads and are supported by maneuverable and deadly Wiesel tankettes, but the Wiesel is a Glass Cannon and the Gebirgsjäger themselves ride around in the Fuchs, an APC with paper-thin armor, very little firepower, and poor maneuverability. The Bundeswehr's Javelin-counterpart, the Milan ATGM, is slower to deploy, harder to operate, and less reliable than the Javelinnote . And while all German squads can punch through enemy armor with the modern Panzerfaust, the Panzerfaust is unguided and thus only effective at dangerously close range. Using the Bundeswehr well depends on getting the Gebirgsjäger to the battlefield intact, and on keeping the Panzergrenadiers intact once they reach the battlefield.
    • The USSR in Red Thunder is a Spammer faction. The tables are turned in the Fire and Rubble module, when Nazi Germany deploys the utterly disposable Volkssturm infantry.
    • The USSR in Cold War is a Brute faction. Its artillery outclasses the USA's, and it has the better tanks for head-on engagements until the 1982 scenariosnote . Its doctrine emphasizes pummeling enemy lines with artillery early in the battle, rolling tanks forward to degrade the enemy and soak up enemy fire, and then sending in a wave of infantry to mop up whatever is left.
  • All There in the Manual: Every single tank, self-propelled gun and antitank gun of the war is painstakingly reproduced, along with each and every variant they had throughout the war. During battles, you can right-click on them to know exactly how much armour they have, how sloped it is along which angle, how much armour penetration you can expect from the gun and so on. On the recruiting screen however? Well, if you don't want to buy the wrong one, you'd better know them by heart. All of them.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Units occasionally display atrocious path-finding skills, with tanks redirecting themselves halfway around the map rather than waiting for the rout ahead to clear. In the original Shock Force, infantry had the alarming habit of picking the wrong side to enter a building, preferring to run around to the front and into enemy fire instead of using the available, safe back door.
  • Booby Trap:
    • Anti-Tank, anti-personnel, and daisy chain mines.
    • IEDs in Shock Force and Afghanistan.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Playing as the Syrians in Shock Force will often leave you stuck with such state-of-the-art technology as the BTR-60 APC (first designed over half a century ago) and T-55 main battle tank (ditto). Afghan rebel fighters and tribal militias in Afghanistan regularly use World War II-vintage weapons, along with occasional relics from World War I and a smattering of weapons which were already fairly old even then - you'll encounter a lot of 1890s-vintage Enfield and Mosin-Nagant rifles, for example.
  • Cannon Fodder: Conscript infantry, in general, but particularly those poor-quality Soviet troops making Human Wave attacks, and late-war Nazi Volkssturm conscripts.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Applies universally, since the series realistically simulates combat and militaries try to fight this way, but it's pretty obvious with some factions and units.
    • The Unconventional Forces in Shock Force lack, well, conventional weapons. Their most reliable way to take out something with heavy armor is with a car bomb or a large IED. They can also exploit NATO restrictions on use of force by hiding in mosques and hospitals, forcing NATO to clear them out with infantry rather than demolishing the building.
    • The best approach to urban battlefields is often to just flatten buildings instead of fighting house-to-house. This is especially obvious for the Bundeswehr's Panzergrenadiers in Shock Force: the Marder 1 has more than enough ammunition for the task, and Panzergrenadier squads are so small that they can easily get swarmed and wiped out in close-quarters fighting.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The entire story campaign of Shock Force, which is about the full force of the US and NATO being called down upon the army of Syria. It's made clear at the beginning of the game that allied forces losing the war is not even remotely within the realm of possibility; the only way the outcome can be affected is in determining exactly how fast and decisive the victory is. Allied forces have technological superiority as well as massive amounts of artillery support and total air supremacy.
  • Dirty Bomb: Never seen in-game, but the backstory in Shock Force is that the detonation of these in Western Europe triggered NATO's invasion of Syria.
  • Easy Logistics: Somewhat applicable. Infantry never run completely out of ammunition, though once they reach "low" their firepower drops by half, and they can only fire in self defense. Vehicles also never run out of fuel, although they can still be immobilized by a burst tire, damaged track, destroyed engine, or unfavorable terrain.
  • Fake Difficulty: In Black Sea, the USA has one unrealistically weak link: air defense. Russia has everything from MANPADS to flak like the Tunguska to SAM systems like the Strela, Ukraine is almost as well-equipped... and the US has nothing but infantrymen with a short supply of Stinger missiles. In a real war, a procurement disaster like that would see US units borrowing Tunguskas from their Ukrainian allies until the mess got sorted out.
  • Glass Cannon: Known as "Eggshells with Hammers" within the community. Notable examples are the Nashorn (88mm PaK 43 and 15mm armor), the Archer (17 pounder and 20mm armor), the M18 Hellcat (76.2mm cannon and 25mm armor), and many self-propelled howitzers.
    • The various WWII-era Marders would also count, along with most Russian early war Tank Destroyers - the armour of a half-track, the cannon of a heavy tank. Learn keyholing or die. For that matter, you really should consider fixed & towed antitank guns as one-shot weapons too, since the enemy is sure to drop arty or at least direct machine gun fire on their position once they've revealed themselves.
    • In Shock Force, Syrian anti-tank missile teams. One well-placed shot to the top armor of a Stryker or Bradley can fireball the vehicle - and you better hope it hits, because that one shot is all you're going to get.
    • On the Western side in Shock Force, the infantry elements of Bundeswehr Panzergrenadier battalions. They have incredible fire support, thanks to integrated tank elements and the Marder 1, which has the highest ammunition capacity of any IFV in the game. Unfortunately, the Marder 1 has room for just six Panzergrenadiers, making them the smallest squad in the gamenote  and vulnerable to being rendered ineffective after just one firefight.
  • God Damn Bats: smoke shells, of all things. The computer AI is particularly fond of firing them at your armour, rendering them useless until they are clear of the fog. Of course, that is the entire point.
  • Missing Backblast: notably averted in the WWII games. Troopers armed with Bazookas and Panzerfausts can fire from indoors if you order them to. They won't do it on their own, and with good reason: the backblast most often sets the whole building on fire and is quite likely to wound the people firing it. The British PIAT is notably exempt from those rules as per history, since it was less of a rocket launcher and more of a giant spring.
  • The Engineer: Combat Engineers, in particular. Engineers are expensive, specialized infantry. They carry demolition charges, can clear minefields, and are usually accompanied by flamethrowers.
  • Kill It with Fire: All manner of flamethrowers. In practice, these mostly just rout troops and deny ground.
    • Russian troops also pack Molotov cocktails in lieu of antitank grenades (and in some case have special slingshot-like launchers for them that allow the cocktails to be flung at greater ranges than most grenades, although the accuracy is questionable).
  • No Swastikas: Some versions of CMBO refer to the Waffen-SS as "Waffen Grenadiers," a designation that was in reality only applied to non-German SS units.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What a NATO defeat in Shock Force looks like. Syrian and insurgent forces can lose ground and get virtually annihilated, but still "win" on Victory Points if NATO forces suffered excessive casualties, destroyed off-limits buildings, wasted too much ammo, or ran out of time before reaching key objectives.
  • Tank Goodness: Everything from the M5 Stuart to the single Super Pershing. Assault Guns, Tank Destroyers, SP Anti-Aircraft weapons, tankettes. Only a few obscure, captured vehicles are omitted.
    • Shock Force, the first entry set in modern times, included (with expansions) virtually every armored fighting vehicle then in service with the militaries of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as a whole host of surplus Soviet and Russian tanks and APCs for Syria. And technicals.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: In Shock Force, many NATO scenarios and campaigns will punish the NATO player for damaging hospitals, schools, mosques, or marked residential buildings, sometimes making victory impossible if NATO is too careless with its fire.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Inevitably happens when that one particularly resilient, enemy tank runs amok amongst your forces.
  • Zerg Rush: Soviet Human Wave attacks.