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Combat Mission: Shock Force

Game Manual

(c) 2007-2008 battlefront.com, inc.


all rights reserved. v1.10
Revised edition. Major changes relative to v1.01 are highlighted in yellow type

Shock Force 1
License
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“Combat Mission: Shock Force” (the “Software”), but only a right of limited use of the
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served by Battlefront.com, Inc.
You shall not, in any way, modify, enhance, decode, or reverse engineer the Software.
User-created scenarios and other materials like graphics or other mods may be dis-
tributed free of charge, but shall not be sold, licensed, or included as part of any
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In order to install and run the Software, you acknowledge and agree to the installation
of a third party licensing application on your computer.

Limited warranty
Battlefront.com warrants to the original purchaser that the media on which the Soft-
ware is recorded is free from defects in workmanship and material under normal use
and service for 90 days from the date of delivery of the Software. This warranty does
not cover material that has been lost, stolen, copied, or damaged by accident, mis-
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Battlefront.com’s entire liability and your exclusive remedy shall be, at Battlefront.com’s
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2 Combat Mission
The Reality of Reality, A Foreword
Computers are essentially fancy calculators. They like
order, simplicity, and predictability. Chaos is not
something that a computer handles very easily or very
well. Depending on the circumstances, it might even
be impossible.
A tactical combat simulator, unfortunately, requires the
computer to simulate chaos - both natural and
manmade. Then, as the simulation is executed in
RealTime, the computer must calculate this chaotic
environment quickly and efficiently. As if this isn’t
demanding enough, the gamers using the simulator
require that the computer also devote a large amount
of its power to push around polygons to make the
simulation seem real. Oh, and all of this should work
on the average home PC that has been purchased
within the last few years.
What game developer in their right minds would want
to tackle something like this? Us, of course! Strangely
enough, we even enjoy it.
For a tactical combat simulation to be successful, the
developer needs to be realistic about what can and
can’t be done in a practical sense. In effect, this
means very carefully picking what to simulate and how
to simulate it. It also means simulating as many
elements as abstractly as possible so that resources
can be devoted towards those things that are not as
easily abstracted. Therefore, as realistic as Combat
Mission is, it doesn’t mean players won’t notice
abstractions from time to time. This is unavoidable -
simply because few gamers have a super computer at
home!
Why is this important? Because you, the end user,
need to know that although Combat Mission appears to
simulate the real world and all its chaos down to the
last boot heel and rock, there are some fundamental
abstractions necessary to make this whole thing work
on your PC. The end result is that, as you play CM,
sometimes you will see things that don’t look quite
right. A soldier shooting through solid ground,

Shock Force 3
perhaps, or a tree branch passing through a passing
tank. In a perfect world we would have enough time
and computing power to avoid these abstractions.
Since we don’t, we can’t. What we can do is make
sure these abstractions do not negatively impact the
realism of the overall simulation. The “big picture” of
your experience in CM is, after all, what is most
important.

Unlearning Combat Mission


Gamers familiar with the original Combat Mission
series will quickly figure out that we haven’t spent
three years simply redoing what we already did.
Instead, when we started working on CM:SF we
decided, from the start, that nothing was sacred. We
set out to build a better game engine and anything we
felt holding us back from pushing forward was changed
or abandoned completely. Yet, at the same time, we
tried very hard to preserve the core of what made the
original Combat Mission great.
The resulting game probably has, feature for feature,
more differences with the earlier Combat Mission
games than you might expect to see. Although it will
probably take you some time to get used to the
differences, we are confident that you’ll be fine once
the surprise wears off. Just like many of you were fine
playing Combat Mission for the first time after years of
wargames that looked and felt like paper and dice
board games. Back then we called the process
“unlearning”, so perhaps now we should call it “re-
unlearning”!

4 Combat Mission
Table of contents
Foreword ................................... 3 Two-player ................................. 38
Unlearning Combat Mission– ..... 4 Real-time ................................. 38
LAN/Internet ............................ 38
Table of contents ....................... 5 Turn-based ................................. 40
CM:SF Backstory ........................ 8 Hotseat .................................... 40
A developer’s conundrum ............. 10 Email ....................................... 40
Multi-player ................................ 41
Installation & Licensing ............ 13
Installation from disc ................... 13 Skill Levels ............................... 42
Installation for Download version ... 13 Basic Training ............................. 42
License Overview ........................ 13 Veteran ..................................... 42
Licensing .................................. 14 Elite .......................................... 43
Un-Licensing ............................. 15 Basic Screen Layout .................. 44
E-license support ........................ 16 Game User Interface (GUI) ........... 45
Keyboard & mouse Controls ..... 18 Unit Info Panel .......................... 45
Camera Navigation ...................... 18 Team Info Panel ........................ 47
(Mouse) ................................ 18 Details Panel ............................. 49
(Keyboard - defaults) .............. 18 Detail Panel Components ............ 50
Unit Selection ............................. 18 Profile ................................... 50
Commands ................................. 19 Stats .................................... 51
Command Keys (defaults) ............ 19 Reports ................................. 51
Number Pad ............................... 19 Command Panel .......................... 53
Editor ........................................ 20 Menu Options ............................. 54
3D Map Preview ........................ 20 Command Interface ..................... 55
buildings ............................... 20 Number Pad ............................. 56
Flavor Objects ........................ 20 Keyboard ................................. 56
2D Map Editor ........................... 20 Mouse ..................................... 57
Options ...................................... 20 On-screen menu ....................... 57
Customizing hotkeys .................... 21 Playback Interface ....................... 57
Options ..................................... 23 Spotting & Floating Icons ......... 58
Battles & Campaigns ................. 25 Commands ................................ 60
Battles ....................................... 25 Move Commands ......................... 61
How to start ............................. 26 Move ....................................... 63
Select Combat Force ............... 27 Quick ...................................... 64
Select Game Options ............... 27 Fast ......................................... 64
Mission Briefing ...................... 27 Slow ........................................ 65
Setup Phase ............................. 28 Hunt ........................................ 65
Victory conditions ...................... 29 Assault .................................... 66
Terrain based objectives .......... 30 Blast ....................................... 66
Unit based objectives .............. 30 Mark Mines ............................... 67
Force wide objectives .............. 30 Reverse ................................... 67
Campaigns ................................. 31 Combat Commands ..................... 68
Playing A Campaign ................... 32 Target ...................................... 68
QuickBattles ............................... 34 Target Light .............................. 69
Quick Battle Options .................. 34 Target Arc ................................ 70
Environmental Options ............ 34 Clear Target ............................. 71
Units options .......................... 35 Face ........................................ 71
Launch the QB .......................... 35 Special Commands ...................... 72
Setup Positions ......................... 35 Hide ........................................ 72
Victory conditions ...................... 36 Deploy Weapon ......................... 73
Dismount ................................. 74
Gameplay Styles ....................... 36 Bail Out ................................... 75
Single Player .............................. 36 Acquire .................................... 75
Real-time ................................. 37 Pop Smoke ............................... 76
Turn-based ............................... 37

Shock Force 5
Pause ...................................... 76 Flavor Objects ..................... 118
Open Up .................................. 77 Craters ............................... 118
Administrative Commands ............ 78 Elevation ................................ 118
Split Teams .............................. 78 Landmarks ............................. 120
Assault Team ............................ 79 Setup Zones ........................... 120
Anti-Tank Team ......................... 79 Map Toolbar ............................ 121
Instant Commands ...................... 79 Object Rotation .................... 121
Command & Control (C2) .......... 81 Paintbrush ........................... 121
Maintaining C2 Links .................... 82 Map Zoom ........................... 121
Information Sharing .................... 83 Map width & depth ................ 121
Leaders ..................................... 85 Units Editor ............................. 122
Air & Artillery Support .............. 86 Purchase Units .......................... 123
Requesting Support ..................... 87 Soft factors .............................. 124
Selecting a Spotter ...................... 87 typical Setting ......................... 126
Support Roster ........................... 88 Purchasing equipment ................ 126
Support Panel ............................. 89 SBCT Specific Units ................. 127
Adjusting or Canceling Support ..... 91 HBCT Specific Units ................. 128
Air Mission Parameters ................. 92 US Artillery ............................. 128
Artillery Mission Parameters .......... 92 Syrian Tank Units .................... 128
Syrian AFV/IFV Units ............... 129
Air Assets ................................. 94 Syrian Anti-Tank Units .............. 129
Munitions, Spotters and Equipment96 Reinforcements ....................... 130
Munitions .............................. 96 Earliest Arrival Time .............. 130
Spotters ................................ 98 Arrival Span ......................... 130
Equipment ............................. 99 Deploy Units ........................... 131
Environmental Considerations . 100 Deployment Commands ......... 131
Basic Rules of Thumb ............ 100
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Editor132
Unconventional Warfare ......... 101 AI Elements .............................. 133
Unconventional Forces ............... 103 Groups .................................. 134
Specialists ................................ 104 Map Zone ............................... 134
Using IEDs and VBIEDs .............. 105 Orders ................................... 135
The Editor ............................... 107 Order type ........................... 135
Basic screen layout .................... 107 Setup Orders ....................... 136
File Menu ............................... 108 Occupy buildings ..................... 136
Editor Selector ........................ 108 Stance ................................... 136
Mission Editor ........................... 110 Passenger status ..................... 137
Description ............................. 110 Plans ....................................... 137
Battle Type .......................... 110 Exit Before / Exit After ............. 138
Environment ........................ 110 Support Targets (Blue or Red) ..... 139
Daylight .............................. 110 3D Preview ............................. 140
Battle Size ........................... 111 Editing Buildings ....................... 140
Title .................................... 111 Single Wall ............................. 141
Description .......................... 111 Single Side ............................. 141
Image ................................. 111 Entire Building ........................ 141
Data ...................................... 111 Editing Flavor Objects ................ 141
Mission (Blue and Red) ............. 112
Parameters (Blue and Red) ....... 114 Baking Scenarios .................... 142
Terrain Objectives (Blue and Red)114 Making Campaigns .................. 143
Unit Objectives (Blue and Red) .. 115 Core Units File .......................... 144
Map Editor ............................... 116 Scenarios (Battles) .................... 145
Map Editor Options .................. 117 Campaign Script File .................. 146
Ground #1 .......................... 117 Compiling a Campaign ............... 148
Ground #2 .......................... 117 Creating Quick Battle Maps ..... 149
Brush .................................. 117 Setup Zones ........................... 149
Foliage ................................ 117 AI Plans ................................. 149
Roads ................................. 117 Victory conditions .................... 149
Walls/Fences/Trenches .......... 117 Red and Blue .......................... 150
Buildings ............................. 118 Units on the map ..................... 150

6 Combat Mission
Terrain ................................... 150 Threat ..................................... 206
Battle Type ............................. 150 Defensive equipment ................. 206
Mods ....................................... 150 Ammo ..................................... 206
Loading order ........................... 151 Comms .................................... 207
Rezexplode .............................. 151 Special Equipment ..................... 207
Repack .................................... 152 Branches ................................. 208
Mods in Action .......................... 152 U.S. Army .............................. 208
Important ................................ 153 Syrian Army ........................... 208
Syrian Uncons ........................ 208
Tips for using the Editor ......... 154 Troubleshooting ........................ 209
Getting to know the terrain ......... 154 Tech Support ............................ 210
Eastern plateau ....................... 155
Water .................................... 155 Military Terms Glossary .......... 211
Climate .................................. 156 Credits .................................... 212
Realistic maps ........................... 156
Tactical considerations ............... 159
Towns and cities ........................ 160
Flavor Objects .......................... 161
Keep game performance in mind . 162
Working with Objectives ............. 163
Creating Phase Lines ................. 165
“Secret” Missions ...................... 165
Programming the AI .................. 166
Plan for the Plans .................... 166
Start simple ........................... 166
What would you do? ................ 167
Do something else ................... 167
The devil is in the details .......... 168
Encyclopedia ........................... 169
Coalition (United States) ............ 169
Basic Tactics ........................... 169
The Stryker Combat Vehicle ........ 172
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle ....... 176
The Abrams Main Battle Tank ...... 177
The Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle 180
U.S. Air Assets ........................ 181
U.S. Artillery Assets ................. 182
U.S. Weapons ......................... 183
Syria ....................................... 186
Basic Tactics ........................... 186
Tanks .................................... 187
Syrian Artillery Assets .............. 195
Syrian Weapons ...................... 196
Branches ................................. 202
Coalition (USA) ......................... 202
Stryker Brigade Combat Team ... 202
Heavy Brigade Combat Team .... 202
Syria ....................................... 203
Republican Guard .................... 203
Special Forces ......................... 203
Regular Army ......................... 204
Reserve Army ......................... 204
Militia .................................... 204
Unconventional Forces (Fighters) 204
Unconventional Forces (Combatants)
205
Icons ...................................... 206
Specialty (MOS) ........................ 206

Shock Force 7
CM:SF Backstory
History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare
us to be surprised yet again.
- Kurt Vonnegut

The First Unconventional Conventional


War
During the Winter of 2008, a number of inconspicuous pieces of
luggage were carried by individuals to different parts of the
world. The men were of different ages and nationalities, and
none of them knew of the others. They even appeared to have
started their trips in different countries - but appearances are
often meant to be deceiving. Instead of being random people
with random luggage from random nations, they were all, in
fact, on the same mission, sent by the same group, residing in
the same country; Syria.
The Terrorists, for that is what they were, spent months making
journeys that would have taken people with nothing to hide a
few hours. But of course, they each had something to hide,
and that something was in the average looking pieces of lug-
gage. Once inside their target nations they could move around
fairly easily, for that is both the benefit and drawback of free
societies. Still, they moved cautiously and according to differ-
ent schedules that were designed to mask their careful
coordination. By the Spring of 2008 they were all in place and
waiting for the signal.
During this time of deployment, the various agencies responsible
for uncovering such plots had heard much talk about luggage
and their possible contents. Some cells within Syria had been
compromised and information was beginning to take shape
that something very bad was about to happen. Unfortunately,
the plot took such eventualities into consideration, so the in-
formation accumulated was largely useless. Security was
tightened up, but the sleepers were already in place and in
hiding. A few tips or hunches brought authorities close, but
not close enough.

8 Combat Mission
Then, one day, a message was sent. The sleepers awoke and
made their way to targets of their own personal choosing within
cities not directly chosen by their leaders. Within a few hours,
dozens of pounds of radioactive waste uranium were detonated
by conventional explosives, polluting major cities of the West
for hundreds of years. The leaders of the plot came out of
hiding to celebrate, claim credit, taunt, and promise more such
attacks. Then they melted back into the population.
At the United Nations, the countries suffering from the attacks
demanded they be given the mandates necessary to go after
those responsible for the attacks. Of course, the demands
were met with hardly any opposition from UN members. Al-
though the target had not yet been fully identified, the pieces
of intelligence accumulated before and after the attacks pointed
to one - and only one - country as the point of origin; Syria.
With its long history of state sponsored terrorism, it wasn’t
difficult to imagine that Syria was responsible.

While further evidence was being sought, the military forces of


the West began to deploy to bases within striking range of
Syria. The Syrian government denied involvement, but they
also denied granting any meaningful assistance to investiga-
tors. Instead, they put their military on high alert and mobilized
large numbers of reservists. Obviously, such actions did not
add credibility to their denials.
The smoking gun came in April; a video of the terrorist group’s
only known leader celebrating the success of “our mission”.
The video showed details that were not known publicly. There-
fore, it was concluded that the video was a confession from the
man responsible, not someone claiming credit for the deeds of
others. Communications surveillance, eyewitnesses, and co-
vert operatives all agreed on one thing: this man and his
organization were located in the heart of Syria. The case for
war was therefore complete.
On June 15th sortie after sortie of Coalition aircraft launched at-
tacks to soften up the Syrian defenses. The air attacks
continued for three days. Meanwhile, various nation’s special
forces slipped through Syria’s borders to pave the way for a

Shock Force 9
larger ground offensive. On the morning of the 19th, a large
American force, Task Force Thunder, left its jump-off positions
and crossed into Syria along the middle section of the border
with Iraq. Other forces streamed in from the south and along
the Turkish border. Still more forces landed on the Mediterra-
nean coast. Thus, from three sides, the combined weight of
the West’s military might bore down on the safe haven for its
attackers.
Task Force Thunder was assigned the most important task. Led
by a full Stryker Brigade Combat Team, backed up by a mixed
battalion of Armor, Mechanized Infantry, and support assets,
its job was to slice through the center of Syria with the great-
est possible speed. Its primary mission was to make it
impossible for the defending forces to redeploy from one area
to another, to cause maximum confusion of the defense ef-
forts, and to eventually seal off Damascus, the Syrian capital -
and the toughest objective - from the northeast. Other forces
would be responsible for reducing the pockets TF Thunder cre-
ated so that its advance would not be slowed.
As the commander of 2nd Battalion, your mission is to hit the
enemy forces hard and keep to TF Thunder’s time table. The
success of the entire military operation rests in no small part
on your shoulders.

It is better to be a dog in a peaceful time than to be a


man in a chaotic period.
- Chinese Proverb

A developers conundrum
In mid 2002 we decided, for a number of reasons, that the first
game using the new CMx2 engine would be set in the near
future instead of the past. More specifically we decided to
focus the game on the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT)
concept, which was in its infancy at the time. We felt it would
be interesting to “see what it could do” in a conventional ground
combat role in the near future.
By mid 2004 CM development was at a stage where we had to
nail down the region and the specific nation to act as the game’s
setting. From a gaming perspective to get the sort of challenge
we required we needed a Red Force (OPFOR) that had a con-

10 Combat Mission
ventional armed force capable of offering more than token re-
sistance. The country also had to be a plausible foe of the
so-called Western nations who make up the Blue Force. The
resulting list was surprisingly short, even when we looked at
the possibility of a setting outside of the Middle East. All things
considered, we decided that Middle East and Syria would offer
the best elements for CM:SF and therefore we chose Syria for
our setting. We based our choice primarily on the desire to
provide a tactically rich and interesting modern combat set-
ting. Much less important for us was the likelihood of its actual
occurrence. We do not intend this game to be any form of
endorsement of actual war between the United States and Syria.
The events that followed 2002 caused us to constantly reevaluate
CM:SF’s designs and to make changes and additions to its com-
bat modeling in order to better reflect what we felt ground
warfare would look like in 2008. The drawn-out conflicts in
Afghanistan and Iraq gave us great insight, but neither offered
the mix of conventional and unconventional warfare we sus-
pected would be seen in a setting such as Syria.
The short war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of
2006 showed us that we were on the right track as far as the
game itself went. However, our back-story for a conflict with
Syria was becoming less and less possible, even though, in
many ways, it was becoming more plausible.
By mid 2006 we found ourselves in a conundrum. Due to the
strain on resources from the continuing wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq, the ability of the West to wage another large ground
war in the Middle East (or anywhere for that matter) became
less and less possible with each passing month. Still, we wanted
to simulate such an environment and, in fact, were too far
along in the development process to back out even if we wanted
to. This conflict between needs and reality presented us with
quite a design dilemma. On one hand we had to pick a viable
place to “wage war” or we wouldn’t have a game at all. On the
other hand we could see no country that clearly deserved a
“virtual invasion”.
To solve this problem we considered setting CM:SF in a com-
pletely fictional country against a completely fictional Red
Force. After lengthy discussions internally and on our Forum
we decided that a generic, fictional setting would not be as
compelling to play as a real-world setting. Therefore, we
chose Syria as the “Red Force” even though there is no indi-

Shock Force 11
cation that war with Syria would be justifiable - or even fea-
sible - any time in the near future.
Once we chose the setting we dedicated a considerable amount of
effort to ensure that we made a fair and accurate representa-
tion of Syria’s ability to defend itself militarily. While we would
have done this no matter what the setting was (realism is,
after all, our hallmark), it does serve a double purpose in this
case. Not only does CM:SF’s setting make for a challenging
tactical wargame, but it also demonstrates Syria’s likely real-
world ability to inflict significant losses on a foreign invader
while at the same time not being able to overcome the awe-
some lethality of Western military forces. Therefore, it is our
opinion that if such a conflict should start to develop a true
diplomatic solution would be in the best interests of all parties
concerned.

12 Combat Mission
Installation & Licensing
Installation from disc
In order to install the game, insert the game disc. The Combat
Mission: Shock Force Installation Menu should appear if you
have CD Autostart enabled on your computer. Click on the “In-
stall Game” option to begin the installation process. If you have
CD Autostart disabled, or if the Installation Menu does not ap-
pear, please browse the contents of the disc and simply
double-click on the file called “CMSF_Setup.exe”. That will
manually launch the game installer.

Installation for Download version


After you have successfully downloaded the Combat Mission: Shock
Force download file (filename CMSF_Setup.exe), copy this file
to a temporary folder and then double-click on it to launch the
installer.

License Overview
Combat Mission: Shock Force is protected by an online activation
system called “eLicense”. eLicense is a tool to restrict the ille-
gal distribution of the software without being annoying or
intrusive to the legitimate customer.

Shock Force 13
Unlike so many other activation systems, eLicense requires you
to register only once and does not mess with your hardware or
OS settings. Yet it does prevent illegal use of the game and
therefore ensures that Battlefront.com will be around for a long
time to come. That means more games for you to enjoy in the
future!

Licensing
When you first run CM:SF, after initial install, you will be prompted
to license it . In most cases all you need to do is:
a) make sure the computer on which you have
installed the game has an active online connection to
the internet
b) enter your license key into the correct field in the
pop-up window
c) hit the “license” button and wait a few seconds while
your license authorizes.
If you wish to install the game on a computer which has no internet
connection, you must perform what is called an “Offline Li-
cense Request”. As above, when you first launch the game,
after initial install, you will need to do the following when the
License Screen appears:
a) click on the “off-line license” button and generate
the off-line license request
b) save the ENTIRE request file (including the
instructions on top all the way down to the encrypted
portion of the file) to a disc or other removable media
(USB drive, floppy etc...)
c) transfer the file you saved in step B to a computer
which has internet access
d) On a computer that is connected to the internet, go
to http://www.license.net and paste the ENTIRE
contents of the file into the corresponding window
e) generate the license file and copy it to a disk or
other removable media (USB Drive, floppy etc...)
f) transfer the file from step E, back to the computer
where the game was installed and proceed with the
off-line licensing procedure by pasting the entire
contents of the license file into your licensing window
Off-line licensing is also a good workaround for online computers
which experience problems with a firewall or proxy settings

14 Combat Mission
since, unlike the direct online activation, off-line licensing only
requires a simple non-encrypted internet connection. If you
do experience firewall or proxy problems, simply follow the
off-line licensing steps on the same computer that is having
the problem.
eLicense allows you to license, un-license and re-license the game
as often as you wish. This allows you to use CM:SF on several
computers if you like (up to two at the same time) without
reinstallation, and gives you the right to re-sell the game after
you’ve had your fun with it (as long as you un-license your
copy).

Un-Licensing
One of the neat features of eLicense is that your license never
expires and is never used up, unlike so many other protection
systems out there. If you buy a new computer, replace a hard
drive, or even give the game to a friend, you can simply un-
license the current activation. This frees up your license key to
be re-used elsewhere. There is no limit to how often you are
allowed to do this, as long as you un-license first before at-
tempting to re-license elsewhere.

If you want to use the game on your desktop and a laptop, that’s
possible without having to unlicense a copy, because each li-
cense key allows you two concurrent activations. However, if
you already have two activations, and would like to run the
game on a third computer, you must first un-license one of the
active copies before you can activate the game on a third ma-
chine.

Shock Force 15
To activate a third computer, without un-installing from an exist-
ing computer, you have to manually un-license it. There are
several ways to un-license a copy:
a) via program group shortcut. The actual shortcut
depends on how you installed the game, but the
default is:
Start->Programs->Battlefront->Combat Mission Shock
Force->Unlicense CMSF
b) right click on the file you’re using to start up the
game. This can be a desktop icon or an entry in your
program menu. Select “un-license” from the pop-up
menu.
c) Open the Windows System Tray and open the
eLicense Control Center. Select the game you want to
un-license and right-click on it. Select un-license from
the pop-up menu.
Other ways on how to un-license, as well as solutions to potential
problems are explained in the F.A.Q.:
http://www.battlefront.com/elicense_faq.html
After the Un-license window opens, you must enter your license
key and click the Un-license button while your computer is
connected to the internet. Un-licensing only works online and
is not possible if your computer is not connected to the internet.
When unlicensing, make sure that you see a Success message
at the end of the process. If you don’t, then your game was
not properly unlicensed, and your license might still be “in use”.

E-license support
Battlefront.com prides itself on customer service, and this contin-
ues with the implementation of the eLicense system. Please
check out our F.A.Q. section which explains how eLicense works,
how to license and un-license games, and what to do if you
ever run into issues, such as firewall configuration, proxy set-
tings or if you simply lost your license key:
http://www.battlefront.com/elicense_faq.html
If you ever need specific assistance, or have lost your license key
(we recommend printing it and not only saving it electroni-
cally), do not hesitate to email us with a description of your
problem at elicense@battlefront.com. We usually respond within
1 working day.

16 Combat Mission
Please note: only the original Battlefront.com version of the game is
using eLicense. If you have purchased your game elsewhere (e.g.
in a store), and if it has the Paradox Interactive logo on it, then
you have the retail version of the game, which is NOT using
eLicense.

Shock Force 17
Keyboard & mouse Controls
Camera Navigation
(Mouse)
Cursor at screen edges ......... Move
Cursor in upper corners ........ Rotate
Left-click and drag ............... Move camera
Right-click and drag ............. Pivot camera
Right-click and hold
(when unit selected) ............ Pivot around unit
Mouse wheel ....................... Elevate
Mouse wheel + SHIFT .......... Elevate + Pitch
Mouse Wheel + CTRL ........... Pitch
CTRL + Left-click ................. Jump to Map Location
(Keyboard - defaults)
W or Up Arrow ........ Move Forward
A or Left Arrow ........ Move Left
D or Right Arrow ...... Move Right
S or Down Arrow ..... Move Back
Q ........................... Rotate Left
E ........................... Rotate Right
V ........................... Reverse View
R ........................... Raise camera
F ........................... Lower camera
Z ........................... Zoom out
X ........................... Zoom in
C ........................... Wide Angle View
1 - 9 ...................... Preset Camera Positions
Arrow Keys ............. Fine Movement

Unit Selection
Left-click on Unit ................. Selects Unit
Right-click on Map ............... Deselects Unit
Double-click on Unit ............. Group-select formation
SHIFT+Left-click .................. Adds additional units to group
SHIFT+Left-click & Drag ....... Drag selection rectangle
................................................ around multiple units
(Note: + and - keys are restricted to “next” unit within the group when a
group is selected)

18 Combat Mission
Commands
ESC ....................... Pause Game
TAB ....................... Lock Camera to Unit
- ........................... Select Previous Unit
+ .......................... Select Next Unit
F12 ........................ Select Last Unit
{ and } .................. Adjust 3D Model Quality
` ........................... Talk to Internet Opponent

Command Keys (defaults)


U I O ..................... Top Row of Commands
J K L ...................... Middle Row
M , . ...................... Bottom Row

B ........................... Move Fast Command


N ........................... Move Command
............................. Reverse Command
H ........................... Target Command
Y ........................... Target Light Command
G ........................... Face Command
/ ........................... Deploy Command
P ........................... Pause Command
H ........................... Hide Command
[ ........................... Dismount Command
] ........................... Vehicle Open Up Command
; ........................... Pop Smoke Command

F5 ......................... Movement Command Panel


F6 ......................... Combat Command Panel
F7 ......................... Special Command Panel
F8 ......................... Admin Command Panel

DEL ....................... Clear Unit Target


BACKSPACE ............ Delete Last Waypoint

Number Pad
/ ........................... Previous Command Panel
* ........................... Next Command Panel
7 8 9 ..................... Top Row of Commands
4 5 6 ..................... Middle Row
1 2 3 ..................... Bottom Row

Shock Force 19
- ........................... Select Previous Unit
+ .......................... Select Next Unit

Editor
3D Map Preview
buildings
CTRL+Left-click on wall ....
.................................... changes windows/doors layout
ALT+CTRL+Left-click on wall
.................................... changes windows/doors layout for
.................................... WHOLE side of building (all floors)
CTRL+Left-click on roof ....
.................................... changes shape/type of roof
SHIFT+Left-click on building
.................................... changes “Facade” (texture) of the
.................................... whole building
CTRL+SHIFT+Left-click ....
.................................... cycles through balcony types for
.................................... selected floor
CTRL+SHIFT+Left-click on ground floor
.................................... cycles through balcony types for the
.................................... WHOLE side of the building (all floors)
ALT+Left-Click ...... changes building details
Flavor Objects
LEFT CLICK ......................... rotate object
SHIFT+LEFT CLICK .............. nudge object in the direction
................................................ the camera is facing
CTRL+LEFT CLICK ............... delete object

2D Map Editor
CTRL+Right-click ..... changes current tile rotation
Left-click ................ place tile/object
Left-click & hold ....... “paint” tile/object (not all tiles/obj.)
Right-click .............. delete tile/object (of the same type as
.................................... currently selected)

Options
Alt-S ...................... Toggle Sound
Alt-W ..................... Toggle Shadows
Alt-K ...................... Toggle Smoke
Alt-T ...................... Toggle Tree Display

20 Combat Mission
Alt-C ...................... Toggle Camera Shake
Alt-I ....................... Toggle Floating Icons
Alt-J ....................... Toggle Show Objectives
Alt-L ...................... Toggle Show Landmarks
Alt-P ...................... Toggle Show All Move Paths
Alt-Q ...................... Quit

Customizing hotkeys
CM:SF allows you to customize the hotkeys to your liking. In or-
der to do so, browse into your game directory and open the
„Data” folder. You will find a file there called „hotkeys.txt”. Open
this file in a text editor program.
You will see entries for Camera controls, the base Command keys,
and various other controls there. Each language has a differ-
ent default. A tag indicates the language, e.g. <E> for English,
<F> for French, <G> for German etc.
In order to change the default hotkey, simply edit this file and
save it in the same location. You might want to keep a few
things in mind however:
- It might be a good idea to save the original defaults first be-
fore making any changes. For example, rename the original
hotkeys.txt file to hotkeys_original.txt.
- When you change a hotkey, make sure that the same key is
not already used / assigned to a different function. The pro-
gram does not check for double-assignments, and will perform
one function, but not both. The game may crash if you assign
the various functions to the same key.
- If you’re not using other languages, feel free to remove all
other entries. This will help in editing the file. If no language
specific entry is found, the <E> keys are used by default.
Here are some further useful tips to keep in mind when customiz-
ing your key layout: Combat Mission has two distinctly different
approaches for using unit Commands via the keyboard; Rela-
tive and Direct.
The Relative system involves a set of 9 keys centered around
three rows of three consecutive keys each. These 9 keys match
the 9 Command Buttons in the user interface's Command Panel.
Each hotkey controls the commands RELATIVE to the position
on the screen. For example, by default the U key activates the
Top Row Left-Most key which would be FAST, TARGET, and SPLIT

Shock Force 21
depending on which Command Group is visible (Movement,
Combat, and Special respectively).
The Direct system, on the other hand, assigns a unique hotkey
for DIRECT access to each Command. No attention is paid to
the graphical representation on the screen. For example, if so
assigned, F would issue the FAST command. T would issue the
TARGET command, H would control the HIDE command etc...
no matter which Command Group is visible on the screen.
There are pros and cons to each system. The Relative system
allows the player to keep one hand stationary on the keyboard
and does not require any "hunting and pecking" to find the
right hotkey. The downside is that when you wish to use two
Commands in a row that are in different Command Groups you
have to first switch the proper Command Group (now done
using the F5-F8 keys).
The Direct system allows you to string Commands together with-
out concern for which Command Group they are in, but does
have the drawback of requiring the hand to move and locate a
specific key, which may or may not be easily memorized. Which
is "better" comes down to personal player preference, there-
fore both are provided.
Whenever possible, the order buttons under the various Com-
mand Panels will display the assigned "direct" key in highlighted
green text.
Note, we recommend that you decide which system you prefer
and then assign the keys as you wish by editing the hotkeys.txt
file. The default key assignments have all 9 Relative keys as-
signed (UIOJKLM,.) as well as a selection of the most commonly
used commands mapped to new Direct keys (Move Fast, Move
Normal, Reverse, Target, Target Light, Face, Deploy, Pause,
Hide, Dismount, Vehicle Open Up and Pop Smoke) to give you
an idea of how the two systems work. We have found that
using one or the other systems exclusively seems to have the
best results and do not recommend mixing the two systems
together. While it's possible to do, it could mean getting the
worst of both systems and not really getting the benefits. There-
fore, if you wish to use the Direct system we advise that you
edit the hotkeys.txt file to unassign the 9 Relative hotkeys.
Also, be aware to not double assign any keys to multiple func-
tions.

22 Combat Mission
Options
The Options menu allows various global game options, mainly
with regard to visual and audio quality, to be set prior to play-
ing a game. For the most part these settings require infrequent
resetting. Features that need more frequent customization are
set within the game using Hotkeys.

The Options are:


- Sound: Toggles all in-game sounds on or off.
- Display Size: you can select the game to run at the following
resolutions: Desktop (the game will run at whatever resolution
your desktop is set to), 1024x768, 1152x864, 1280x960

Note: If you want to run the game in a resolution and refresh rate not
listed, you can manually configure these settings by editing the
"display size.txt" file located in your game directory. Simply
change the numbers that you see there with the width (in pixels)
and height (in pixels) and refresh rate (in Hertz) you wish to run
the game.

Example: For 1440x900 at 75Hz refresh rate, you would delete


the numbers in that file and replace with "1440 900 75" (without
quotes).

Shock Force 23
If you put in all zeroes - example: 0 0 0 - the game will revert to
using your desktop resolution and refresh rate.

Exercise caution and only use a resolution and refresh rate


supported by your monitor as damage to your monitor or display
adaptor could occur, especially if you use too high a setting.

- Vertical Synchronization: this option optimizes image quality


based on your monitor refresh rate. This setting may reduce
your framerate, however.
- 3D Model Quality: Offers several settings for balancing model
details with speed. The choices range from “Fastest” (lowest
quality, highest game speed) to “Best” (best visual quality but
possibly lower game speed). “Balanced” offers a good com-
promise between model quality and frame rate speed.
- 3D Texture Quality: Same as above, except it balances the
quality of the graphics. For computers with video cards with
less than 64 MB memory, the Fast and Fastest settings are
recommended.
- Antialias / Multisample: Allows you to toggle Anti-Alias and
Multisample on or off. If switched on, this option improves vi-
sual quality but may cost game performance.
- High Priority Process: This option instructs Windows to as-
sign "normal" application priority or "high" application priority
to the game when it is run. The "normal" setting can fix lag-
ging mouse and/or keyboard input issues for some systems.
The "high" setting is recommended if you have not experi-
enced any input lag problems. The "high" priority option allows
Combat Mission to use more system resources and may result
in better performance.
- Language: CM:SF comes in a multi-language configuration. It
defaults to the language that your desktop is set to. If you
would like to switch to a different language, you can make the
choice here. You must exit the game after changing languages,
in order to access the correct language scenario folders.

Note: If you would like to disable the intro video playing at game
launch, hold down the “V” key at game startup. The video will no
longer play when the game loads and the setting will be saved in
the preferences file. On subsequent startups you can press “V”
again to bring the video back.

24 Combat Mission
Battles & Campaigns
CM:SF offers three basic types of scenarios to play: Campaigns,
Battles, and QuickBattles.

Battles
As the game title “Combat Mission” implies, the actual Battle Mis-
sion is at the core of the game. This is where player and/or
computer-controlled forces clash and their fate is decided.
Battles constitute the base for the Campaigns and QuickBattle
systems, explained further below. A number of pre-designed
and tested battles and campaigns are available with the game,
and by using the powerful Editor tools, players can also create
an unlimited number of new battles.
Battles are missions pre-designed by a scenario designer, and
include the map, objectives, forces, reinforcements and AI
scripting. As such, Battles can depict a nearly unlimited num-
ber of combat situations, forces, and mission types. The Editor
section of the Game Manual explains in detail how Battles can
be created.

Shock Force 25
How to start
To start a Battle, click on the Battle button on the main menu
screen. The battle window opens, listing all available battles
from the game’s “Scenarios” folder. Clicking on the title of each
battle provides additional information to give the player a quick
idea of what the Battle is about.

- Image: an optional image associated with the Battle. Could be


an in-game shot, or map overview, or anything else that the
scenario designer deems worthy of showing. If no image is
provided, this area remains black.
- Parameter icons: four icons that show the most important
parameters for the battle:
- Environment: the general type of map the battle takes place
on. Options include City, town, village, open, rough, hills, etc.
- Weather: the weather setting for the battle. Options include
clear, overcast, rain, etc.
- Battle Type: the type of battle and which side is the attacker
or defender. Options include Assault, Attack, Probe and Meet-
ing Engagement.
- Battle Size: indication for the battle size, i.e. the amount of
units, size of map, and duration. Options range from Tiny all
the way to Huge as shown the by number of soldiers depicted
in the icon.
- Time of battle: the time of day when the battle starts

26 Combat Mission
- Temperature: the air temperature during the battle
- Description: a short one-line description entered by the sce-
nario author to describe what the mission is about
The player has the option to click OK or to Cancel. The latter
brings the player back to the Battle selection screen. Hitting
OK opens the next screen:

Select Combat Force


The player now chooses the side he would like to play - Blue (US)
or Red (Syrian)

Select Game Options


In the next screen, the Style of play and number of players is set,
as well as the difficulty level for the mission.

Players - options range from single play in real-time or turn-


based, or various 2 player options (LAN/Internet, Hotseat and
Email)
Skill - the difficulty setting including Basic Training, Veteran and
Elite settings.
Click OK to load the scenario.

Mission Briefing
The mission-briefing screen opens when first entering a battle.
The briefing screen shows:
- Strategic Map (e.g. the map of Syria or the geographical loca-
tion of the battle). Uploaded by scenario author and empty if
not provided.
- Operational Map (e.g. a city map of the neighborhood where
the battle takes place). Uploaded by scenario author and empty
if not provided.
- Briefing Text. Describes the mission orders to the player using
a common format.

Shock Force 27
- Button for Tactical Map. Toggles map or briefing view and
shows a tactical map to the player, e.g. a bird’s eye view of the
battlefield. Empty if not provided by scenario author.
Hitting OK takes the player directly to the 3D battlefield.

Setup Phase
When you first enter the 3D battlefield you start out in the Setup
Phase. Gameplay is paused and both sides are able to move
their units within the available Setup Zones.
The Setup Zones are visible as colored areas (in shades of red for
the Syrian player, and shades of blue for the US player) over-
laid on the terrain. Each side can have up to three different
colored Zones in any configuration (including non-contiguous).
Units may be moved within the same colored Zones they start
out with, never any place else.
Almost all of the regular Commands available to a particular unit
while in battle are available during the Setup Phase. However,
some Commands only activate once the battle starts. For ex-
ample, any Combat Command issued to a unit during Setup
Phase won’t do anything until the combat starts. Movement
Commands given to a unit within its Setup Zone will move it

28 Combat Mission
there immediately and without any game effect, such as Fa-
tigue. Movement Commands which are placed outside of a
Zone instruct the unit to move to that location as soon as the
battle starts, but not before. Other Commands, such as But-
ton/Unbutton, Acquire, Split, have an immediate effect and
can be done or undone instantly and without their typical game
costs (time delays, Fatigue, etc.).

Note: the Target command is available during the Setup Phase, but
ONLY to be able to check lines of sight and distances. No
targeting orders are actually saved during the Setup Phase!

Once you have positioned your units to your liking and are ready
to start the battle, click on the red blinking button in the lower
right hand corner of the screen. This is the “End Phase” button
which quits the Setup Phase and launches the actual battle.
The game clock will start ticking and will continue to do so until
you pause (RealTime) or until the 60 seconds of the first Action
Phase are completed (WeGo). More about this in the following
chapter about “Gameplay Styles”.

Victory conditions
Scenario designers can set a number of specific victory conditions
for battles, and mix different objectives and objective types.
Each objective can have a different victory point value associ-
ated with it. The objectives of the opposing sides do not have
to match. In fact, one side can have totally different goals
than the other side. Also, objectives are not automatically known
to both sides: a mission goal is only known to the side that has
to achieve it; or only the other side; or both; or none.
The Editor chapter explains objectives in more detail. Here are
the basics for the player:

Shock Force 29
For each scenario, there are three main types of objectives for
each side: terrain-based objectives, unit-based objectives, and
force-wide objectives.

Terrain based objectives


The scenario designer can set any number of terrain-based objec-
tives, i.e. areas on the map of some importance to the mission.
The available objective types include:
- Occupy: player needs to occupy an area, clear it completely of
enemy troops, and keep some forces there (until the end of
the battle) to gain points
- Destroy: player needs to destroy an area (e.g. a building)
- Preserve: the opposite of Destroy; the player needs to ensure
that an area remains undamaged
- Touch: player needs to reach the objective area to gain points,
but does not have to remain in position there

Unit based objectives


There can be any number of unit-based objectives in a scenario.
The objective can be tied to one single unit (such as a tank or
an HQ unit) or to entire formations (such as a platoon or even
a company), or to a mix of various units. Unit-based objective
options include:
- Destroy: you must destroy the designated units. The more dam-
age you cause to those units, the more points you earn.
- Destroy all: you must destroy the designated units in order to
earn any points. Points are not awarded for damaged units.
- Spot: you earn points by spotting and identifying the desig-
nated units.

Force wide objectives


These are the main victory parameters for a scenario. The sce-
nario designer assigns victory points to each objective
individually. Options include:
- Casualties (friendly and enemy): if the player keeps his own
casualties under this percentage (relative to the entire force in
the scenario) and pushes the enemy above another percent-
age, he is awarded the respective victory points
- Condition (friendly and enemy): if the player keeps his per-
centage of wounded, incapacitated and routed soldiers below

30 Combat Mission
this percentage and pushes the enemy above another per-
centage, he is awarded the respective victory points
- Ammo (friendly and enemy): if the player retains more than
this percentage of ammo and pushes the enemy to expend
more than another percentage, he is awarded the respective
victory points
- Friendly bonus: onetime bonus to the side. A quick “fix” to
balance uneven battles, which can be fun at times.
The full range of Victory objectives is available for Battles and
Campaigns. QuickBattles use a simplified auto-generated sys-
tem, which is explained at the end of this chapter.

Campaigns
A Campaign is a single player game that progresses through a
series of interconnected Battles stretching over many simu-

Shock Force 31
lated hours, days, weeks, or even months. After completing a
Battle, Combat Mission selects the next Battle based on the
results of the one just completed. The Battles within a Cam-
paign are all premade, but are adjusted to reflect combat results
from the previous Battle. Combat Mission campaigns are what
we call “semi-dynamic”: this means there are some predeter-
mined elements, as well as some based on the player’s actions.
Certain units have their casualties, changes in leadership, ammo
usage, damage, and other factors carried over to the next Battle
they appear in. Such units are called Core Units and constitute
the bulk of the player’s available force for the Campaign. This
does not mean, however, that every Core Unit appears in ev-
ery battle. On the contrary, very often units seen in one battle
might not appear again until several battles later. Some units
may only appear a couple of times, while others appear nearly
every battle. However, Core Units are always seen at least two
times, unlike Auxiliary Units which are seen only once for the
whole Campaign. Combat Mission makes no attempt to inform
the player about which units are Core or , in order to remove
the temptation for players to abuse of Auxiliaries (i.e. treating
Auxiliary units as “disposable”).
Depending on conditions before each new Battle, Combat Mission
may replace fallen soldiers, repair damaged vehicles, replen-
ish ammo, etc. However, as with any real-life military campaign,
replacement, repair, and replenishment are not guaranteed
events. A wise player will keep this in mind and avoid wearing
out his forces trying to achieve something that, in the larger
context of the campaign, is relatively unimportant.
Combat Mission chooses which Battle comes next based on the
score from the previous Battle. However, the evaluation is
based on expectations about how well the player should do.
Sometimes expectations are high and sometimes not. This
could mean a high score for one Battle keeps the player on the
optimal path to victory, while the same exact score for another
Battle may mean a detour before getting back on the straight
path to the Campaign’s end. Generally, however, better re-
sults lead to a more direct path to the final Battle.

Playing A Campaign
From the Main Screen, click on the Campaign button to view all
available Campaigns. CM:SF includes two Campaigns, both
played from the US side; “Yakima Training Center (YTC)” and
“Task Force Thunder (TF Thunder)”.

32 Combat Mission
YTC is a short Campaign designed to familiarize new players with
how Combat Mission works. TF Thunder follows a battalion-
sized combined arms Task Force across the Syrian border, with
the ultimate mission of splitting the country into two. It is
highly recommended that all players (especially those who have
played previous Combat Mission games) play the YTC Cam-
paign before doing anything else.

Once a Campaign is selected, the player receives a special one-


time-only Campaign Briefing. It describes the “big picture” of
what is expected of the player and which forces are available
to achieve the objective. After absorbing this information, the
player moves onto the Mission Briefing to find out the specific
details of the coming Battle. At the end of each Battle, the
player views an After Action Report (AAR) that scores the
player’s performance for that battle. After viewing the AAR,
the next Battle’s Mission Briefing comes up and the whole pro-
cess is repeated until the end of the Campaign.

Shock Force 33
After the last Battle, the player sees the Campaign AAR. Unlike
previous AARs, which showed results for the just-completed
Battle, the Campaign AAR details how the player performed
over the entire Campaign. This signifies the end of the Cam-
paign.
The individual campaign missions make full use of all Victory Op-
tions available for Battles.

Note: Players can create their own campaigns. Please read the “Editor”
Chapter for details on how to link battles.

QuickBattles
QuickBattles offer unlimited replayability in CMSF, and are also a
quick way to “generate” a new battle. Units for both sides, and
the map to be played on, are randomly chosen according to a
number of parameters set by the player.

Quick Battle Options


Environmental Options
These correspond to the options available for regular scenarios,
and define the general setting for the Quick Battle. These op-
tions also determine which Map is randomly loaded for the QB
from the pool of available maps in the Quick Battle Maps folder.
For example, if you set the Environment to “Open”, only Quick
Battle Maps with an “Open” Environment setting will be con-
sidered when choosing which map to load. If more than one
map is available, then the choice is made randomly. If no eli-
gible map is available, the QB will be aborted and you will be
redirected to the Main Menu screen instead.
Battle Type – Meeting Engagement, Probe, Attack, Assault, or
Random. This setting has an impact of what type of Quick Battle
Map will be loaded – if you select Meeting Engagement, only
maps defined as Meeting Engagement will be considered for
loading. If you choose any of the other Battle Types, then only
maps which are NOT a Meeting Engagement are considered.
Environment – sets the general type of terrain to be played on.
This setting has a direct impact on what type of Quick Battle
Map will be loaded.
Battle Size – ranging from Tiny to Huge. This has an impact on
how many units will be available to both sides.
Region & Month – sets the date for the scenario

34 Combat Mission
Daylight – sets the time for the scenario
Weather – sets the current weather for the scenario

Units options
These options define the units that both sides will be playing with.
Units are assigned randomly based on the parameters chosen
by the player.
Service – choices include: US Army, Syrian Army, Uncons, Ran-
dom, Random Blue and Random Red. This defines the base
pool of units for that side for the QB.
Branch – depending on the chosen Service, the appropriate Branch
can be selected here, e.g. Mech Infantry, or Armor.
Type – this defines the rough composition of the unit based on
the previous choices. For example, for an Infantry Branch, the
choice could be Heavy Infantry, Medium Infantry or Light In-
fantry, defining the TO&E as well as available weapons and
formations.
Quality – ranging from Poor to Excellent, this defines the equip-
ment used as well as “soft” factors such as morale, leadership
etc.
Condition – sets the physical condition for the side’s units
Force Adjustment – allows playing an unbalanced QB. If set to
the default “no change”, both sides will be roughly equally strong
based on abstract “purchase points”. The options allow you to
give the Blue Force an extra 150% of units, or to deduct 60%
from the Blue pool.

Launch the QB
After setting the parameters, and if an eligible QB Map is found in
the QB Map folder, the player will be asked to select which side
they want to play and which style of play they prefer (Real
Time, WeGo, 1 player or 2 etc.) just as for a regular scenario.
If no eligible map is found, you will simply be returned to the
Main Menu screen.

Setup Positions
The randomly purchased units are located in the predetermined
setup areas at the beginning of the QB.

Shock Force 35
Victory conditions
Victory conditions for QuickBattles are much more limited than
for Campaigns and Battles. Only two types of victory condi-
tions are available:
1 - Terrain objective zones. These are always considered as OC-
CUPY zones.
2 - An enemy-casualty threshold victory goal for each side is added
automatically, which is lowest for meeting engagements, and
highest for assaults.

Gameplay Styles
Combat Mission: Shock Force can be played in a number of ways.
At its core, it’s a simultaneous-time ground combat simulation
where one second of playing time equals one second of real
time. In other words, a 30 minute engagement will also take
30 minutes to play out. Since not everybody has time to play
real-time, a number of alternative playing styles are supported.
No matter which playing style you choose for a given battle, the
underlying simulation engine always runs in real-time. In other
words, as far as the game is concerned, turn-based play is
nothing else than a game played in 60 second increments of
real-time, in between which gameplay is paused to await player
input. It doesn’t have any effect on the simulation itself.

Single Player
Single-player mode allows one player to fight against the Com-
puter Opponent (often also referred to as Artificial Intelligence,
or AI).
The Computer opponent consists of three main sub-elements:
- the customizable “Scenario AI” which can be “programmed” by
the Scenario Designer who determines the overall strategic
goals as well as possible avenues of approach and is able to
“script” certain behavior;
- the hard-coded Operational AI (OpsAI) that coordinates and
assigns the orders to sub-units;

36 Combat Mission
- and the hard-coded Tactical AI (TacAI) that controls the indi-
vidual behavior of units and soldiers based on the assigned
orders and the situation that develops after the shooting starts.

Real-time
The Real-time Single Player mode starts with the player entering
the battlefield in the Setup Phase. Time is paused, and the
player is able to get to know the battlefield, study his orders
and units, and place his troops within the designated setup
zones. During the setup phase, it is possible to issue orders
which will be executed immediately when the battle starts.
With setup completed, the player launches the battle, starting the
clock. The clock ticks in true real-time (1 second of game time
equals 1 second in the real world) and only stops if the game is
paused. All actions happen simultaneously. After the allotted
Scenario Time expires, the battle ends, and the results screen
is shown.

Turn-based
The turn-based single-player mode begins again with the Setup
Phase, which works just like for Real-Time play: both players
are able to change the deployment of their units, and issue
orders which will be executed during the first turn.
After the Setup Phase ends, the first game Turn begins. For the
first turn (only), the turn begins with the Action Phase, during
which the units execute the commands given to them during
the Setup Phase. After the Action Phase ends, players can re-
wind and replay the Action (without being able to issue
commands) as often as they like during the Replay Phase.
Each following Turn is divided into three phases: a Command Phase
during which the player is able to issue orders to his units for
the upcoming turn, an Action Phase, during which the units
execute these orders, and a Replay Phase, during which the
player is able to rewind and watch the action as often as he
likes.
The Action Phase runs in real-time for 60 seconds and automati-
cally ends after that time. The Player is not able to issue further
orders during the Action and Replay Phases but can move the
camera freely around the battlefield.

Shock Force 37
Two-player
The Computer Opponent can be quite formidable when you are
just starting to play CM:SF, but it is no match for an experi-
enced human player, because, unlike a human, the AI is not
capable of learning from its mistakes or adapting its gameplay
to its opponent(s). Although a lot can be done by the Scenario
Designer to increase the difficulty of winning against the Com-
puter Opponent by carefully scripting the Scenario AI, sooner
or later multi-player games against other humans will provide
the only real challenge.
Playing against other human players is possible using a variety of
methods.

Real-time
Two player Real-time play is possible via two modes: a local area
network (LAN) where two computers are connected to each
other locally, and internet play where the two players can be
anywhere in the world and connect via the internet. Both types
of play use the TCP/IP protocol for connection, therefore the
steps to set up and play a game are basically identical.

LAN/Internet
CM:SF uses a peer-to-peer connection between the two players.
One player assumes the role of the host, while the other player
joins as client. The host first creates a new Battle by choosing
which scenario he wants to play, and from the Game Start
window selects the appropriate game type: “2 Player Internet/
LAN”. On the next screen, CM:SF automatically detects and
lists all IP numbers associated with the host computer, as well
as which port will be used for the connection. It then waits for
the client player to join.

38 Combat Mission
Note: Combat Mission Shock Force uses the UDP and TCP port 7023 for
all multiplayer games. If you are trying to HOST a TCP-IP game
make sure and open port 7023 for both UDP and TCP traffic.

The host now has to communicate this information to the client


player by email or chat. The client launches the game and
chooses “Join Game” from the main game menu. Here, he en-
ters the correct IP address and port given to him by the host.
After clicking “Join”, the game will attempt to connect with the
host computer and, if the connection was successful, the game
will launch. From here on, gameplay resolves exactly the same
as in the 1 player Real-Time game mode for each player.

Note that CM:SF lists ALL the IP addresses assigned to a system. If you
have multiple modems or network cards, it will list all IP ad-
dresses associated with those devices. What it can’t do is tell you
which one is the correct IP address, because that depends on how
your system is configured. If you do not know the correct IP
address yourself, your opponent will have to try all of them to find
the correct one. Make a note of its place in the list, because even
if the IP address itself might change, the order in which the IPs
are listed should not.

If either player is behind a firewall (hacker protection) or is using


a proxy system, you may need to reconfigure your system by
manually opening the necessary port for incoming and outgo-
ing transmissions. You might have to uninstall some firewalls
completely (software-based) or disable them (hardware-based).
Some firewalls might have to be uninstalled completely. Users
with routers need to add the TCP port to the routers forward-
ing table and match it to the internal IP address of the computer
that hosts the game, then use the router’s control panel to get
the external IP address given out by your ISP. This external IP
address is what your opponent will need in order to connect to
you as host.
People using Internet Connection Sharing on their home LANs
cannot host Internet games. They can, however, host locally to
systems that are connected on the same home LAN. They can
join other hosted games normally, via Internet or LAN. This

Shock Force 39
limitation on hosting affects systems that gain their access to
the Internet SOLELY on ICS connection.

Turn-based
Two player turn-based play is possible via two modes - Hotseat,
where the two players play on the same computer and take
turns plotting their orders for each turn, and Play By Email
(PBEM), where the two players save and swap their turn files
via email.

Hotseat
Hotseat play is very similar to Turn-Based Single Player games.
Each player plots his commands and actions as he would in a
Single-Player game and, once done, exchanges the seat in front
of the computer with his opponent (hence the term “hotseat”),
who now does the same. This is repeated for each turn.

Email
Play by Email works exactly like Single-Player Turn-based play,
except that once a player completes their commands and ac-
tions, a special save game file is generated. The player emails
this file to their opponent who loads it on their end, executes
their commands, watches the results of the previous turn, then
saves a file and returns it to the first player.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the process:
1. You pick a Game and are prompted to create a password. This
creates Game file 01 which is stored as an Outgoing file. You
will find this file in CM:SF/Games File/Outgoing Email. You send
this to your partner
2. Your Partner gets the 01 file and saves it in his Incoming Email
Folder.
3. He starts game and finds file 01 the Saved Game portion of the
Opening menu.
4. Partner puts in password and a new file 02 will be generated to
be sent to you.
By saving and swapping these files via email, the players advance
the game from turn to turn at a pace that the players can
adjust to their liking. The gameplay itself, i.e. the Action Phase,
still takes place in real-time - just like in Turn-Based Single
Player mode.

40 Combat Mission
Multi-player
For future modules of Combat Mission, additional multi-player fea-
tures (i.e. more than 2 players) are already in the works,
including co-op play (i.e. several players can join the same
side and re-enact a real chain of command).

Shock Force 41
Skill Levels
When you launch a new battle, you can set the skill level, which
adjusts the overall difficulty of the game. Unlike other games,
the skill level does not simply give an artificial bonus to the
computer opponent, but instead has an influence on core game
mechanics. The following section describes the differences be-
tween the different levels. Only the differences from the previous
lower level are described.

Basic Training
This is the easiest setting. The following special rules apply:
- Friendly units are always spotted
- Spotting information is instantly shared among teams
(aka “Borg Spotting”)
- Troops suffer slightly fewer casualties and are less
likely to panic
- Treatment of wounded soldiers (“buddy aid”) is
extremely fast
- Artillery and air support arrives extremely fast
- Enemy units, once spotted, are always fully identified
- The life/death status of enemy vehicles is displayed
immediately
- Enemy weapons and suppression are displayed
- You can hear the voices of unspotted enemies

Veteran
Most people familiar with the Combat Mission game system will
prefer this setting. It is a fair balance between realism and fun,
that does not burden the player with unnecessary details or
long waiting times. The following special rules apply:
- Friendly units are always spotted
- Enemies, once spotted, are not always immediately
identified and can appear as generic “Enemy contacts”
(but less often than at Elite level)
- Spotting information is distributed among teams
using the standard Command & Control rules (See

42 Combat Mission
Command & Control chapter)
- Treatment of wounded soldiers is faster than in real
life
- Artillery and air support arrives faster than in real life
- The life/death status of enemy vehicles is hidden
until the crew bails out or the vehicle starts to burn
- Enemy weapons and suppression are not displayed
- You cannot hear unspotted enemies

Elite
Elite is similar to the Veteran setting but introduces more realistic
time delays for a number of tasks and events. Hardcore play-
ers will favor this setting. The following special rules apply:
- Enemies appear as generic “Enemy contacts” until
they are positively identified by your forces on the
battlefield
- Treating wounded soldiers takes a realistic amount of
time
- Artillery and air support take a realistic amount of
time to arrive

Iron
Iron is an optional setting that goes even one step further than
Elite, and introduces special restrictions on what the player
can do and when. While even more realistic than the other
settings, this option introduces a number of interface limita-
tions which might put off the casual player, so it is strictly an
optional choice.
- Friendly units need to be spotted just like enemy
units. If you have a friendly unit not in line of sight or
in contact with another friendly unit, then the only way
to find this unit is by either re-establishing contact with
another friendly unit or by clicking through the chain of
command in the game interface, jumping from unit to
unit.

Shock Force 43
Basic Screen Layout
The main screen layout breaks down as follows:

1. Top Navigation/Info Bar - the info bar at the top of the


screen provides information about friendly and enemy units
located within the viewing cone, even if the units are hidden or
obscured by an obstacle. Clicking on one of the triangle-shaped
icons instantly switches the player to that unit.
2. Game Area - this is the central display area where all the
action takes place. Using mouse and keyboard controls the
player can move the camera around the map, as well as ac-
cess units and info by clicking on them directly and/or on their
floating information icons (if enabled).
3. Game User Interface (GUI) - the main interface bar at the
bottom of the screen presents the player with all the informa-
tion and controls necessary to interact with units.

Note: This screen layout is used for all instances where the player
interacts with the 3D game world. 2D game elements such as
menu screens and the editor use a different GUI layout.

44 Combat Mission
Game User Interface (GUI)
As soon as you enter the 3D game world of CM:SF, the GUI ap-
pears at the bottom of the screen. It always consists of the
same three main parts, even though some may be empty or
unavailable at times.
1. Unit Info Panel
2. Team Info Panel
3. Command Panel

Unit Info Panel


The Unit Info Panel displays the most important information for
the currently selected unit. It breaks down as follows:

1. Unit name - standard or customized unit description


2. Unit type - describes the type of unit, such as “Stryker Squad”
3. Portrait - a picture that represents the current unit type
4. Unit attributes - the central characteristics affecting the unit’s
ability to perform:
a) leader name (leadership modifier)
b) experience level (no modifier)
c) physical condition (physical fitness modifier)
d) morale (motivational modifier)

Modifiers determine, for better or worse, how the unit behaves


during the game. Each modifier can have a positive or nega-
tive value, as follows:
+2 - excellent
+1 - good

Shock Force 45
+0 - average
-1 - below average
-2 - poor

5. Rank - the rank insignia of the highest-ranking leader of the


unit. This does not change within a battle - even if the leader
becomes a casualty and the next highest ranking member as-
sumes the leadership role.
6. Branch of Service - shows which Branch of Service the unit
belongs to.

7. Chain of Command - displays the parent formations of the unit.


A green icon indicates that the unit is currently in contact,
while a red icon indicates that the unit is out of contact.
8. Ammo panel - the ammo panel displays the available and re-
maining amount of ammunition that the unit has at its disposal.
The display is broken down into four groups: small arms am-
munition, MG ammunition, hand grenades, and rifle grenades.
9. C2 Link - the Command and Control (C2) link shows the avail-
able means of communication for the selected unit. Up to three
of the most effective methods are shown.
10. Suppression Indicator - an inverted color-coded pyramid indi-
cates the amount of suppression the selected unit is enduring
at any given time. It also gives the player a rough measure-
ment of the total volume of incoming enemy fire. As the color
moves from green to yellow to orange to red, the amount of
suppression increases, and the unit will be more likely to go to
ground, panic, or break. When units are pinned (i.e. they can
shoot but do not respond to movement orders) the word
“Pinned” is shown in the suppression meter display.
11. Artillery and Air Support buttons - allows access to the Artil-
lery and Air Support screen (if such support is available and if
the currently selected unit is allowed to request support).
12. Special Equipment - this area consists of 12 slots which dis-
play various types of special equipment that a squad, team, or

46 Combat Mission
vehicle might be equipped with (e.g. Javelin missiles, demo
charges, extra ammo etc.).

Note: keep an eye out for knocked-out burning vehicles that contain
extra ammo and other special equipment. CM:SF is simulating
“cook-offs”, i.e. exploding ammo inside a burning vehicle. After
each explosion ammo is crossed off the list, but remaining ammo
may still explode later on. You should keep your infantry away
from burning vehicles or they could suffer damage.

Team Info Panel


The Team Info Panel shows all Soldiers assigned to the unit. De-
pending on the type of unit and the nationality, the Team Info
is further subdivided into Teams. Squads show three columns
representing up to three Fire Teams, designated A, B and C. All
US squads have two Fire Teams and most Syrian squads have
none.

Shock Force 47
Each Soldier is represented by his Weapon, his Wounds, and his
Speciality. Behind the scenes, the rank, individual ammo count,
type of body armor (if any), number and type of grenades,
Special Equipment, and spare ammo are also tracked for each
Soldier. The Unit Info Panel displays cumulative ammo counts
and any Special Equipment. The total weight of everything a
Soldier carries is also tracked and has an impact on fatigue
from movement. In order to prevent unnecessary information
overload, these details are not available to the player.
There is a large number of Weapons available, and they generally
fall into one of four basic categories: rifle, squad automatic
weapon (SAW), sniper rifle, or heavy weapon. CM:SF uses
real-world statistics for these Weapons, such as caliber and
type of ammo, rate of fire, reloading requirements, chance of
jamming, inherent accuracy, weight, etc. The Encyclopedia
chapter covers this in detail. In the Game Area, each weapon
is accurately and individually represented for each Soldier.
The color of the Weapon icon in the panel denotes the general
health of the Soldier. Green means the Soldier is in good shape,
though perhaps a little banged up. Yellow means that the
soldier has sustained a significant would that is likely to impair
his ability to fight. Seriously wounded Soldiers are dropped
from the Team Info Panel completely. The Soldier’s bases within
the Game Area also show Green, Yellow, Red (seriously
wounded) and Brown (dead) to reflect their Wound status. If
you point the cursor at a weapon, the name of the weapon is
displayed and that soldier’s base is subtly highlighted in the
main 3D display.
Seriously wounded players (red soldier base) can be given first-
aid by their comrades, which is called “Buddy Aid”. There is no
Command for this action, rather it happens automatically when
a friendly soldier (regardless if he is from the same squad or
not) is moved close to the location of an incapacitated com-
rade. Depending on the situation (incoming fire etc.) the soldier
may decide to treat the wounded man. The word “medic” is
displayed in the status field. The player can abort the treat-
ment at any time by giving the parent unit that the medic
belongs to any kind of Command. The medic may decide to
abort the treatment himself as well if there is significant in-
coming fire.

48 Combat Mission
Note: Seriously-wounded (red base) soldiers who have not received
“buddy aid” (i.e. disappeared) by the end of the game have a
25% chance of becoming KIA in the final tally.

Dead soldiers (brown soldier base) can also receive “Buddy Aid”
(by moving a friendly soldier close to the location), but all it
does is reclaim their ammo and weapons, if possible. “Aid” to
dead soldiers is pretty quick.
Many Soldiers have a special ability due to training and/or weapon
assignment. These Specialties (MOS in US Military language)
are represented in iconic form next to the Soldier’s Weapon
(see the “Icons” chapter). The main purpose of this icon is to
inform the player what the particular Soldier is specifically sup-
posed to do. For example, drive a vehicle, command a Team,
use AT weapons, etc. If a soldier without a specific MOS tries
to perform the same task, he is generally worse at doing it.
This is especially true for (but not limited to) firing antitank
rockets and missiles because soldiers who are not antitank
specialists receive an accuracy or guidance penalty (excep-
tion: “secondary” launchers like the M136/AT4 and the RPG-18
can be fired by anyone without penalty).

Details Panel
All units that are not Squads are simply referred to as Teams and
have up to seven Soldiers in the Team A column. In place of
columns B and C is the Details Panel, which is where special
information about the Team is shown. There are three differ-
ent types of Details Panels based on Team type: Vehicle, HQ,
and Heavy Weapon.
The layout for each Detail Panel is essentially the same with Pro-
file, Stats, and Reports sub sections. The Profile shows a
silhouette unique to that unit, the Stats give some indication
as to what the unit is capable of, and Reports give details rel-
evant to the Team’s specialized purpose. Reports are “tabbed”
and can be accessed one at a time. CM:SF remembers which
Report was last in view so the next time you select a unit of
that type, the same Report shows up by default. The following
sections briefly describe the unique features shown for each
unit type.

Shock Force 49
Detail Panel Components
The Details Panel is divided up into three conceptual pieces: Pro-
file, Statistics, and Reports. The information for each varies a
little depending on if the unit is a Vehicle, HQ, or Heavy Weapon
(HW).

Profile
Designation - lower left. Military designation for Vehicles and
HW (e.g. M3A2, M240B, etc.). For HW, it is usually a generic
name describing the type or function, such as MMG, Sniper,
etc. For HQs, it is usually the Formation Name (e.g. 1st PLT, B
CO, etc.)
Purpose - lower right. Shows the player the purpose of that par-
ticular unit. Commonly used designations include IFV, ATGM,
MMG, etc. For HQs, it’s “PLT HQ”, “CO HQ”, etc.
HQ Button - when a Vehicle or HW is also a HQ, a button appears
which toggles the HQ Reports on or off instead of the unit’s
Vehicle or HQ Reports.
Silhouette - an illustration of what the unit is. For HW this
image will change depending on if it is Deployed or not.
Crew Positions - a grey dot for each designated crew position, a
blue dot for each occupied position, and a gray dot with a black
center for WIA.
Passenger Positions - works the same as Crew Positions, but
uses a green dot instead of blue to represent an occupied po-
sition.
Vehicle Name - lower left. The common name of the vehicle, if
any (e.g. Abrams, Bradley, etc.). Left blank for HQs and HWs.

50 Combat Mission
Stats
Vehicles - Weight, Speed, Power-to-weight ratio, Offroad ability,
Turning ability
Heavy Weapons - Caliber, Setup Time, Speed, Minimum and /or
Maximum ranges
HQs - Personnel, Experience, Condition, Morale, Suppression

Reports
Ammo Report - available for Vehicles, HQs, and HWs. Displays
the amount of ammo of each type assigned to that unit.

Defenses Report - available for Vehicles only. Shows the vehicle’s


ability to defend against ATGM, Large Caliber, Medium Caliber,
and Small Caliber munitions against the Front, Sides, Rear,
and Top. The amount of threat posed by the various munitions
is shown graphically as Bad (large red X), Poor (small red x),
Average (yellow • ), Good (thin green +), and Excellent (thick
green +).

Shock Force 51
Damage Report - available for Vehicles only. Shows how well
each system of the vehicle is functioning. The icons show Ex-
cellent (thick green +), Average (yellow • ), and Bad (large red
X).

Note: The game tracks and applies limitations to what a vehicle can or
can’t do *precisely* as shown here, so keep an eye on the
damage report during combat! If the engine is destroyed then
your vehicle won’t be able to move. If its engine or running gear
are damaged it may be able to move but only slowly, and even
more so across difficult terrain or up steep slopes. If the radio is
destroyed or damaged, it may lose connection to higher up,
resulting in loss of Command & Control, and so forth.

Unit Report - available for HQs only. Shows up to nine units


directly attached to the HQ and if they are in C2 contact (thick
green +) or out of contact (large red X). Clicking on an entry
switches the player to that unit.

52 Combat Mission
Formation Report - Identical to Unit Report, but showing up to
nine Formations attached to the HQ (if any).

Command Panel
The Command Panel is a highly interactive area that allows the
player to issue Commands to units, to select from various Menu
options, and to control the speed of the game. The various
component pieces are broken up logically so they can be ac-
cessed quickly. The components are numbered according to
this picture of the Command Panel:
1. Instant Commands - allow one click change in unit behavior.
The left button tells the unit to HALT and retain its Commands.
Clicking on the button again tells the unit to RESUME. The
middle button instructs the unit to CANCEL all its Commands
and to do nothing for the moment. The right button tells the
unit to EVADE by abandoning its current Commands and seek-
ing immediate cover and perhaps popping smoke. Although
units can Evade on their own initiative, sometimes they try too
hard to stick to their Commands and need to be redirected

Shock Force 53
without further delay. Instant Commands work in both Real-
Time and We-Go styles of play.
2. Command Modes - determines which type of Commands are
being used; Movement, Combat, Special and Administrative.
When selected, the name of the Command Mode is displayed
along the bottom and the appropriate Command Buttons are
shown in the Button Screen.

3. Button Interface - shows either Command or Menu Buttons,


depending on which is currently selected. Command Buttons
display their assigned hotkey and are color-coded to match
the Command Lines shown in the Game Area. See section
[Commands] for more details about Commands
4. Menu Mode - by clicking on the Button “Menu”, the Screen
displays various special Options the player can use. These
Options are detailed below. Clicking again on the “Menu” but-
ton quits the Menu Mode.
5. Playback Interface - used mainly for We-Go style play, this
interface allows you to replay, rewind and fast forward through
each game turn and phase. The large red button in the middle
is used to End Turn (We-Go style) or End Phase (Real-Time and
We-Go). The elapsed game time is shown at the bottom.

Menu Options
The Menu Options Panel contains a total of seven buttons, ex-
plained below. The Panel is accessed by clicking on the “Menu”
button. Clicking again exits Menu Mode and resumes regular
Command Mode for the Panel.

54 Combat Mission
1. Save - opens the Save Game screen, allowing you to save a
game in progress.

2. Conditions - opens a pop-up window listing the environmental


conditions for the current battle, including:
- Weather (e.g. Clear, Overcast, Rain...)
- Temperature
- Ground Conditions (e.g. Dry, Wet...)
- Wind Strength and Direction
- Civilian Population Density

3. Briefing - opens the Briefings Panel with the current Mission


Briefings
4. Hotkeys - opens the Hotkeys Panel listing all important in-game
hotkeys
5. Cease fire - toggles the call for a Cease Fire on and off. If the
opponent selects this option as well, the game ends with a
mutually agreed to Cease Fire
6. Surrender - immediately surrenders the battle to the opponent
7. Quit - aborts the current mission immediately, without calcu-
lating results

Command Interface
Units are controlled by issuing Commands. The Command Panel
is the primary method for viewing and issuing Commands. All
Commands are grouped into one of four conceptually similar
Command Modes:

Shock Force 55
Movement: Commands to get units from waypoint A to B
Combat: Commands to engage enemy targets
Special: various special Commands that complement Movement
and Combat Commands
Administrative: Commands that affect a unit’s basic organiza-
tion
There are several ways to issue a Command during the game, so
you can choose whichever suits your style of playing best.

Number Pad
Each key on the Number Pad is “hard-wired” to the Command
Button that is in the same relative position in the currently
active Command Panel. For example, with the Move Command
Panel open, the top row of Commands (from left to right - Fast,
Quick, Move) corresponds to the keys 7, 8, and 9. You can
switch Command Panels to access other Commands with the /
and * buttons.

Keyboard
You can use the keyboard to issue Commands via Hotkeys. You
can customize the hotkeys to your liking and either use a hot-
key for each individual command (Direct access) which
eliminates the need to bring up the required Command Panel
first, or use the Default Keys (Relative access). You can access
Command Panels directly with the F5-F8 function keys.

56 Combat Mission
Mouse
You can use your mouse to operate the Command Panel in the
Game Interface directly. Simply click on the corresponding
buttons to switch Panels and issue Commands.

On-screen menu
A selectable Command Menu popup in the 3D area is also avail-
able. The onscreen list of available commands can be viewed
by selecting a unit and pressing the SPACE BAR. Simply click
on the desired Command and then follow normal procedures
for that Command (e.g. clicking a Waypoint or selecting an
enemy unit to Target). The menu can be dismissed with an-
other press of the space bar or clicking the mouse anywhere
outside the menu.
Some Commands are “modal”, such as Deploy Weapon for Heavy
Weapons. These Commands remain lit up to show that the
unit is already performing that particular Command. Issuing
the Command again has the effect of telling the unit to cease
that action.
Units whose Morale State is Panic, Broken, or Routed are not ca-
pable of receiving any Commands. Units that are heavily
Suppressed (“Pinned”) may accept Commands but may not
necessarily act upon them right away.

Playback Interface
For Turn-based We-Go play, this interface is used to playback each
turn’s action. For other play styles such as Real Time, this panel
is only used to conclude the Setup Phase at the beginning of
each battle and launch the battle. The controls resemble those
of a regular VCR or CD player, and include:
-play/pause (toggle)
-skip to end
-rewind
-fast forward
The large red button in the middle of the Playback Interface is
used to advance from one phase to the next, i.e. ending the

Shock Force 57
Setup Phase and starting the game in Real Time mode, or end-
ing the Playback phase and starting the Command Phase of
the next turn. Below this is the elapsed game time expressed
in minutes.

Spotting & Floating Icons


One of the center pieces of the new CM:SF game engine is the
concept of “relative spotting”, where a number of game ele-
ments - from command & control, to skill levels, to individual
unit abilities - all come together. A typical battlefield is full of
chaos by its very nature: combatants worldwide call this chaos
the “Fog of War”, where no two soldiers “see” the same thing.
To simulate this, CM:SF employs complex calculations and a
unique spotting concept which only shows to the player what
his currently selected unit can see.
This is computed for each unit individually, and is not only based
on actual lines of sight, but includes many other factors such
as: what the spotter and target are doing, the equipment they
have available (day/night scopes, binoculars, thermal imaging
sensors), skill levels, visibility based on climatic effects, even
sounds and so forth. On top of that, information about spotted
units does not pass immediately to other friendly units, but is
transmitted using the usual Command & Control channels, and
is subject to the same restrictions.

Note: Relative Spotting is turned off for Basic Training Skill level

Example: One squad might see an enemy unit that a friendly squad,
close to the first, does not see. It only takes a few seconds before
the first squad is alerted about the enemy presence by visual
signals (e.g. hand signals), but it takes much longer to pass this
information to other units in the Chain of Command. Units out of
contact might not receive this information until they are in contact
again.

The game portrays the effects of relative spottingby using the


units’ Floating Icons, which appear above each visible unit on
the battlefield (unless disabled by its hotkey). The floating icons
have three states: regular, dimmed and highlighted.

58 Combat Mission
With no unit selected, all icons are in their regular state. This
shows the player the combined information from all his units
as passed up the Chain of Command. By clicking on a friendly
unit, the following happens:
- the selected unit is highlighted in a bright unique color
- all friendly units within the same formation (e.g. units from
the same platoon) are highlighted
- enemy units which the selected unit can see are highlighted
- all other icons are dimmed

When an enemy unit is selected, the following happens:


- the enemy unit is highlighted in a bright unique color
- friendly units within LOS of the enemy unit are highlighted
- all other icons are dimmed

Some of the most immediate effects of this system are that units
with dimmed icons cannot be directly targeted by the selected
unit. The unit TacAI will continue to behave as if no enemy unit
was present. It will, for example, continue walking down a
road into a possible ambush, unaware of the threat.
The icons displayed are nation-specific and unit-type specific.
Normally, it is red diamonds for Syrians, blue circles for US.
The unit representations show the main type, such as tank,
infantry, vehicle, etc., using the silhouette of the most com-
mon unit for that nation. If play is Red on Red or Blue on Blue,
the colors and shapes remain the same but the black unit rep-
resentations on the icons change because they are specific to
one nation’s equipment.
Most actions which are possible for the player to do by clicking on
a unit are also possible when clicking on the unit’s icon in-
stead. This is often easier since the unit icons are “stacked”
automatically for easier access. For example, when embarking
a vehicle you can click on the vehicle or on its icon.

Shock Force 59
Commands
At the very core of the CM:SF tactical game lies its system of
Commands. Commands are the primary form of interaction
between the player and his virtual soldiers on the battlefield.
CM:SF uses a structured Commands system which emulates
most of the typical orders a squad of soldiers would give or
receive on a real battlefield.
Similar Commands are categorized into specific Command Groups.
The four main Command Groups are:
Move Commands - move units from A to B using various methods
Combat Commands - instructs the unit to use its weapons in some
controlled fashion
Special Commands - specific instructions that are nestled in be-
tween Move Commands
Admin Commands - similar to Specials, except specific to unit
organization
This structure is more than just for ease of reference. Each unit is
able to combine one command from each group and perform it
simultaneously. For example, a unit can conduct a Move and
Combat Command at the same time, while another might per-
form a Move and Special command. Not all commands can be
combined like this, but many can. Some commands, especially
certain Special and Admin Commands, might require full focus
by the unit until completed, while everything else is put on
hold.
Which commands are available to which unit, and at which time,
is highly dynamic. Suppression, fitness, unit cohesion, loca-
tion, the unit’s equipment, and the time of the battle can all
have an effect on what types of commands are available at
which time. Some commands might be grayed out, indicating
that they’re temporarily unavailable, while others might not
appear at all because they’re only available to a specific type
of unit, or only if a specific type of equipment is carried.
Just as in real life, your virtual soldiers are not robots and there-
fore will not mindlessly execute each and every order from
you. There are many situations - usually under heavy enemy
fire - in which soldiers may simply refuse to execute a Com-

60 Combat Mission
mand you have given them, or may replace it with what they
consider more suitable. For example, you may give a unit a
Fast Move Command only to see it changed instantly to a Slow
Move Command because the soldiers feel hugging the ground
is the better way to stay alive. Units with or without orders will
also usually initiate evasive action on their own in the face of
extreme danger - for infantry this may including crawling to
cover, for vehicles it could mean popping smoke, rotating to
face the threat and retreating away from threats. This can hap-
pen if you ordered it or not, if you want it or not, as the unit is
simply concerned about its own survival at that moment. Keep
this in mind when you see that your Commands are not ex-
actly working out as you think they should...
The following is a list of ALL available commands. Certain restric-
tions are mentioned, but not ALL possible combinations are
listed.
In addition to the above, a special category, “Instant Commands”,
is available. Instant commands do not appear in the usual Com-
mands Panel, but have their own buttons at the left top of the
Commands Panel interface. These Instant Commands are
“emergency” commands, allowing a player to quickly instruct
a unit to PAUSE, CANCEL ALL, and EVADE. Obviously, this is
mainly useful for Real-Time play. Instant Commands are ex-
plained in more detail at the end of this chapter.

Move Commands
Move Commands include orders that usually have to do with get-
ting a unit from point A to point B in a certain fashion. Movement
commands are generally issued by selecting the desired type

Shock Force 61
of movement and then clicking on the map with the mouse,
thus placing a waypoint. A Command Line extends from the
unit’s current position to the waypoint.
Additionally, when an infantry unit is moving and the waypoint is
placed over ground terrain (i.e. not a building or vehicle), the
destination “action spot” is highlighted in yellow. Teams B and
C (if any) also have their adjacent destinations highlighted when
plotting moves and when giving facing orders attached to a
final waypoint. Note that the final facing is important for posi-
tioning “wing man” teams, so you should attach facing orders
to final waypoints as needed.

Note: if you need even more granular control over each of your teams,
it’s a good idea to split them and issue individual movement
commands.

Infantry soldiers/units automatically try to position themselves


“smartly” around and along buildings, walls, ridgelines and other
terrain which provides cover and concealment. When targets
present themselves soldiers will try to gain line of fire by repo-
sitioning themselves. However, as in real life soldiers are
reluctant to reposition themselves in exposed positions when
they are currently in good cover.
Units do not always follow the exact Command Line drawn on the
map, but will choose their movement path independently based
on the terrain between the start and end points, including find-
ing their way around impassable obstacles. The chosen route
depends on the type of movement command issued, as well as
if the unit is being fired on or not. Keep in mind that the longer
the distance between the start and ending points, the more
the route the unit chooses might deviate from what you had in
mind when you gave the order to move out.

Note: one common mistake by new players is to underestimate the


space that a vehicle needs to maneuver. Trying to move a wide
vehicle down a narrow street may not work at all or result in the
vehicle being unable to turn to face a threat... Slow Movement
Commands usually lead to better results when maneuvering in
difficult terrain with many obstacles (such as densly packed urban
areas with narrow streets etc.)

You can issue several Move Commands (from the same type, e.g.
Move + Move; or different types, e.g. Move + Fast) one after
the other, generating a string of waypoints that the unit will
pass through one by one. There is no limit as to how many

62 Combat Mission
waypoints you can place, though more than a handful is hardly
practical.
Infantry units will usually halt at each waypoint for a few seconds
and regroup, maintaining formation etc. Vehicles will simply
pass through waypoints if it’s a string of the same movement
types and if they can do so without having to slow down for a
hard turn.
When you issue a Move Command with the cursor placed over a
vehicle capable of transporting soldiers (or over its icon), the
unit that is given the Move Command will automatically em-
bark onto the transport vehicle, either as passengers or in some
cases as crew.
While moving, soldiers will sometimes stop and take a quick shot
at nearby/exposed enemy troops, then resume moving. This
depends on the Movement Command issued, and is more likely
for enemies in front of the unit, and less to the sides and rear.
Moving troops that come under heavy fire usually try to move
FASTer, except when they are so tired that they could only use
walking speed (i.e. not even QUICK). In that case they will
switch to SLOW (i.e. crawling), and sometimes they cancel
their move altogether to seek nearby cover.

Move
Infantry - This is the standard “move from A to B” command usu-
ally used in situations where enemy contact is not expected or
is unlikely. It is fairly slow, maintains unit cohesion, pretty good
all-round awareness (but no anticipation of imminent contact),
and is not tiring to infantry. Usually units that come under fire
while executing a Move Command stop or change their move-
ment order and take evasive action, and there is a high chance
that they will return fire and look for cover.
Vehicles - this command means slow to medium speed and usu-
ally instructs the crew to unbutton to maintain good all-round
observation.
Restrictions - Move is not available when a vehicle has been
knocked out or immobilized (usually by a track, wheel or en-
gine hit, but also if the crew has been incapacitated). For
infantry, move might not be available temporarily due to
wounded and incapacitated soldiers as well as excessive fa-
tigue (in which case you have to let the soldiers rest a little)

Shock Force 63
Example - use Move to change floors in a friendly occupied and
previously cleared building when speed is not important. Use
Move to drive down a road not expecting enemy contact.

Quick
Infantry - soldiers move at a jog. This movement type slightly
emphasizes speed over cover, cohesion and awareness, but is
not a full-out run. It may lead to some bunching up, as it’s
more difficult for soldiers to remain in formation. More tiring
than Move but still sustainable for longer periods, at least for
fit soldiers.
Vehicles - this command means medium to fast speeds, and em-
phasizes arriving at the waypoint quickly over returning fire.
Restrictions - same as for Move, but fitness and fatigue play a
bigger role.
Example - this command is best used to shift positions quickly
when speed is important but when the area to move through is
covered and not under immediate enemy view and fire

Fast
Infantry - Fast Movement maximizes speed to get from one place
to another at the cost of fatigue, and also decreases aware-
ness and spotting ability, especially to the sides and rear
(relative to the unit’s movement direction). Fast makes the
unit less likely to return fire or to stop or change its movement
direction and objective. Keep in mind that this means that a
soldier running FAST will NOT stop to reload, either.
Vehicles - Fast means movement near the maximum speed pos-
sible for the terrain, and a decreased awareness of what is
happening around the vehicle.
Restrictions - Fast has the same availability restrictions as Move
(immobilization, fatigue, etc.), and, additionally, might be un-
available when certain components of a vehicle are damaged
(even if not fully destroyed), or for infantry units, when com-
bat/equipment loads are excessive.
Example - use Fast to have a squad sprint across an open road
from one building to another, making sure that they do not
slow down to return fire. Use Fast to cross a stretch of open

64 Combat Mission
ground with a vehicle in order to reduce the time of exposure
to enemy tanks.

Slow
Infantry - Slow is the equivalent of a Crawl command. Soldiers
move forward in the prone position, maximizing cover and con-
cealment at the cost of speed and fatigue. Crawling is extremely
slow and very tiring and should only be used to move short
distances. Crawling soldiers are generally hard for the enemy
to spot (depending on terrain). Crawling soldiers tend to pause
and return fire at nearby/exposed enemy troops often, then
resume moving. After reaching the destination, soldiers who
move SLOW (i.e. crawl) will tend to keep their heads down for
a little while even if there is no incoming fire and no enemies
are spotted.
Vehicles - instructs the vehicle to move slowly, at walking speed.
Useful when coordinating vehicle movements with infantry.
Restrictions - same as for all Movement commands.
Example - crawling up the last meters towards a crest or edge of
a tree line helps maintain concealment. Slow vehicle move-
ment makes the vehicle less likely to appear as a sound contact
to the enemy.

Hunt
Infantry - this command maximizes the unit’s awareness for pos-
sible enemy contact. Soldiers advance slowly, weapons ready.
Upon seeing an enemy unit, the unit stops immediately. This is
a good command to use when enemy contact is imminent. In
combination with a Target Arc command, Hunt is restricted to
only the area within the arc, and ignores enemy units outside
the arc.

Note: when soldiers using HUNT get too tired, they stop and pause for
90 seconds before continuing to HUNT.

Vehicles - orders vehicles to advance slowly and observe the battle-


field for enemy contacts. Upon spotting a threat, such as another
enemy vehicle or tank, the vehicle stops immediately. In com-
bination with a Target Arc command, Hunt is restricted to only
the area within the arc, and ignores enemy units outside the
arc.

Shock Force 65
Restrictions - same as all other Movement commands.
Example - Hunt is very useful for cleaning out houses which are
suspected to have enemy hiding inside.

Assault
This command is available for infantry squads only, and requires
a certain minimum headcount (in other words, you cannot use
assault if you only have two or three people active). It in-
structs the squad to conduct a so called “leapfrog” movement,
which is executed by splitting the squad into a movement ele-
ment and a firing element. The moving element advances at
FAST speed (the same limitations apply as with the FAST com-
mand) while the firing element remains stationary and provides
covering fire. After the movement element stops (ending the
first “leap”), the roles switch, and the movement element (now
the firing element) provides covering fire while the firing ele-
ment (now the moving element) advances, reaches and
overtakes the firing element, and arrives at the next “leap”.
This procedure repeats until the squad has reached its desig-
nated objective location.
Assault is usually executed in the face of enemy fire (usually from
the front) and is a good compromise of security and forward
movement while maintaining unit cohesion and limiting fatigue.
The disadvantages are that it is a fairly slow form of advance,
and that it requires a certain minimum unit experience to imple-
ment.
Restrictions - Since “leapfrogging” does not make much sense
with only a handful of soldiers, it requires a certain minimum
headcount. In CM:SF, only the US side is eligible to use “As-
sault” and does so with varying degrees of success The Syrian
side is not able to use this command due to a different TO&E
structure and doctrine.
Example - use Assault to cover open ground over long distance
while under enemy fire. Use Assault to clean out buildings (only
the assault team is exposed to ambushes)

Blast
This command enables an infantry unit with demo charges to blast
a manhole through a building wall, exterior or interior, as well
as through tall stone or brick walls, allowing units to pass

66 Combat Mission
through the wall. The time it takes to conduct this command
varies based on unit experience, and can range from one minute
to several minutes per wall.
The Blast Command instructs the unit where to move. This makes
it no different from any other Movement Command, except
that the unit attempts to blow up a section of (nearby!) wall
along its path.

Note: It is a good idea to place the Blast Command on the opposite side
of the wall you want breached. This ensures that the correct
section of wall is breached and that the unit moves through the
opening.

Restrictions - only available for infantry units carrying demo


charges.
Example - moving in a city down an open street can be lethal -
especially when the enemy has a few well position machine-
guns in place. A much safer, but more time consuming method,
is to blow holes in adjoining buildings, avoiding the open street
entirely. Another good use for this command is to enter and
storm a building from an angle the enemy isn’t expecting.

Mark Mines
This command enables engineer units to detect and mark hidden
minefields so that other units are aware of them. Other units
can then move through the marked minefield, albeit slowly.
Mark Mines is a very slow movement command that takes the
unit’s full attention and reduces awareness and returning fire.
Restrictions - only Engineers can mark mines.
Example - Marking mines under fire is suicidal unless you have
other forces suppressing the enemy or call for a large scale
smoke screen.

Reverse
Simple “back up” command, available only to vehicles. Instructs
the vehicle to drive backwards without changing its facing (e.g.
keeping its gun and stronger front armor forward towards the
enemy while retreating).
Restrictions - same as for all Movement commands.

Shock Force 67
Example - use Reverse to back up into cover while keeping a
tank’s front armor directed at the enemy.

Combat Commands
Combat Commands usually have to do with firing one’s weapons
at a designated target, be it an enemy unit or a general area
on the battlefield where enemy units are suspected or known
to hide (or to move to). Only one Combat Command can be
active at any one time, but it can be combined with commands
from other Groups (e.g. movement).

Note: In general, the player cannot determine which weapons exactly


are used. This choice is made by the squad/unit leader based on
the circumstances (range to target, ammo situation, suppression
and so forth).

Target
This is the standard fire command, instructing a unit to use all of
its available weapons to fire at the designated target. The tar-
get can be an enemy unit or a piece of terrain (area fire).
If the target is an enemy unit, the firing unit will fire only when
the enemy target is visible and hold fire (but maintain the tar-
get) when it is not. If the target is an area, the firing unit will
maintain a constant stream of outgoing fire at the selected
area.

Note: Area targets always “snap” to the underlying action grid in CM:SF

68 Combat Mission
How much and what type of fire (small arms, main gun, anti-tank
missile, grenades) is outgoing depends on a number of fac-
tors, including the type of firing unit, the distance to the target,
target type, and the available ammunition. For smaller targets
further away, the firing unit will use aimed fire and single shots
or short bursts while it might switch to full auto at targets at
close range and when it has enough ammunition available.
Targets out of sight are usually displayed to the player through a
note hovering near the target mouse cursor. Notes can include
a plain “out of sight” message, or more detailed explanations
such as “reverse slope - no target point”. Usually, the target
will still be designated even if out of sight, but the unit will hold
fire until the target comes into sight.
Additionally, while the target command is being issued, the com-
mand line extending from the firing unit to the mouse cursor
assumes the function of a Line-of-Sight tool. Different shades
of blue and red indicate if a line of sight is free, obscured, or
blocked, and where it is blocked (the area out of sight is marked
with red). When placing a target command the color denotes
how strong the LOS is to the target. If the line to the target is
light blue the LOS is clear, part dark blue and part magenta if
it’s blocked, and gray if it’s mostly clear but not for every sol-
dier in the squad/team.

Note: Virtually each bullet in CMSF is tracked from muzzle to target.


This applies to both small arms as well as heavy calibers. The
principle of “what you see is what you get” applies: if only part of
a vehicle is visible (e.g. behind a wall or partially concealed by a
slope in the terrain) then only that part can be hit by direct fire.
The only exception to this is that vehicles are NOT shielded by
hiding behind knocked-out armored vehicles (however, infantry
does gain cover in this situation).

Restrictions - Target is not available if the unit has no ammo.


Example - enemy snipers are firing from a building. Instead of
targeting the enemy unit, the player calls for area fire from a
tank, which uses high-explosive ammo from its main gun to
blow up the whole building.

Target Light
This is a variation of the Target command and works very much
the same, but at a reduced fire output. Usually it limits the
firing unit to use small arms and MG fire, while larger calibers,

Shock Force 69
rockets and heavier weapons hold fire. Target Light is useful
when you want to put a few MG rounds into a suspected en-
emy location but not waste a tank’s main gun round, or if you
want to take a few aimed shots at a far away infantry target
without wasting too much ammo. Target light does not prevent
the use of hand and rifle grenades, though, at the appropriate
ranges.
Restrictions - same as for Target
Example - for firing at long distances, the game itself already
reduces fire output even if you use the Target command, so
Target Light is most useful as an ammo preservation tool for
targets at medium and close ranges.

Target Arc
The Target Arc command orders the unit to only fire at enemies
within a certain target area. After selecting this command, the
player has to click on two points on the game map, and the
cone-shaped area between those two points represents the
designated target area. Any visible enemy units that are lo-
cated inside this area, or that move into this area, will be fired
upon. Any enemy units outside of this target arc will be ig-
nored (until self-preservation takes over and the Tactical AI
decides to override player orders; e.g. if an enemy unit sud-
denly pops up at extremely short range).
When placing a target arc, the distance in meters is displayed.
This Command is also useful to keep a unit’s “attention” focused
on a specific part of the game map while it moves. If, for ex-
ample, you want to keep a close eye on a bunch of buildings
(where you suspect enemy activity) while driving down a road,
you could assign a target arc to several units covering this
area. The target arc increases the chances that units will rec-
ognize and engage an enemy threat within the target area
quickly.
After placing an arc, the unit will rotate its main gun turret - if
available - to face the center of the designated target arc, to
minimize acquisition delays and maximize spotting abilities.
Infantry units will shift their facing accordingly.
Restrictions - You cannot mix Target/Target Light and Target Arc
commands. The AI will sometimes override Target Arcs in self-

70 Combat Mission
defense, when, for example, an enemy unit suddenly appears
at close range.
Example - an unidentified enemy vehicle contact is reported near
a building. We give a target arc command to one of our Abrams
tanks to make sure they engage the enemy vehicle as soon as
it pops up from behind cover.

Note: Target Arcs placement is “relative”, i.e. in relation to the unit’s


position and facing, and not tied to an absolute location on the
game map. In other words, if you move a unit with a designated
Target Arc, that arc will move and turn together with the unit. In
this way, you can order a unit to “cover the three o’clock
position”. You cannot use a Target Arc to “stick” to a particular
spot on the map. So, if that’s what you want, you have to keep
the targeting unit stationary or adjust the arc accordingly during
the unit’s movement.

Clear Target
Instructs the currently selected unit to stop focusing on its desig-
nated target. A unit without a designated target is then free to
engage targets at will, or will follow other player-specified com-
mands.
Restrictions - Clear Target is grayed out if the selected unit has
not currently designated a target.
Example - after area firing at a building and blowing a hole in the
wall, no further enemy contact is reported. We abort the area
fire command to allow the unit to focus on other targets at will.

Face
Infantry - issuing a Face command will cause the soldiers of the
unit to re-evaluate the cover provided by the surrounding ter-
rain in relation to the facing the player has indicated, and, if
better cover is available, to move to that cover. For example,
the unit might move around a wall, or house corner, to face the
new direction while maximizing cover against fire coming from
that direction. You can issue a Face Command to a unit in mo-
tion as well. If you do so, then the last waypoint will be
automatically highlighted so the Face Command will apply to
that last waypoint, not the current position. You are also able
to manually select a waypoint (any waypoint, not just the last
one) and issue a Face order from there however.

Shock Force 71
Note: the Face command is “absolute” to the point you click on
the map, not “relative” to the position of the unit at the time
that you click. An example: You issue a Face command to a
moving unit by clicking on a house in the distance. When the
unit reaches its final waypoint, it will turn to face the house.
Vehicles - The unit will rotate its hull and turret (if applicable) to
face the direction the player has designated.
Restrictions - vehicles cannot rotate if immobilized.
Example - an RPG team is spotted on the flank. We change the
facing of our Abrams tank to rotate its stronger front hull to-
wards the threat.

Special Commands

Special Commands include various special tasks not directly re-


lated to movement or firing weapons. Many Special Commands
deal with specific situations or specific equipment, and there-
fore are only available to a unit if those conditions are met or if
the equipment is available. Popping Smoke, for example, is
only possible if the unit has smoke grenades available. Like-
wise, Deploy Weapon is only an option if the unit carries a
heavy weapon which can (or has to be) deployed before firing.
Most Special Commands are exclusive, meaning that they are
the only command that can be executed at a given time, and
cannot be combined with other Command Groups.

72 Combat Mission
Hide
Infantry - soldiers will generally go prone and hold fire and look
for nearby terrain offering good concealment, trying hard not
to get spotted.
Vehicles - vehicles will hold fire and not move, trying to keep a
low noise profile. Hiding vehicles that are struck by a projec-
tile, or that spot an enemy vehicle targeting them, will
automatically un-hide.

Note: Hiding while facing an enemy takes a lot of nerve, and units might
decide to stop hiding if fired upon or if the enemy approaches
extremely close, depending on that unit’s experience, morale and
leadership.

Restrictions - hiding is no good if the enemy is already firing at


you, or if you are trying to hide in open ground in full view of
the enemy.

Note: issuing a Hide command to a moving unit is possible. The unit will
continue moving and will automatically hide after reaching the
FINAL waypoint. If you want a unit to hide immediately you have
to first issue a CANCEL ALL Instant Command to clear all
waypoints, and then issue the Hide Command.

Example - we hide a Syrian RPG team to let the first few vehicles
and US infantry pass by before un-hiding and launching an
RPG at the side of an enemy tank

Deploy Weapon
Certain heavy weapons can be deployed before firing to increase
their chance of hitting or to increase their fire output, while
others cannot be fired at all before being properly deployed.
Deploy Weapon instructs the gunner of a heavy weapon (such
as a medium or heavy machinegun, a mortar, a recoilless rifle,
an ATGM, or other heavy equipment) to deploy his weapon on
the appropriate mount, while one or more other soldiers of the
same unit are designated as loaders and/or security or look-
outs.
Some weapons, such as, for example, medium machineguns, can
be fired without first being deployed, but will suffer from de-
creased accuracy and a lower fire output. Other weapons, such
as mortars, cannot be fired at all if not properly deployed

Shock Force 73
Deployment takes a specific amount of time for each type of
weapon, and also depends on various other factors, such as
the unit’s experience and current condition.
If you order a unit with a currently active Deploy Weapon com-
mand to move, it will automatically first de-activate the Deploy
Weapon command, and then execute the movement command.
There is a longer command delay in such case.
Restrictions - If you issue the Deploy Weapon command to an
already moving team, it will deploy its weapon at the end of
the movement command. If the movement command consists
of several waypoints, the weapon will be deployed after the
last waypoint has been reached. If you want the team to de-
ploy immediately, you need to first clear the movement
command(s).

Note: Depending on the weapon system, certain restrictions may apply


as to where a weapon can be deployed or not. For example, some
weapons may not be deployed inside buildings or on balconies or
roofs. Others may be deployed, but the Setup Time is increased:
for example, heavy MGs may deploy inside buildings, though
assembly time is 2+ minutes.

Example - we want to use a heavy machinegun to provide cover-


ing fire for an infantry assault. Finding a good position with
good field of view and field of fire, we issue the Deploy com-
mand to maximize that guns accuracy and fire output.

Dismount
Orders the passengers of a vehicle to leave the vehicle. This com-
mand is available to both passengers as well as the vehicle
itself. If you select a vehicle and issue the Dismount command,
ALL passengers will leave. If you select a Passenger unit and
issue the Dismount command, only that unit will disembark
and automatically take up a defensive position near the ve-
hicle.

Note: For Passengers, Dismount is not the only way to leave the vehicle.
You can also select a passenger unit and issue one of the
available Movement Commands. The passenger unit will auto-
matically dismount and then move to the designated waypoint on
foot. This is not possible for vehicle crews, since choosing a
Movement order while a vehicle is the active unit will order the
vehicle to move to the specified waypoint.

74 Combat Mission
Disembarking troops may attach Face, Deploy, and Pop Smoke
orders to waypoints.
Restrictions - only available to passengers inside vehicles. Other-
wise inactive.
Example - after the Stryker platoon arrives at the intended dis-
mount point, we group-select all Strykers and issue the
Dismount command. All teams dismount immediately.

Bail Out
Available for vehicle crews only, this command instructs the crew
to leave the vehicle immediately and seek cover nearby.
Restrictions - none.
Example - to preserve the crew, we order them to Bail Out of an
immobilized tank with a damaged gun sitting in plain view of
enemy anti-tank weapons, since it’s only a matter of seconds
before the tank is going to blow up. Bail Out can also be used
to dismount the crew and use it for recon, since bailed out
crews can re-occupy the abandoned vehicle.

Acquire
The Acquire command allows an infantry unit to pick up equip-
ment, weapons and ammunition from points where such goodies
are available. In CM:SF, this usually means from infantry carri-
ers such as the Stryker and BMP-1, for example, which carry
additional equipment in storage compartments.

Note: Most notably, Stryker squads start the game by default WITHOUT
their allocated Javelin anti-tank missiles (in accordance to
standing Army procedures; these things are HEAVY and are going
to wear down your squad), so they have to Acquire them first at
the beginning of the game if you are expecting to face enemy
armor.

In order to use Acquire, the infantry unit has to enter the vehicle
first. A pop-up window lists all available equipment that the
unit is eligible to choose from. Clicking on an entry removes
the equipment or ammo from the list and places it into the
inventory of the passenger unit.
Restrictions - only active when the infantry unit is inside a valid
pickup area, such as inside a Stryker or BMP-1.

Shock Force 75
Example - after nearly an hour of continuous combat, the infantry
platoon is running out of ammo. We split the squads into teams
and order them into the Strykers one by one to grab fresh
ammo.

Pop Smoke
This order is available for both infantry equipped with smoke hand
grenades as well as for vehicles equipped with smoke genera-
tors or smoke launchers. Pop Smoke instructs such units to
place a smoke screen around its current position. Pop Smoke
is used usually as a defensive command when the unit runs
into overwhelming resistance and is useful to spoil the enemy’s
aim (even if only for a few seconds) and therefore gain time to
get into a better and more secure position (or out of an am-
bush, for instance).
The duration and placement of the smoke screen depends on the
unit that is executing this order, as well as the weather and
wind conditions. Keep in mind that smoke drifts and dissipates
rather quickly under certain conditions, and can often become
as much of an obstacle to your own forces as to the enemy.
Offensive use of smoke (e.g. covering an advance) is usually
left to supporting artillery or air assets and not to the indi-
vidual ground unit.
There are various different types of smoke grenades in the game,
from special IR-spectrum blocking smoke such as that carried
by most Strykers (which is recognizable by its brown color), to
simpler vision-blocking smoke only.
Restrictions - available only as long as unit has smoke grenades
available and the smoke launchers are not damaged.
Example - a Stryker platoon needs to dismount under fire. The
Strykers are ordered to pop a defensive smoke screen around
the dismount point, allowing the infantry to dismount and head
for cover, while spoiling the enemy aim.

Pause
Available for all unit types, this command instructs a unit to wait
before carrying on with further orders. Pause can have differ-
ent states, and each click on the Pause Command Button scrolls
through the list of available options.

76 Combat Mission
Timed Pause - when you first select the Pause Command, an info
text appears next to the selected unit icon, saying “Pause
00:15”. This means that the unit is going to wait in place (but
will continue firing, if applicable) for 15 seconds before con-
tinuing with any other orders. Each further click adds 15 seconds
to the timed pause, for a maximum amount of 1:30 min (the
longest selectable time for timed pause).
Pause - The next click sets the Pause Command to a “Pause for
further orders” status. This is identical to the “Pause” used for
Instant Commands, and is additionally indicated by an acti-
vated “Instant Pause” button. The unit will stay in place until
the player clicks the Instant Command “Pause” button again,
after which the unit will resume any pending commands.
Un-Pause - The next click resets the cycle and clears the Pause
command. At this setting, the unit is not going to pause.
Restrictions - none.
Example - if you want to time it so that one squad crosses a road,
using FAST, at a time, you can issue FAST commands to all
squads in the platoon in advance, and assign each a different
time delay using the Pause command. So, you could have 1st
Squad break and cross the street immediately, then Squad 2
thirty seconds later, then Squad 3 after 1 minute, for example.

Open Up
Available for both vehicles and passengers. Open-up is a toggle.
When activated (highlighted), it instructs the vehicle passen-
gers or crew to open all available hatches. If the vehicle has
none available, nothing happens. When de-activated, it tells
the crew or passengers to close all hatches.
Restrictions - available only for vehicles and passengers.
Example - fighting from an open hatch increases the field of view
and battlefield awareness of a vehicle crew tremendously, and
even allows passengers to use personal weapons, but it can be
very dangerous and lead to casualties, especially if the enemy
returns fire from close distance. Use this command to switch
between situational awareness and added protection, as the
situation demands.

Shock Force 77
Administrative Commands
Administrative commands deal with the organization of squads,
teams and crews.

Split Teams
Evenly (more or less) splits a squad into two teams. The Tactical
AI tries to keep both teams at roughly the same strength and
also distribute special weapons evenly, thereby effectively cre-
ating two independent maneuver elements. Splitting teams is
often advisable when fighting in urban terrain so as to avoid
bunching up of soldiers into too small of an area, where they
all can be taken out by a single well-placed hand grenade.
Split teams (including the assault and anti-tank detachments cre-
ated by the two commands explained further below) belonging
to the same parent squad automatically re-join when station-
ary within a few meters next to each other, and form a single
squad-sized unit again without requiring the player to give
another order. So if you want to split a squad into teams, make
sure that you separate the teams shortly after splitting them,
or they will reform into a single unit.
Restrictions - not available if the headcount of a given squad is
too small.
Example - we want to send a recon element forward to see if
there is an enemy ambush. Splitting the squad minimizes ca-
sualties from first contact.

78 Combat Mission
Assault Team
Splits a squad into two independent teams - a heavily armed se-
curity element that usually retains all heavy weapons (such as
machineguns and rockets), and a maneuver element with small
arms and automatic weapons, handgrenades and other equip-
ment useful for close quarters battle. The game automatically
tries to include the soldiers with applicable Specialties (MOS) -
such as Machinegunner or Sniper - into the correct Teams for
their task.
Restrictions - same as for Split Teams.
Example - we want to clean out a building suspected to be occu-
pied by the enemy. Sending forward the maneuver element
with light automatic weapons, while keeping the heavy equip-
ment back with the security element, reduces possible casualties
from first contact and provides security for the moving team.

Anti-Tank Team
Orders the squad to detach an Anti-Tank element, usually consist-
ing of two or more soldiers (including any soldiers with an
Anti-Tank Specialty, if available) armed with the best anti-tank
weapon(s) that the unit has at its disposal.
Restrictions - only available if the squad/unit has anti-tank weap-
onry available.
Example - we split out a two-man RPG team from the main squad
and place it in a different location, issuing a Hide command to
them to wait for a good shot, while the rest of the squad en-
gages and distracts the enemy by fire.

Instant Commands
Instant commands are mainly used for emergencies, when you
need to quickly intervene to prevent a unit from getting into
trouble (or to get out of trouble quickly). These commands
allow the player to initiate three pre-defined “procedures” with
one click, which, during emergencies, is often about all the
time one has. These commands simulate actions soldiers would
normally take by themselves on the battlefield when finding
themselves in a tight situation.

Shock Force 79
PAUSE - instructs the unit to temporarily halt all active orders and
wait. This is the equivalent of yelling “Halt”. This button is a
toggle, and by pressing it again, the unit is ordered to resume
what it was doing. This is the equivalent of yelling “Carry on!”
CANCEL ALL - deletes ALL active commands for the unit instantly.
If you have plotted a long chain of waypoints, this command
allows you to delete all of them with one click without having
to delete each waypoint one by one. This is the equivalent of
yelling “Stop” over the radio.
EVADE - deletes all active commands and instructs the unit to
take immediate evasive action. This may include moving to
cover as well as popping smoke, if available. This is the equiva-
lent of yelling “take cover” over radio.

80 Combat Mission
Command & Control (C2)
The concept of moving and acting on information is called Com-
mand and Control, or “C2” for short (or, “C4ISR” in
contemporary US specific terminology). Arguably, C2 is the
single most important aspect of a combined arms force oper-
ating in the field. Its ability to pass information up and down
the Chain of Command largely determines that force’s oppor-
tunities and the options available to it.

Note: the C2 rules applied in CM:SF vary slightly depending on which


Skill level you’re playing. This chapter assumes the highest, or
Elite, skill, with all the rules in full effect. At Veteran level, some
of the restrictions imposed by the C2 rules are lifted or at least
not as strict, while playing at Basic Training level essentially
means C2 is not active at all.

There are two primary components of C2: communication meth-


ods and control procedures. Each is enhanced by the other,
and each is degraded by the other. In practical terms, this
means a break in communications reduces the ability for the
force to function properly, but good communications don’t
matter if the commanders can’t leverage the information to
achieve an advantage.
As a general rule, US forces have excellent communications equip-
ment and procedures. There is a lot of redundancy, which
makes it harder for US units to lose C2. The Syrians, on the
other hand, generally have poor-quality equipment, rigid pro-
cedures, and very little of both. Their C2 is considered “brittle”
even when it is functioning, since it starts out on shaky ground
and can only possibly get worse as the battle progresses. This
gives the US an inherent advantage, or “force multiplier” in US
military speak, since it allows fewer troops to do more things
over a wider area, faster, and with greater unity of purpose
compared to the Syrians. This should not be surprising since
the US military has spent many billions of dollars over many
decades to achieve this advantage.
C2 methods are divided up into three different groups and dis-
played in the Unit Info Panel:

Shock Force 81
The methods, from left to right, are:
Visual - Eye Contact (LOS, short- and long-distance)
Audio - Voice Contact, Radio Contact (differentiated by type)
Satellite - FBCB2 (US vehicle only), RPDA (US infantry only)

Like any sort of chain, the Chain of Command is only as strong as


its weakest C2 link. Having all three methods available to a
unit at the same time allows for the best possible results, while
having none at all means a break in the Chain of Command. A
break means the higher and lower parts of the chain are no
longer connected and therefore unable to communicate with
each other. This can have disastrous game results.

Maintaining C2 Links
The more types of C2 links units have, the better chance they
have of maintaining connections. Just remember that not all
C2 methods are of equal quality. Range is quite important
because the farther away units are from each other the greater
the chance they will experience breaks in communications. The
inherent fragility of the method is also important since some
are inherently more robust.
All units have the opportunity to establish Eye and Voice Contact,
but to do so means keeping units fairly close and in plain sight
(LOS) of each other. These are the most reliable, robust forms
of C2 possible. Unfortunately, from a tactical standpoint, hav-
ing units bunched up is generally not a good idea, nor is it
even necessarily physically possible. Radio Contact is the most
basic technological means of overcoming these problems, how-
ever, radios are tricky things to operate effectively as distances
increase, and good radios are quite expensive. As a result, the
Syrians have few radios at their disposal, while the US have
one for every unit. If these methods fail, either due to dis-
tance or interference, the Syrians are out of luck, since they
don’t have a backup system. The US forces, on the other
hand, have two very powerful tools at their disposal: the FBCB2
and the RPDA.
The vehicle mounted FBCB2 system is connected, via satellite, to
a central computer system that takes input from all the other

82 Combat Mission
vehicles with FBCB2. Think of it as a specialized computer
connected to the Internet with built in GPS (Blue Force Tracker,
aka BFT). Each vehicle with the system is automatically tracked
and updated on a digital map shown on all the FBCB2’s screens
of all the other vehicles. Therefore, not only does the crew of
the vehicle know where it is, but also where all of the other
vehicles are. Better still, commanders can enter information
about enemy units (type, position, heading, current activity,
etc.) so everybody using the system can see the same thing.
The other significant feature it has is the ability to “text mes-
sage” anybody with a FBCB2 system, regardless of where they
are in the Chain of Command. This offers a means of commu-
nication that is, in some ways, superior to radio contact. Since
FBCB2 is satellite-based it is largely immune to the interfer-
ence factors of Visual and Audio methods.

Dismounted units have an RPDA (Ruggedized Personal Digital


Assistant) at their disposal. This is basically the same sort of
PDA that people carry around with them all over the world, but
with the advantage of being extremely tough. The new mod-
els of RPDA are, for game purposes, portable versions of FBCB2,
with nearly the same capabilities.

Information Sharing
The better organized and connected a force is, the better able it is
to communicate critical pieces of information between units.
Though it is not obvious to the player that the information
itself is moved around, the results of it are. There are three
primary benefits of good organization and communication;
spotting of enemy units, calling for support, and maintaining
discipline.
One of the most important aspects of Combat Mission is its sys-
tem of revealing information about enemy units, such as
position, type, and actions. Unlike most other games, CM:SF
uses what we call Relative Spotting instead of Absolute Spot-
ting. In an Absolute Spotting system, when an individual
friendly unit “senses” something, that information is instantly,

Shock Force 83
and perfectly, available to all units on its side. It doesn’t mat-
ter where the other units are or what sorts of communications
capabilities they have. Relative Spotting, on the other hand,
keeps the unit’s “sensed” information from moving to other
units unless there is some way of communicating it to them.
In other words, when you click on a unit in CM:SF you get to
see what it sees relative to what it knows. If the unit is iso-
lated from the Chain of Command it wouldn’t be able to target
something it didn’t spot itself, for example.
Good quality C2 between the right units becomes of paramount
importance when Air or Artillery Support are required. Not all
units are equally capable, or even able, to direct such fire mis-
sions. Picture that critical unit, with the ability to possibly change
the course of the battle, cut off from the Chain of Command.
How can it call in Support if it can’t communicate with any-
body? Well, it can’t! For the Syrians this is a particularly
serious concern since the centralized nature of their Artillery
Support means very few units are allowed to even request
Artillery in the first place. Unit placement and maintenance of
C2, therefore, becomes an overriding priority when such as-
sets are available for use.
The US forces have it much easier since C2 is usually available
and any unit can direct Artillery and Air to some extent. The
limitation comes into play with the type of mission being re-
quested or how quickly the mission is needed. Some units can
get the job done faster and more accurately than others, which
means paying attention to placement and C2 of important units
such as the JTAC team.
Lastly, maintaining C2 is important for keeping unit cohesion in-
tact. Units tend to get jumpy when they don’t know what the
friendly units around them are up to, or where their superiors
are, or what the enemy might be trying to do at that moment.
Without C2, the imagination can run a bit wild, so to speak,
and the unit may be imagining the worst scenario. Perhaps all
its buddies withdrew and forgot to tell it to pull back? Maybe
the HQ was wiped out and nobody higher up knows about those
tanks coming down the road, and therefore no help is on the
way? Well-disciplined units hold up better under these circum-
stances, of course, but every unit has its breaking point. If it
has contact with its fellow forces and feels supported, things
are less stressful.

84 Combat Mission
Leaders
Every unit has someone in charge of its soldiers, though not nec-
essarily the same type of Leader. Leaders provide units with,
what else... leadership. They help maintain internal discipline,
direct fire to be more effective, and keep contact with other
Leaders. The more Leaders you lose, the harder maintaining
C2 becomes.

Leadership influence takes the form of a Leadership Modifier rep-


resented in the Unit Info Panel. The better the modifier, the
more effective the Leader is in keeping things on the straight
and narrow. Note that the modifier values are +2, +1, 0, -1,
and -2. This means that a Leader can have no special effect on
Leadership (0 rating) or even a negative influence (-1 or -2).
Anybody that has ever served in the military, or studied it in
historical texts, knows that some people should never have
been put in charge of anything except washing dishes (and
you don’t necessarily want to be the one eating from those
dishes). CM dutifully simulates these poor Leaders.
There are two types of dedicated Leaders; Unit Leader and Assis-
tant Leader. A Unit Leader is a soldier who has the training
and rank to command the unit he is assigned to. A Unit Leader
is represented by two stars next to his weapon icon. The As-
sistant Leader has similar training and capabilities as the Unit
Leader, but is of a junior rank and may not have all the skills
necessary to command a unit over the long term. However, an
Assistant Leader generally has the same chance of being a
good Leader in a tactical fight, which is good because that is
exactly what he’ll have to do if the Unit Leader becomes a
casualty. Assistant Leaders are represented by a single star
icon next to their weapon icon.
Squad-type units usually have a Squad Leader (Unit Leader) in
charge of Team A, and an Assistant Squad Leader (Assistant
Leader) in charge of Team B. When Squads are split up, like
Weapons Squads normally are, this effectively means that the
command responsibilities are split up. If one Leader falls to

Shock Force 85
fire, the other one will not take over his responsibilities, be-
cause they are assumed to be physically separate units when
split off as Teams.
When a battle starts, the name and rank displayed are that of the
unit’s current senior Leader. Should that Leader fall in battle
the name and rank will change as the replacement assumes
command.

Air & Artillery Support


When the going gets tough, the tough call for Support! Combat
Mission offers players unprecedented access to this all-impor-
tant aspect of modern warfare in a way that is both realistic
and simple to use. Although Air and Artillery produce quite
different results, CM:SF for the most part uses the same inter-
face for both forms of Support. Better still, CM:SF helps walk
the player through the various steps needed to complete a
Support Request without requiring months of military training.
To see if Support is available, and what types, all the player has to
do is look at the Support Buttons in the Unit Info Panel, just
above the Special Equipment area. If a button is lit up, then
Support available; otherwise the button is dimmed and there
is no support available for that type (air or artillery). These
buttons not only inform the player about availability, but also
act as the means of creating new Requests (the act of “asking”
for Support) or viewing existing Missions (a Support Request
put into action). A button will also blink when the Mission starts
to deliver its munitions, thereby giving the player some warn-
ing that something is going to go “boom” very soon.

Sometimes lots of Support is available, other times none. The


availability of Support is always force wide and determined by
the designer of the Battle. Unfortunately for the Syrian player,
Air Support is never available since their real life small air force
would (literally) be wiped out within minutes of the start of the
conflict.

86 Combat Mission
Requesting Support
The first step in making a Support Request is to select a unit to be
a Spotter, then clicking on either the Air or Artillery Support
button in the Unit Info Panel (keeping in mind that if a button
is dim Support is not available). Instantly the user interface
changes to include two new elements; the Support Roster and
Support Panel. The Support Roster shows all available Assets
while the Support Panel presents options for making a support
fire request.

The following sections explain how to use this new interface to


create a Support Request and turn it into a Support Mission.

Selecting a Spotter
The player’s first task is to identify which unit to give responsibil-
ity of both creating a Support Request and managing the
resulting Support Mission. Since not all units are equal in this
regard, here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a
Spotter:
Line of Sight (LOS) - quality LOS to the target area always
makes for more accurate and effective results
Unit Type - specialized observer teams and HQs are better than
the average combat unit
C2 Links - ideally the Spotter should show green connections to
all superior units
Stress Level - suppressed or shaky units don’t make the best
Spotters

Shock Force 87
As a general rule, any US ground unit can theoretically request
both types of Support, while only a few specialized Forward
Observer units can call in Artillery for the Syrian side. The dif-
ferences between the two sides are realistic and based on
traditional training doctrine as well as the availability of C2
equipment.
Depending on how urgently Support is needed, the Responsive-
ness rating (see below) may or may not be critically important.
Responsiveness reflects the difficulty a specific Spotter has in
getting in touch with a specific Asset and securing permission
to use it. For example, a JTAC (Joint Tactical Air Controller) is
typically headed by an officer with “time in the cockpit” and
can really speak the lingo with on station aircraft. On top of
that, this is the unit that is organizationally tasked with calling
in aircraft, therefore it doesn’t have to go through layers of
command to access them. Another variable is the JTAC’s equip-
ment which, in ideal circumstances, is the best available for
such work. Compare this to a “run of the mill” Rifle Squad
Leader trying to reach an aircraft via 3 or 4 “hops” up the
Chain of Command. It can be done, but it is obviously more
clunky than having the JTAC call in the same Request.
Remember, if the Spotter doesn’t appear to be up to the task,
another Spotter can be selected. To do this, either deselect the
current unit or click on the “X” in the upper left hand corner of
the Support Roster. There are no game penalties for checking
out how various units pair up with different Assets.

Support Roster
The Support Roster displays all Support Assets available for the
current Battle, though only one type (Air or Artillery) at a time.
Each Asset is represented by a colored square with these pieces
of information:

Silhouette - an image of the piece of equipment

88 Combat Mission
Number of Tubes - count of how many guns are assigned (air-
craft are always “1” per Asset)
Matchup - directly above the designation (to the right of the
number of tubes, if applicable) is a symbol representing how
well the Spotter and Support Asset are matched for each other.
There are five states with a thick green “+” as the best match,
thick red “x” for the worst. The better the match the more
efficient and effective the results will be.
Responsiveness - green/red dots showing how quickly the cur-
rent unit can call in support from that Asset
Designation - military designation, two lines
Main Weapon - primary weapons, two lines
Mission Status - when an Asset is being used a line of text ap-
pears at the bottom of the Asset display. “Receiving” and
“Preparing” indicate the Asset has what it needs to fulfill the
mission and is setting up to carry it out. Artillery show “Spot-
ting” when firing spotting rounds, “Firing” when firing for effect,
and “Empty” when all ammo has been expended. Aircraft dis-
play “Attacking” when actively engaging targets, “Can’t Locate”
when it’s failed to find the target, “Coming Around” when it is
preparing for another run, and “Landed” when it is no longer
available. If you see “Busy” the Asset is being used by another
Spotter and can’t be interfered with by the current unit. Use
the “Go To Spotter” button to switch to the unit directing that
Asset to make changes to the Mission.
Up to 5 Support Assets can be shown at one time, which is usually
more than enough! However, if more than 5 Assets are avail-
able in the Battle, then Left and Right “shuffle” buttons are
displayed to shuffle between the previous or next batch of 1-5
Assets. Clicking on an Asset in the Roster selects it and makes
it activate the Support Panel where some additional informa-
tion about the Asset is shown. To see another Asset simply
click on it and it will swap in for the previous one. At this point
the player is not committed to do anything with the Asset
thereby allowing “browsing” without any sort of penalty.

Support Panel
Once a Spotter and an Asset are selected, the Support Panel is
activated and ready to turn a request for Support into reality:

Shock Force 89
The selected Asset is shown on the right side of the Support Panel
and contains the same information as in the Support Roster.
Below it, however, is new information which shows the muni-
tion types and quantities available to that particular Asset. The
combination of the Asset Panel and the Ammo Panel repre-
sents all the information there is to see for that particular Asset.
The column of labeled buttons in the middle part of the Support
Panel are the means of communicating with the Asset. From
top to bottom the player clicks on a button, follows the instruc-
tions to make a selection, then moves on to the next button.
As Parameters are chosen they are displayed to the left in the
Parameters Screen. When the last Parameter is set the player
is prompted to “Confirm” the Support Request. This is the
player’s last chance to back out of a Request without penalty,
for once Confirmed the Request is off to the Asset for process-
ing.
Depending on conditions, it can take a few minutes or many min-
utes for the resulting Support Mission to commence. If the C2
Link is broken at the wrong time during this process it can
temporarily delay the Mission from continuing. If there is an
extended lack of communication between Spotter and Asset
the Mission will probably be cancelled.
The estimated delivery time in the Fire Support Mission Request
display initially shows the best possible time (usually what you'd
get with a “standard” mission). If a mission type other than
"standard" is selected, the estimated delivery changes accord-
ingly.
Starting from the point of Confirmation, the Spotter and Asset
communicate with each other to keep the mission on track.
These communications are heard by the player in the form of

90 Combat Mission
radio traffic between the two. The exact things said depend on
if the Support Mission involves an Air or Artillery Asset, the
type of Mission, and what point the Mission is at. The most
important thing for the player to keep in mind is that each one
of these communications marks the start of the next phase of
the Mission’s execution. In this way the player can keep track
of how the Mission is progressing and what stage is next.

Adjusting or Canceling Support


Sometimes it is necessary to change a Support Mission’s target or
to cancel it entirely. All modifications to a Support mission must
be made via the Spotting unit, since Spotter and Asset are
linked until the Mission is over. The easiest way to find the
Spotter is to select any unit, click the Support Button for the
type of Asset you’re looking for, then select the Asset of inter-
est. Assets which are engaged in a support mission are listed
as “Busy”. In the Support Panel the top Parameter button for a
busy asset says “Goto Spotter”. Click on that button and the
Spotter instantly becomes the currently selected unit, com-
plete with the Target line/s shown.
Now that the Spotter is selected the Mission can be Adjusted or
Cancelled in the Support Panel as long as the C2 link to the
Asset is still intact! Yes, that’s correct... if you have artillery
raining down on your own troops and you want to cancel the
mission, but suddenly find the Spotter has no C2, you’re in
trouble. There is no way to manually Adjust or Cancel the mis-
sion at this point. Which is yet another example of why it is so
very important to select a good Spotter!

Note: Support units (not only artillery but also air and other assets!) in
the process of receiving a cease fire command cannot be given
further orders until the cease fire occurs. Also, note that missions
cannot be “adjusted” while they are still being “received”!

It may turn out to be too little too late, but there are two reasons
that CM will abort a Support mission on its own. The first hap-
pens if friendly fire is encountered and the friendlies have good
C2 to the Asset doing the firing. Basically, they will try to get
the Asset to cease fire even if the Spotter can not. The second
reason is if the Spotter is out of C2 long enough that the Asset
wonders if the Spotter is still able to direct fire. In that case it
might cease fire on its own simply because it’s a bad idea to
fire blind with no feedback. However, in both cases the player
is at the mercy of variables falling into place, so neither should

Shock Force 91
be counted on in place of using a Spotter to cease fire when
possible.
Clicking on the Adjust button allows the player to redesignate the
Target portion of the Support Mission while leaving the rest of
the Mission as originally specified. Shifting fire like this is very
useful if the target units have moved or more important tar-
gets have presented themselves within close proximity to the
original Target area. Observed fire should not require Adjust-
ment to stay on Target. That is handled automatically by the
Spotter to the degree it can see the Target and has C2 to the
Asset.

Air Mission Parameters


These are the Parameters for all Air Missions:
Target - sets the size and shape of the area to hit:
Point - focuses on a single Action Spot or unit
Area - one click for center and another click for perimeter

Mission - responsible for establishing the scope of the attack:


Light - lighter Munitions
Medium - mix of lighter and medium Munitions
Heavy - medium Munitions with a smattering of lighter

Type - sets the munition mix based on the target type:


General - favors unguided HE munitions
Armor - weights towards ATGMs
Personnel - favors HE munitions

Delay - establishes when to start the support, prep time inclu-


sive. The options are:
None - no extra delay
5 Min - sets for 5 minutes min
10 Min - sets for 10 minutes min
15 Min - sets for 15 minutes min

Artillery Mission Parameters


These are the Parameters for all Artillery Missions:
Target - sets the size and shape of the area to hit:
Point Fire - focuses on a single Action Spot or unit

92 Combat Mission
Area -one click for the center and one for the perimeter
Line - requires two clicks, one for each end of the line

Number - sets the portion of the Asset to use from 1 to the total
number in Asset (usually 2 or 3)
Mission - responsible for establishing initial Rate of Fire (ROF)
and sustained ROF:
Emergency - no spotting rounds, otherwise like Heavy (not
available for pre-planned artillery strikes)
Light - slow ROF, remaining at slow ROF
Medium - medium ROF, then going to sustained ROF
Heavy - max ROF, then going to heavy sustained ROF
Smoke - medium ROF, firing smoke ammunition to create a
smoke screen rather than explosive ammo to damage or destroy
the target

Duration - determines number of rounds to use per mission:


Quick - 2-4 rounds
Short - 6-12 rounds
Medium - 12-18 rounds
Long - 20-28 rounds
Maximum - exhausts ammo supply

Type - sets the munition mix based on the target type:


General - generic setting
Armor - weights towards anti-armor rounds
Personnel - weights in favor of airburst antipersonnel rounds

Delay - establishes when to start the support, prep time inclu-


sive. The options are:
None - no extra delay
5 Min - sets for 5 minutes min
10 Min - sets for 10 minutes min
15 Min - sets for 15 minutes min

Shock Force 93
Air Assets
The player’s interaction with Air Assets is similar to Artillery. The
differences between the two are explained below, otherwise it
should be assumed the same.
Since there is no conceivable way that the Syrians could manage
Air Support missions beyond the first few minutes of a conflict
(that is according to military intelligence estimates) the Syrian
side does not have access to Air Support in the game.
The player brings up the Air Support Roster by clicking on the Air
Support Button in the Interface. Any unit may request Air Sup-
port, however the Mission options and results will vary slightly
depending on the Air Support Skill level of that unit. The best
unit for this is the JTAC (Joint Tactical Air Control) team since it
has the highest degree of training and authority of any US
unit. FISTs (Fire Support Teams) and other trained Forward
Observer (FO) type units (HQs, dedicated FOs, etc.) will get
decent results. The remaining unit types can still call in Air
Support, though results may be suboptimal.
Like Artillery, each Air Asset has specific Munitions in specific quan-
tities to use. Unlike Artillery, these dramatically affect the kinds
of missions the Air Asset can perform. An F-16, for example,
can be set up to do a small number of specialized bomb mis-
sions (like bunker busting) or outfitted to engage a dozen
armored vehicles. Same plane, entirely different capabilities.
A two word description found in the Air Asset Pane helps iden-
tify what its best use is:

The two word description represents the hardcoded arrangement


of Munitions. For a given type of plane there might be a half
dozen such configurations. The Scenario Designer simply se-
lects the one(s) he wants for the given Scenario and that is

94 Combat Mission
what the player has to deal with. Also, unlike Artillery Assets,
the number of planes is always 1 per Asset.
When the player selects an Air Asset in the Support Roster, it
appears in the Support Panel like so:

The Mission Parameters and Support Buttons reflect the Air Asset
options. Setting up a Mission is identical to Artillery, from a
user interface standpoint, but different in terms of what op-
tions are available and how the Mission is actually carried out.
Air Missions require LOS from the plane to the target, possibly
the identification of the target, estimate of the target size, and
possible customization of the Mission for the scope of the strike.
These factors determine if the Mission can be performed at all,
how many Attack Runs are made, and which Munitions are
used. For example, an F-16 wouldn’t drop a 2500 lb bunker
buster on a Squad or truck, nor would it make three passes
dropping a 500 lb bomb each time.
If the Spotter has LOS to the target and is in communication with
the Air Asset, it can confirm the target destroyed, or request
that more runs are made if it isn’t. If there is no communica-
tions link, or no LOS, then the Air Asset will have to make this
decision on its own.
Accuracy is determined in part by the type and quality of the
Spotter and his directions to the air unit. Basically the Spotter
increases the chance that a target will be seen and also hit.
This is particularly important at night. For example, a JTAC
with LOS to the target will more than likely get the Air Asset to
find and hit the right thing. A Squad without LOS to the target
will have to rely on the Air Asset finding the right target on its
own.

Shock Force 95
Like Artillery, Air Assets have a chance of Auto Cancelling a Mis-
sion based on friendly fire risk. Unlike Artillery, this can
sometimes happen before even firing a shot. The chance of a
“scrubbed” Mission depends on the Spotter type, the quality of
LOS between Spotter and Target, as well as proximity to friendly
units.

Munitions, Spotters and Equipment


Simulating the intricacies of air power was quite a challenge for
us. The coordination of ground and air assets is extraordinar-
ily complex and error prone in real life. It is also extremely
important to understand those different types of Munitions (the
ordinance carried by the Air Asset) and what the limitations
are. You also have to understand what each type of Spotter is
capable of and what their limitations are. The combination of
Munitions and Spotter, not just one or the other, determines
how well effective your strike is.

Munitions
The most important component of a Munition isn’t how big of a
boom it makes, though of course that is quite important. What
really counts most is how the Munition is guided to the target.
This fundamentally determines how likely it is that you will hit
whatever you are aiming at. CM:SF’s Munitions are divided
into four broad categories:
Dumb (Mk 80 series, Hydra, and Cannon)
Laser (LGB, Hellfire)
GPS (JDAM)
Optical (Maverick, one type of SDB)

Each has its pluses and minuses expressed in terms of who can
call what, time, and accuracy. In general, GPS and Dumb
munitions are best used against stationary targets, Laser and
Optical against moving targets. In Combat Mission the game
takes this into account automatically so you don’t have to be
bothered with micromanaging this.
Dumb is foolproof, but has a large degree of error for Mk 80 series
bombs and Hydra rockets, less error for Cannon. Laser is the
most accurate, but it requires constant “lazing” of the target
until the Munition strikes. If you don’t have someone with a
laser designator (JTAC, FO, and FS3 equipped vehicles) keep-
ing LOS on a target the entire time there will be problems.
Fortunately, they have a GPS guidance system as a backup in
case it can’t find the laser scatter to home in on, so they are

96 Combat Mission
not less accurate than GPS and generally far better. GPS re-
quires no constant LOS to the target since it is a “fire and
forget” weapon, however GPS is not as precise as laser and
therefore pinpoint hits are not a certainty. The one exception
to this is the new GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, which is just
about as accurate as laser guided. Generally the bombs are
big enough that “close enough” is good enough. Optically
guided munitions are “fire and forget” and theoretically as ac-
curate as laser guided, however in reality they are more prone
to error if the target is moving and/or the air is thick with
things like smoke.

Note: Since the release of CM:SF the US has ceased using dumb bombs
for Close Air Support missions. Additionally, while it is true that
occasionally strafing runs are carried out by fixed wing aircraft,
such low flying and usage of self defense ammunition would likely
not occur in the sort of high threat environment CM:SF simulates
unless the plane is specifically designed for this mission.Therefore
as of Version 1.10 US fixed wing aircraft no longer use dumb
bombs or engage ground targets using its cannons (exceptions
AV-8B Harrier in the Marines Module, and Army A-10).

Bombs come in four different sizes; 250 Pounds, 500 Pounds,


1000 Pounds, and 2000 Pounds. The rest of the Munitions are
of a fixed size and type. CM does not simulate a host of special
purpose munitions because they are either outside game’s in-
tended scope or are not generally in use any more.
Munition ........................... Type Accuracy
.50 cal M2 .......................... Dumb 10m CEP
20mm M210 HEI ................. Dumb 10m CEP
30mm Cannon .................... Dumb 5m CEP
GBU-39 SDB (250#) ............ GPS 1.2m CEP
GBU-40 SDB ....................... Optical 1.2m CEP
Mk82 LD (500#) .................. Dumb 110m CEP
GBU-12 LGB (500#) ............ Laser 1m CEP
GBU-38 JDAM (500#) .......... GPS 10m CEP
Mk83 LD (1000#) ................ Dumb 110m CEP
GBU-16 LGB (1000#) ........... Laser 1m CEP
GBU-32 JDAM (2000#) ......... GPS 10m CEP
Mk84 LD (2000#) ................ Dumb 110m CEP
GBU-10 LGB (2000#) ........... Laser 1m CEP
GBU-31 JDAM (2000#) ......... GPS 10m CEP
Mk66 Hydra ........................ Dumb 30m CEP
AGM-114 Hellfire ................. Laser 1m CEP
AGM-65A Maverick ............... Optical 1.5m CEP

Shock Force 97
CEP is a standard method for expressing accuracy. It stands for
Circular Error Probable, which represents a radius the Munition
has a 50% chance of hitting within. For example, a Hellfire
missile has a 1m CEP. This means it has a 50% chance of
hitting within 1m of the target and a 50% chance it will miss by
more than 1m. Since most vehicles are no more than 3m
long, if you’re firing against the side profile the chances of
hitting are extremely good. On the other end of the spectrum,
a Dumb bomb that has a 110m CEP is almost sure to miss a
specific targeted vehicle. Note this is why it is recommended
that you never engage targets with Dumb bombs when friendly
units are less than 500m to 300m away (remember a 2000#
bomb blast affects a big area compared to cannon fire).

Spotters
Any US unit can call for Air Support, however not all units are
created equal. The training a Spotter has, its equipment, and
experience are all critically important to determining how long
a strike takes to set up and how accurate it will be. The types
of Spotters are classified as follows:
General (any unit that is not one of the other types)
Leader (has some degree of specialized training)
FIST/FO (is specifically trained in fire support, but does not
specialize in Air Support)
JTAC (specifically trained to direct Air Support)

Obviously the more someone is trained the more options are avail-
able to him, not to mention the confidence and speed of putting
in a support call. The type of Spotter is taken into consider-
ation when the call is made and the Air Asset makes a decision
as to what Munition to use based on all the factors, including
the quality of the Spotter. Additionally, the Spotter may be
required to keep LOS on the target if possible. If not possible,
often the pilot can fill in, however a less optimal result is quite
likely. At the very least it slows down the delivery.
Target Tracking: With LOS Without LOS
DUMB Aim Point Aim Point
LASER Unit Aim Point
GPS Aim Point Aim Point
OPTICAL Unit Unit

Some Munitions are more capable of hitting a moving target than


others. Depending on the Munition type, and the LOS require-

98 Combat Mission
ments being met, the weapon “homes in” on either the Aim
Point or the targeted unit’s current position (if relevant, of
course).
Spotting during Targeting
Dumb Laser GPS Optical
Eyeball Both Aircraft Aircraft Aircraft
FBCB2 Both Aircraft Either Aircraft
LLDR Both Either Either Aircraft
FS3 Both Either Either Aircraft
This shows who must have LOS to target at time of targeting.
Excepting Optical Munitions, a Spotter always attempt to pro-
vide LOS, but this may not be possible, in which case it
automatically defaults to the Aircraft. Optical Munitions are
always the responsibility of the Air Asset performing the mis-
sion.
Spotting After Release
Dumb Laser GPS Optical
Eyeball Neither Aircraft Neither Munition
FBCB2 Neither Aircraft Neither Munition
LLDR Neither Either Neither Munition
FS3 Neither Either Neither Munition

Once a Munition is on its way, it may or may not require LOS to


be maintained by the designated Spotter. The unit checked is
the one that was used for spotting during targeting. If a LOS
check is necessary, and it fails, then the Munition will default
to trying to hit the aim point using GPS. This probably means
a miss if the target is moving since the accuracy is 10 times
worse than it otherwise would be.

Equipment
The type of equipment available to the Spotter is also critical. A
JTAC in a Fire Support Vehicle has an advantage over a JTAC
sitting on a roof top with nothing but a set of binoculars. The
categories are:
Eyeball (no special equipment)
FBCB2 (found in nearly all US vehicles)
LLDR (portable laser designator in the hands of some FOs)
FS3 (this is the big boxy thing mounted on Stryker RV and
FSV, Bradley M7A3, and M707 Scout Humvee)

Eyeball is just someone determining all targeting information


based on eyes, map, and other low tech items. FBCB2 at

Shock Force 99
least gives the spotter GPS coordinates relative to his own po-
sition can usually give fairly accurate GPS coordinates of the
target. Target information is also easier to transmit. LLDR
puts accurate laser light on the target and generates target
GPS coordinates, which have to be manually transmitted. FS3
is the best by far. It can put laser light on the target, identify
a units based on their unique heat signatures, get GPS coordi-
nates of the target, track the target at ranges in excess of CM’s
max map size, has a direct digital uplink to the aircraft to trans-
mit all pertinent data, and it can do this in all weather, day or
night. An amazing piece of equipment that also has an equally
amazing price tag!

Environmental Considerations
Not all Munitions are equally adept at firing in all lighting, weather,
and atmospheric conditions. Some are best used in bright
daylight, others are at their best at night. Some are unaf-
fected by all of these things, some are horribly affected. Here
is a rough idea of how conditions affect each type of Munition:
Weather Modifier
Dumb Laser GPS Optical
Overcast V Bad V Good V Good Bad
Fog V Bad Bad V Good V Bad
Rain Bad Bad V Good Bad
Smoke Average Good V Good V Good
Clear V Good V Good V Good V Good

Basic Rules of Thumb


All of these various factors merely scratch the surface of what real
Air Support is like, but it’s probable that even our boiled down
simulation is boggling a few minds reading this. Therefore,
we’ll make this simple for you! When you call in Air Support
try to use a JTAC in a FS3 equipped vehicle with direct LOS of
the target. If you do that, you’re going to have the best re-
sults regardless of the variables. Next best is probably a FIST/
FO in a FS3 Vehicle. After that, any unit in a Fire Support
Vehicle. So on and so forth. Even if it takes some time to
maneuver your best spotting unit into position, it generally will
yield a better and quicker result than having some random
Squad make the call. But if you absolutely have no other choice,
the Squad can probably get the job done adequately. Just be
aware that you want to allow for a greater degree of error than
you would with a better combo.

100 Combat Mission


Unconventional Warfare
The focus of CM:SF is primarily on conventional warfare, between
organized military forces, in a new future setting. However, in
the theater we chose (the Middle East) there is close to 0%
chance that a conflict would be purely conventional. There-
fore, for CM:SF to accurately portray a near future conventional
conflict in the Middle East it must also simulate unconventional
warfare to some extent.
Simulating unconventional forces (called Uncons for short) them-
selves is not very difficult for us to do as game designers. A
Human with a weapon is pretty much just like all other Hu-
mans with weapons. However, complications arise from specific
types of Uncons that are neither armed nor visibly different
from an average civilian.

Uncon Specialists (civilian dressed Uncons with no outward ap-


pearance of being armed) in real life blend in with the
non-combatants civilians until they are ready to strike. In a
sense this gives them a “stealth” capability that armed forces
don’t have. Yet a direct portrayal of a civilian environment for
them to blend into requires simulating such things as cultural
habits, economic activity, traffic patterns, daily civilian activi-
ties, thousands of autonomous “entities” (i.e. people), etc. You
don’t have to be a game designer grasp that this is actually
more work than the military side of the simulation! Even if it

Shock Force 101


could be coded, most gamers we know don’t have super com-
puters so they wouldn’t be able to run it anyway.
So what to do? The answer is simple – abstraction! Instead of
attempting to simulate and display every detail of a Middle
Eastern village, town, or city, Combat Mission instead just simu-
lates the ability for Uncon Specialists to avoid detection. Since
the effect is what matters in a game, an abstraction that pro-
duces the correct feel and outcome is good enough.
At the beginning of a battle all Uncon Specialist units are simu-
lated as civilians to the US player. Meaning, the Syrian player
can theoretically move them about without the US player be-
ing able to spot them, even when in line of sight of US units,
since the Uncon Specialists look just like any other civilian.
The key part of this statement is “in theory”.
In the real world a civilian must act like a civilian in order to be
perceived as a civilian. When a civilian ceases to behave like a
civilian the opposing force might notice this and grow suspi-
cious that all is not as it appears to be. Once the suspicion
level gets high enough the cover is blown and now the Uncon
is no longer protected by civilian anonymity. In game terms
this means the Uncon Specialist is now reviled to the US player
as an enemy unit and is treated just like any other military
target. In other words, the US player will get the green light to
“fire at will” against Uncon Specialists.
As in real life, the activities that raise suspicions most are move-
ment and proximity to military forces. The more out of character
the movement is, and the closer it is, the greater the chance
that more suspicions are raised. The crucial game factors are
the terrain the Uncon Specialist moves over, the type of Move-
ment Command used, and the proximity to US units. For
example, an Uncon Specialist crawling across the desert is highly
suspicious while one walking right down a densely populated
city street probably will go unspotted.
Obviously the more civilians present, the more difficult it is for the
other side to spot suspicious activity. Combat Mission simu-
lates this by allowing scenario designers to specify the Civilian
Density to simulate how much cover the Uncon Specialists
should have. The Civilian Density is set by the scenario de-
signer and shown as part of the Conditions Menu, accessible
during gameplay by clicking on the Menu button at the bottom
of the Command panel. The higher the density setting the less
likely the unit will be spotted before it’s too late. The type of

102 Combat Mission


terrain is also important since civilians are only expected in
large numbers in urban type terrain. In fact, a large congre-
gation of people out in the middle of nowhere would be
suspicious all on its own!
The closer an Uncon unit comes to US troops, the higher the
chances of being revealed. “Normal” civilians usually try to
avoid combatant forces during battle, so anyone milling around
close to the soldiers will invariably make himself suspicious.
Therefore, the closer an Uncon Specialist gets to a US unit, the
more “normal” it’s behavior needs to be to avoid detection.

Note: We do not publish the exact parameters of what behaviour


increases the chances to remain unspotted on purpose. There is
also quite a bit of randomness and variability based on a number
of factors. By keeping the descriptions somewhat vague the
chances that this feature will become “gamey” (unrealistically
used) are reduced. Plus, in real life all of this is an art, not a
science.

Unconventional Forces
Fighters are regular soldiers, mercenaries and other types of ir-
regular military personnel who operate in small groups and
use guerrilla tactics instead of conventional military method.
They can be well trained and motivated and occasionally have
access to fairly sophisticated and advanced equipment. Some
heavy weapons are mounted on civilian vehicles, otherwise
known as Technicals. Since they are armed and wear distinc-
tive clothing, the Stealth rules do not apply to Fighters.

Combatants are civilians who pick up weapons and organize them-


selves in small groups, usually on short notice and in an ad-hoc
way. Combatants are usually only lightly armed and untrained,
though probably well motivated. Some heavy weapons are
mounted in civilian vehicles, otherwise known as Technicals.
Since they are always visibly armed, and sometimes carry spe-
cial clothing, the Stealth rules do not apply to Combatants.
Specialists include several groups of special unconventional units
with unique features and tasks: Spies, Transports, IEDs (im-
provised explosive devices aka bombs), and VBIEDs (vehicle

Shock Force 103


based i.e. mobile IEDs). These are discussed in more detail
below.

Specialists
Spies: instead of using weapons, Spies use their eyes and ears to
pick up information about enemy units and then relay it to
armed Uncons. Their primary goal is to remain undetected,
therefore remain largely stationary and in good cover. Once
revealed, a Spy simply disappears because he is no longer of
any use.
Transports: civilian vehicles used to quickly relocate groups of
unconventional units. The available units include Taxis, Sedans
and Pickups. There are literally hundreds of different civilian
models to choose from, but effectively there is not much dif-
ference between them and boil down to two types:

PICKUP (4x4)
Name: Toyota HiLux
Weight: 6000 lbs (2722 kg)
Power: 96 hp (72 kW)
Top speed: 90 mph (144 kph)

CAR (2x4)
Name: VAZ-21053
Weight: 2200 lbs (998 kg)
Power: 71 hp (53 kW)
Top speed: 93 mph (150 kph)
Price: $2,920 (that’s for a new car!)

Technicals: the same type of pickup used as a Transport with a full


time heavy weapon mounted in back. Combat Mission includes
pickups armed with medium machineguns (PK/PKM), heavy
machineguns (DShK), and recoilless rifles (SPG-9). Although
very fast and mobile, Technicals have no armor protection at
all. Once spotted and taken under fire they are easily put out
of action.
IEDs: Improvised Explosive Devices (i.e. bombs). Three different
types, in various sizes, are simulated in the game. The size
determines the strength of the explosion and therefore ability
to cause damage and casualties. The different types deter-
mine reliability as well as the distance at which the triggerman
can be positioned.

104 Combat Mission


Wire – shortest distance (about 100m), 10% failure chance
Radio – medium distance (about 300m), requires line of
sight, 20% failure rate
Cell phone – long distance (about 600m), 10% failure
chance

IEDs typically consist of the bomb itself and the triggerman. The
bomb is placed during the setup phase like any other unit.
Once placed, it cannot be moved again. The triggerman, how-
ever, can be relocated.

VBIEDs: vehicle based IEDs, or in other words, a civilian vehicle


stuffed with explosive material. VBIEDs are driven by a suicide
bomber with the intention to come close to an enemy unit and
detonate the device. A VBIED team typically consists of one
driver and one spy. The driver’s function is to drive the vehicle
and trigger the explosion, while the spy is used to designate
the desired target from a safe position outside of the vehicle.

Using IEDs and VBIEDs


In game terms there is very little difference between operating
IEDs (i.e. roadside bombs) and VBIEDs (i.e. vehicle bombs).
As you read this section consider everything you read about an

Shock Force 105


IED applies to a VBIED unless specifically noted to the con-
trary.
In order for an IED to detonate it must first be activated, other-
wise it remains inert. To activate an IED, select it and choose
the Target command from the Combat panel, then click on the
map to arm it. If you want the IED to target the first unit that
comes near it, click anywhere on the map. If you instead want
to target a specific enemy unit, click on that unit and the IED
will ignore other possible targets. You can re-designate the
target at any time by repeating these steps.
Activation is not just a matter of specifying a target, however. For
activation to occur the triggerman, at the time the Target com-
mand is used, must be in good shape (e.g. not panicked),
have an undamaged trigger device in its inventory, be within
the maximum range (and/or LOS if required) of the IED, and
pass a reliability check. The reliability check determines if the
IED itself, or the ability to detonate it, has failed. IEDs that
malfunction can’t be made to detonate no matter what. If there
is a change to one of these factors, such as the triggerman
being eliminated, then the IED remains activated but will not
detonate until all requirements are fulfilled again.
VBIEDs differ from IEDs mostly in terms of mobility. VBIEDs are
driven by a suicide bomber with the intention to come close to
an enemy unit and detonate the device. A VBIED team typi-
cally consists of one driver and one spy. The driver’s function is
to drive the vehicle, select a target and trigger the explosion,
while the spy is used to help the driver find possible targets
from a safe position outside of the vehicle.
The VBIED automatically detonates once in proximity to the first
enemy unit that comes near it. No activation is needed.
You can also select a specific target for the VBIED. In order to do
this, select the VBIED, and choose the Target command. Next,
click on the desired enemy unit to target. However, keep in
mind that vehicles are generally viewed with suspicion so go-
ing after the first vehicle is generally the only practical thing to
do. As long as the Target command remains active, the car
will only detonate when the selected target unit comes into
proximity. Other enemy units will cause no detonation.
Targetting a specific unit allows you to let part of a column
pass by and detonate the VBIED later. But keep in mind that
this is increasing the chances of the enemy to spot you, as
well.

106 Combat Mission


The Editor
CM:SF provides players with the same tools that were used to
create the stock battles and campaign, and allows them to
create their own maps and missions from scratch.
The Editor really combines four separate editors in one:
Mission Editor - settings needed to make a scenario, such as
weather variables, briefings, victory conditions and more
Map Editor - creates realistic 3D combat maps from scratch
Unit Editor - purchase, organize, and deploy units
AI Editor - tailors higher level parameters for the computer op-
ponent to follow, such as unit behaviour, movement paths,
and more

Basic screen layout


The picture below shows the basic layout for the Editor.
1. File Menu - buttons to Save, Load, and create a New scenario
or Exit to the main screen.
2. Editor Selector - a pop-up menu to choose the Editor you want
to work with. The popup menu also lists three additional im-
portant features - 3D Preview, Bake and Make Campaign,
explained later in this section.
3. Mode Selector – a list of buttons showing the main Modes of
each selected Editor.
4. Option Palette - graphical button palette which shows Options
specific to the selected Mode
5. Settings List - displays values for the selected Option (if any),
some of which may be editable (depending on Option).
6. Toolbar - tool icons for Map Editor
7. Display Area - this is where the 2D overview map is displayed
for certain combinations of Editor, Mode and Options.

Shock Force 107


File Menu

Displays buttons for:


LOAD - opens dialogue to load an existing scenario file (from the
Scenario folder)
SAVE - opens dialogue to name and save the currently active
scenario to disc. If the scenario has already been saved be-
fore, the current name and save location are loaded as default.
NEW - erases all settings and creates a “blank” new scenario file
with all settings reset to their default entries. Don’t forget to
first save any existing scenario you’ve been working on!
EXIT - exits the Editor and jumps back to Main Screen

Editor Selector
This pop-up menu displays all available Editors and main func-
tions. The selection made here has direct influence on which
Options and Settings are shown, as well as the options avail-
able in the Toolbar and Display areas.

108 Combat Mission


MISSION - used for editing mission parameters such as briefings,
objectives, time and date, weather and more.
MAP - used to edit terrain features
UNITS - used to organize and deploy Blue and Red forces
A.I. - used to “program” custom computer player AI
3D PREVIEW - used to jump to a 3D view of the current game
map
BAKE - creates a special type of scenario that has pre-programmed
Commands “baked” into it. For example, starting the game off
with an artillery barrage, having a column of vehicles snake
their way down a road, infantry dashing into new positions,
etc. The downside of this process is that the scenario file
changes to that of a save game. Meaning, there is no way to
edit a “baked” scenario file directly, making it a good idea to
keep the original scenario file to make changes to if needed.
Baked scenarios are incompatible with Campaigns.
MAKE CAMPAIGN – The creation of a campaign file requires sev-
eral ingredients:
(1) The currently loaded scenario will provide the “core” troops,
the mission briefings, and the snapshot data for the scenario
choice screen.
(2) A campaign “script” text file that designates the parameters
and battle .btt scenario files (not baked) by name.
(3) The .btt scenario files for campaigns are created just like any
other standalone scenario, but additionally the player imports
the “core” troops from the base scenario mentioned under (1)
above.
(4) The battle files named in the script must be in the same direc-
tory as the script file or the Scenarios directory. The finished

Shock Force 109


campaign “.cam” file will be saved in the Campaign directory,
overwriting any previous file.

Mission Editor
The Mission Editor defines the basic parameters and settings for a
given scenario. The various components are:
Description
Data
Mission (Blue and Red)
Parameters (Blue and Red)
Terrain Objectives (Blue and Red)
Unit Objectives (Blue and Red)

Description
When choosing which scenario to play the player can click on it in
the scenario list and see a brief overview to the right of the
screen. These details help the player determine which sce-
nario to play without needing to load it. None of these settings
have any impact on the scenario itself. Just like any product
sitting on the shelf, the packaging simply informs the person
what is inside, nothing more than that.

Battle Type
Specifies the general nature of the battle and who is the attacker.
Depending on the nature of the scenario’s storyline you may
wish to be “vague”, or even inaccurate, so you don’t give away
surprises.
Assault, Attack, Probe, Meeting Engagement

Environment
This setting gives the player a rough idea of the nature of the area
being fought over. People specifically seeking an urban battle,
for example, will know right away that they want to skip over a
scenario that is taking place in a Forest.
City, Town, Village, Open, Rough, Forest, Hills

Daylight
Characterizes the average natural lighting conditions. The actual
lighting is determined by the time & day settings in the Data
section.
Dawn, Day, Dusk, Night

110 Combat Mission


Battle Size
The scenario’s approximate size, from Tiny to Huge, gives players
an idea of the overall scope of the battle. Each scenario author
probably has a different idea of what Tiny or Huge is, but as a
guideline the amount of units involved as well as map size and
battle duration should be factored into the setting here. As a
general guideline, a Tiny battle involves platoon sized forces,
or smaller, for each side and a very small map. A Huge in-
volves a force of several companies on each side and a very
large map. The rest fall somewhere in between.
Tine, Small, Medium, Large, Huge

Title
The scenario list is listing scenarios by the text entered here (i.e.
the scenario title). Titles should be short and to the point, but
catchy, too. When you playtest your game make sure the title
looks good in the list.

Description
A short one-line description of what players can expect to find
when they decide to play the battle. Be mindful that there is no
way to customize the text to match a particular side’s perspec-
tive, so keep it generic. When you play your scenario you
should double check that all your text fits in the box.

Image
Each scenario can have, and should have, a small image file asso-
ciated with it. Think of this as the slick marketing image found
on a packaged product. Make something exciting and dra-
matic, if possible, that gives the player a small idea of the
nature of the battle they’re contemplating to play. The file has
to be in BMP format and a maximum of 170 x 170 pixels in
size. Three buttons allow the scenario designer to:
Import a new image file
Export the existing image file
Clear the existing image file

Data
The Data section defines a number of parameters which, unlike
the Description section, do affect the inner workings of the
scenario. These settings control:
LENGTH OF BATTLE - the maximum duration of the sce-
nario (in minutes)

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VARIABLE LENGTH – sets a variable (random) ending time
for the battle
REGION & MONTH - sets the month and year in which the
battle takes place.
DAY - the day on which the battle takes place
HOUR - at which hour the battle starts
MINUTE - minute when the battle starts
WEATHER - sets the current weather for the battle to Clear,
Hazy, Thick Haze, Overcast etc.
WIND STRENGTH - sets the wind strength as none, gentle,
light, medium or heavy.
WIND SOURCE - the direction from which the wind is origi-
nating
TEMPERATURE - the temperature during the battle
GROUND CONDITION - sets the general ground condi-
tion. Options include Very Dry, Dry, Damp, Wet, Muddy etc.
CIVILIAN DENSITY – abstractly represents the amount of
non-combatant population as None, Sparse, Light, Moderate,
Heavy and Very Heavy.
BLUE FRIENDLY DIRECTION - sets the direction into which
Blue units would withdraw to join their lines
RED FRIENDLY DIRECTION - sets the direction into which
Red units would withdraw to join their lines
EARLY INTEL - can be set to None, Red Force or Blue Force.
INTEL STRENGTH - can be set between No Intel (0%) to
Full Intel (100%) and any step between in 10% steps.
Force vs Force - this setting allows you to create Blue on
Blue and Red on Red missions in addition to the standard Blue vs
Red. This setting defines what units are available for purchase
and deployment in the Units Editor. You may even mix and match
forces in this way.

Mission (Blue and Red)


The Mission Briefings seen by the Blue and Red players at the
beginning of the battle are determined/created here. Each sides’
set is unique to itself, but the method for creating them is
identical for both. A full Mission Briefing set consists of a stra-
tegic overview map, an operational overview map, a tactical
overview map, and the text for the briefing itself.
All four files (three image files for the maps and one text file for
the briefing text) have to be imported into the scenario file.

112 Combat Mission


Note: Once imported you do not need to include the original files
anymore.

The three map images all have to be in BMP (Bitmap) format, but
each can have a different maximum size:
Strategic Map: 224 x 224 pixels
Operational Map: 702 x 224 pixels
Tactical Map: 952 x 350 pixels

Note: We recommend using the strategic overview map that ships with
the game in order to have some consistency. The map used for
the operational briefing map is publicly available online from
Wikipedia’s “Syria” entry. You can of course simply draw a tactical
map by hand, but another good approach is to take a top-down
screenshot of the actual map at least as the base; or even a
screen capture from the 2D editor map. If you decide to use real
maps, please keep in mind any potential copyright infringements
(maps are usually copyrighted just like books or photos).

The briefing text itself is a simple text (.txt) file. A template is


used as default for the briefing text when you create a new
mission from scratch. It might be a good idea to export the
template first, fill in your orders into the template, and then
import the completed text.

Note: The ^ tags indicate the end of a section, and should not be
removed.

The options for the images and briefings are:


Import a new file,
export an existing file
clear (delete) an existing file

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Parameters (Blue and Red)
Unlike most wargames, Combat Mission allows “asymmetric” vic-
tory conditions where each side has its own unique parameters
and is judged based on how well it achieves them. The side
that best achieves its goals is declared the winner, even if tech-
nically both sides were within specified parameters. This is
critically important for simulating asymmetric warfare since
rarely are both sides operating under the same or even similar
parameters. You can specify the following conditions for each
side:
CASUALTIES - the number of casualties the side is allowed
to endure.
CONDITION - the number of units allowed to be panicked,
routed, tired, or wounded.
AMMO - the amount of total ammunition that side is al-
lowed to expend.

For each parameter the scenario designer determines the thresh-


old in % (from 0% to 100%) and the amount of victory points
associated with each once the threshold is reached. Specifi-
cally, you get the points if:
Enemy Casualties > X% Enemy Condition < X%
Enemy Ammo < X%
Friendly Casualties < X% Friendly Condition > X%
Friendly Ammo > X%
Casualties is casualties suffered, e.g. 100% means the whole force
was wiped out. Both soldiers and vehicles are factored into this
and you get partial credit for immobilizing a vehicle.
Condition is a combination of (from most important to least) mo-
rale, fatigue, suppression, and light wounds (more serious
wounds or death are part of casualties, not condition).

Terrain Objectives (Blue and Red)


Each side can be assigned up to 8 terrain based ob-
jectives. This involves defining where the objective
is, what the player is supposed to do with it, and
various other details. These parameters allow the
designer to simulate a wide range of missions in-
stead of just the usual “capture the flag” and “king of

114 Combat Mission


the hill” objectives commonly found in wargames. To start off,
click on the corresponding button labelled Obj 1 - 8, and “paint”
the objective area onto the 2D map.

Note: there are no limitations in how you “paint” the objective area. You
can create a single large area, two or more independent ones, or
even sprinkle small spots all over the map. Keep in mind that
points for a specific objective are only awarded once and that 10
separate spots for a single objective means that the player must
pay attention to ALL 10 spots, not just one. If the mission is to
destroy these areas, for example, that means all 3 must be
destroyed in order for the player to get points. This can be
difficult to effectively communicate to the player, so be careful
when spreading things out. Therefore, generally it is better to
make separate objectives for non-contiguous goals.

After determining the objective area(s) you need to specify what


the player must do with the area(s) and who knows about it:
OCCUPY - friendly units have to move to the area, clear it
completely of enemy troops, and remain there when the battle
ends
DESTROY - the terrain (e.g. building) has to be destroyed/
damaged
PRESERVE - the terrain must be protected from destruc-
tion/damage
TOUCH - friendly units have to reach the area and are
awarded points immediately upon reaching it. They do not have
to remain in place
KNOWN TO... - player, enemy, both, none
Note: With this last option you can create all sorts of unique, dynamic
situations by assigning “hidden” objectives without telling the
player where they are, or even that they exist! More about using
this powerful tool can be found in the next section, Tips for using
the Editor.

POINTS - assign how many points are awarded to the player


who fulfills the objective
NAME - assign a name to the Objective for easier reference
(it’s also shown to the player on the 3D map and upon comple-
tion)
Unit Objectives (Blue and Red)
In addition - or instead - of terrain based objectives, you can also
designate enemy units as objectives. This allows for such things
as “destroy all enemy tanks” as the mission and to judge its
success based on tank destruction instead of other things.

Shock Force 115


To designate a unit or formation as a scenario objec-
tive, you have to first assign it to a “unit objective
group” in the Unit Editor. To do that, simply select
the unit or formation and hold down the SHIFT key
while pressing a number key from F1-F7. The selected
units will then show a [U] next to its name followed
by the corresponding group number you pressed. In order to
remove a unit that is already part of a group, select that unit
and hold down SHIFT and press F8.
Once you’ve done this, go back to the Mission editor and select
the Unit Objectives Option. Click on one of the buttons for Unit
1 through Unit 7 to set the parameters for that group.

Note: keep in mind that only ENEMY units can be assigned as unit
objectives. For example, a Red unit assigned to Group 1 will be
tied to the Blue side’s Group 1 objective, never to the Red side’s
Group 1 objective.

Unit Objectives can be one of three types – Destroy, Destroy All


or Spot.
DESTROY - the designated target unit has to be knocked
out for full points to be awarded, and damaged for partial points.
DESTROY ALL - the designated target(s) must be com-
pletely eliminated for points to be awarded.
SPOT - the designated target unit has to be spotted in order
to be awarded target points.
KNOWN TO... - player, enemy, both, or none
POINTS - assign how many points are awarded to the player
who fulfills the objective
NAME - assign a name to the Objective for easier reference
(it’s also shown in the After Action Report)

Map Editor
The Map Editor is where you design your own maps from scratch
by “painting” the landscape in a 2-dimensional top-down view.
To see the results of your work in 3D, click on the “Editor Se-
lector”, and select “3D preview” from the pop-up menu. After
you’ve explored the 3D world, hit the ESC key to bring you
back to the Map Editor.
The Map Editor consists of three main tools: the Option Selector
on the left allows you to choose which features of the map to
edit; the Settings Selector allows you to choose a specific type/

116 Combat Mission


feature of the selected Option; and the Tool icons on top of the
screens allow you choose from several editing modes and
“brushes” and change the map’s dimensions.

Map Editor Options


Options and Settings are as follows:

Ground #1
The basic set of available ground types. Dirt, Dirt Red, Hard, Hard
Red, Grass, Yellow Grass, Tall Grass, Tall Yellow Grass, Rocky,
Rocky Red and Sand.

Ground #2
Second set of possible ground types. Pavement 1 and 2, Gravel,
Dirt Lot, Grain, Mud, Marsh.

Brush
Brush terrain.

Foliage
Six types of trees and three types of large bushes.

Roads
A number of road types: Dirt Road, Gravel Road, Paved Road 1
and 2, and a multi-lane Highway.

Walls/Fences/Trenches
Various types of walls and fences (Stone, Tall Stone, Brick, Tall
Brick and Rural Stone), as well as trench lines.

Shock Force 117


Buildings
A large selection of buildings, from 1 to 8 stories high as well as
rubbled. After selecting a type, you can then choose the foot-
print and orientation for each building individually.

Flavor Objects
Flavor Objects are small objects which add atmosphere and eye
candy to the scenery but have little or no impact on gameplay.
Options include: Street Lights, Telephone Poles, Drums, vari-
ous Road Signs, and Sacks.

Craters
Allows to place various types and patterns of craters on the map
in clusters of 3, 7 or 15 small craters (L); 1, 2 or 4 medium
sized craters (M); 1 or 2 large craters (H), and 1 super-size
crater (S).

Elevation
By default the map is perfectly flat and all tiles are set to elevation
level 20. You can adjust elevation levels to be anywhere be-
tween 0 and 999. Each elevation change represents a height
difference of 1 meter.
CM:SF’s approach to elevations might be conceptually difficult to
grasp at first (especially if you worked with the earlier CM edi-
tors in the past). However, once you get a feel for it you’ll
never want to use another elevation editor again! Instead of
setting the height of each individual tile, you simply “draw”
contour lines like you see on a topographical map. CM then
logically slopes the terrain between the contours so that the
transitions are smooth and natural looking.
The mechanics are quite simple. There are four different ways to
change the elevation of a tile and you can set multiple tiles to
the same height by keeping the left mouse button pressed as
you move the cursor around the map. No matter which method
you use, or how you use it, the results are the same. The tiles
clicked on turn black to signify that you have “locked” the par-
ticular tile to a specific height, which is displayed in white
numbers. All others remain in their natural state, showing
that they are “unlocked”. All locked tiles remain at the height
you specified, all the unlocked ones dynamically change their
heights to conform to the placement of new locked tiles. This
way you can specify a crest of a hill and the rest of the terrain
will smoothly come up to meet it instead you having to do it
manually.

118 Combat Mission


The four choices are in the Options panel on the left:
DIRECT- set a specific elevation with one click. First choose the
desired elevation by using the + and - keys on the keyboard,
then click on the map at the desired location. The elevation of
that tile changes to the value you specified.
ADJUST - decrease or increase elevations by the amount set us-
ing the + and - keys on the keyboard. The default is 5, meaning
that if you left-click on a tile with the elevation set to 20, it will
be increased to an elevation of 25. Clicking on it again sets it
to 30. Left-clicking while holding the SHIFT key decreases el-
evation by the set amount.
You can also set the adjustment value to 0. This locks a tile to
whatever its current height is. For example, if an unlocked tile
is 23 you can click on it and it will lock in at 23 without having
to manually set the height to 23 using the Direct method. This
is useful when you want to establish a fixed base to create a
steep hill or valley without changing the surrounding heights.
ADJUST ALL - this allows you to nudge ALL tiles up or down by
one level each time you press the + or - key, respectively. This
is useful if, for example, you reached elevation 0 on the map
but suddenly notice that you need a few lower elevations to
finish a canyon. Increasing all tiles by +5 height gives you the
needed room while retaining all your hard work map wide.

Note: this option only works when at least ONE elevation has been set
by you on the map (i.e. when there is at least one black dot
placed on the map).

CLEAR – unlocks a locked tile and adjusts nearby elevations auto-


matically. For example, say you decided to flatten out a section
of map that you had previously made hilly. Just clear the locked
tiles and it will settle to whatever the surrounding terrain is set
to.
Elevation numbers are by default only visible in this mode. If you
want to see elevations in other map editing modes you can
press the “E” key on your keyboard, which places an elevation
overlay over the current 2D map display. Pressing E again re-
moves the overlay.

Shock Force 119


Landmarks
Identifying key terrain features in the Briefing helps the player
associate what he is tasked to do with where he is supposed to
do it. To help tie these things together you can place text
“landmarks” to indicate, specifically, where something is. For
example, identifying a prominent hill as “Hill 586” and noting
in the Briefing what the player is supposed to do with “Hill
586”. To place a landmark, first click on the tile you want to
label. A pop-up window opens with a text field to enter the
name of the landmark. Note that this name is visible to both
players, so it is generally a bad idea to make the landmarks
too side specific if you intend on the scenario being playable
from both sides. If you find you don’t like the landmark you
put down, or see that it is in the wrong place, click on it in the
2D map to select it and then choose Delete.

Note: if you want only one side to see a map label, use Objectives
instead (see Mission Editor as well as the Tips&Tricks section)

Setup Zones
Allows “painting” of up to three setup zones per nation, labeled
Blue 1, 2, 3 and Red 1, 2, 3 respectively. Zones are used to
restrict how much the player can customize his starting loca-
tions. For example, allowing the attacking player to set up in
the same spot as the defender would not be a good idea. Like-
wise, allowing the defender to put some snipers or AT teams in
the middle of the attacker’s assembly area isn’t likely to win
you any friends from people who play as the attacker!
Setup zones do not have to be adjacent, meaning that you can
create one large zone, two or more independent zones, or even
sprinkle spots all over the map. Units located within a specific
zone during the Setup Phase of a battle can be moved to all
spots of that same zone number, no matter where they are. So
if you create two Zone 1 spots on the opposite ends of the
map, a unit can jump from one spot to the other without re-
strictions, as long as it is placed on a spot with the same zone
number.

Note: units placed by the scenario designer outside of a Setup Zone


during deployment cannot be moved at all by the player during
the Setup Phase.

120 Combat Mission


Map Toolbar
The Map toolbar at the top of the screen is always visible when
the 2D overview map is shown. The tools contained in the bar
allow you to quickly access four functions:

Object Rotation
Most objects which can be placed on the map, such as buildings,
road tiles, walls etc. can be rotated in one of four directions
before placing them on the map. The four arrow buttons indi-
cate the currently selected direction.
You can also change the rotation by holding the CTRL key and
right-clicking (it doesn’t matter where you click). Repeat this
until the rotation direction you want is selected (the current
selection is always indicated by a depressed button)

Paintbrush
The “brush” with which you can “paint” terrain/objects on the 2D
map is set to one of four sizes. The smallest size paints only
one terrain tile per click, while the biggest level paints a rect-
angle of 15 by 15 tiles per click. Left-click applies the currently
selected terrain to the area covered by the brush, right-click
removes it.

Note: not all objects are eligible for different brush sizes. Most terrain
types are, but for example Buildings or Flavor Objects are not.
Flavor Objects additionally can only be placed in 2D view but not
deleted by right-clicking (since they are not visible in 2D view).
You have to go to the 3D preview to deleted Flavor Objects.

Map Zoom
The 2D map can be set to any one of five different levels of mag-
nification by clicking on the corresponding button. The left most
button is max zoom in, the right max zoom out. The middle
zoom level is the default. If the map view is zoomed in, then
the view will scroll when you move the cursor to the screen
edge.

Map width & depth


Sets the dimensions for the playable area of the current map. Two
“boxes” are available, one for setting the width and the other
for setting the height.

Shock Force 121


In order to adjust map sizes, you use one of the four buttons
available per “box”. Obviously the + buttons increase the size,
while the - buttons decrease map size. Each click increases the
map by 32 meters.

Note: by pressing and holding the SHIFT key while clicking on one of the
buttons, the increase (or decrease) is 160 meters.

What might be less obvious, but is logical once you think about it,
is that the placement of the buttons also indicates the direc-
tion into which (or from which) the map is increased (or
decreased).
You just have to consider which axis is being lengthened or short-
ened, and the +/- pairs are then formed to affect each end of
that axis.

The plus and minus on the left affect the west side of the map. So
pressing the plus on the left adds space to west. Similarly the
minus on the right removes space from east.

Here the plus and minus on top affect the northern border of the
map, while the plus and minus in the bottom do it for the
southern border.

Units Editor
The Units editor provides all the tools to create Order of Battles
for both Blue and Red sides. On the left is a list of options
arranged logically, from top to bottom, in the order generally
used to create an Order of Battle. First you purchase units for
a side, then you assign reinforcements, and lastly you deploy
those units in the 3D environment.
The main screen layout consists of two columns in the main dis-
play area. On the left is a list of all the Available Troops that
can be purchased for a specific “Branch” (sub category of a

122 Combat Mission


side’s units). On the right is the Activated Troops display that
shows all the units you’ve “purchased” for inclusion in your
battle. At the bottom of the screen are various options to tweak
the data for a whole formation or a specific unit. The buttons
off to the lower right side are the most important since they
control Purchase, Delete or Rename functions.Purchase Units
Formations are a very important concept to both gameplay (which
is not directly relevant here) and scenario making. Most of
Combat Mission’s formations are based on authentic Tables of
Organization and Equipment (TO&E) for the various forces used
in the game. Some, like Uncons, aren’t organized so explicitly
in real life so we’ve simply made approximations of what one
might find on the battlefield. No matter what, though, every
single individual unit belongs to a single formation, which in
turn may (or may not) be a part of another formation. A for-
mation isn’t a unit itself, rather just a container for either units
or other formations. For example a Rifle Squad is a unit that is
typically found in a Platoon formation, which itself usually be-
longs to a Company formation.
When you purchase units for the first time you’ll quickly discover
you are only allowed to purchase formations, generally quite
large ones at that. After you purchase a formation you then
“delete” the specific units/formations you don’t want. This might
seem a backwards way to do things, but really it is quite nec-
essary. If you bought units on their own they would have no
formational context. Since such context is very important to
gameplay and realism you’d then have to go through a compli-
cated process of attaching units to each other, possibly in ways
they never would be in real life. Therefore, it is much easier to
start with the correct formations attached to each other and
simply toss aside the units and formations you don’t want.

Purchase Units
All units are organized by Force type (e.g. US Army, Syrian Army,
etc.) and then secondarily to a specific Branch of that Force
(e.g. US Stryker BCT, Syrian Republican Guard, etc.). Force
options for a particular side are presented in icon form in the
middle of the left portion of the user interface. When you
select a Force a list of the available Branches appears below.
Selecting one of these shows what the Available Troops are for
that particular Branch. You are allowed to mix and match units
from Forces and Branches as much as you like, no matter how
unrealistic it may be in real life.

Shock Force 123


Each line in the Available Forces represents a unique, purchasable
formation. At first glance there doesn’t appear to be many
choices since you initially see just the tip of the iceberg. Next
to every formation name is a small + icon which allows you to
“expand” it to show attached formations and units. By default
all formations start out “collapsed” in order to minimize the
amount of space it uses in the display. To expand a formation
all you have to do is click on the + icon. One expanded the
icon turns to a – icon which, when clicked on, collapses the
formation again. Collapsing is rather important since the dis-
play can not be scrolled, therefore you can only see one screen
height’s worth of units at a time. Therefore, if you should find
yourself out of room just collapse some of the formations you
aren’t interested in and you’ll be all set.
To “purchase” a unit, doubleclick on it or, alternatively, single-
click to highlight the formation, then click on the Purchase button
in the lower right hand corner. Either way, once a formation is
purchased it moves to the Activated Troops column and is im-
mediately available for use in the scenario. However, it is highly
unlikely you’ll need all the units of the formations you pur-
chased. Therefore, you’ll want to remove formations and units
that aren’t necessary for your battle.
Removing units is very easy. In the Activated Troops list simply
select the formation or individual unit to remove and then click
on the Delete button in the lower right corner of the screen.
The unit’s name grays out showing that it is no longer available
for your battle. If at any time you change your mind, not a
problem. Simply highlight the formation or unit and hit the
Delete button to reset them.

Soft factors
Each unit has certain “soft” data that can be adjusted if desired.
Soft factors are those elements that are, more or less, variable
from unit to unit regardless of type. Most of these are related
to the soldiers themselves, not the equipment they have as-
signed to them. You can see what the soft factors are by clicking
on a unit or formation and looking at the popup options at the
bottom section of the screen.
When adjusting these factors try to put yourself into the boots of
the soldiers in the unit within the context of your scenario’s
setting. For example, is the unit supposed to represent a dispir-
ited bunch of farmers rounded up one day, given a gun the

124 Combat Mission


next, and put in the front the day after? Or is the unit a highly
trained, physically fit, ready for just about anything? Your
battles can go from boring to intensely interesting simply by
tweaking some of these settings so that they match a story of
what the battle is about.
EXPERIENCE – determines the experience and training level of
the soldiers of the formation. Options include:
- Conscript: draftees with little training and no combat experi-
ence whatsoever.
- Green: draftees with little training and some combat experi-
ence or reservists with some training and no combat experience.
Green can also represent professional soldiers whose training
is substandard in comparison to another force.
- Regular: professional soldiers who went through extensive,
quality training programs, but lack combat experience. Or
Regular can represent troops that received mediocre training
that have a fair amount of combat experience.
- Veteran: professional soldiers with standard military training
and first hand combat experience. Alternatively, it can be pro-
fessional soldiers who have trained to a slightly higher standard
than Regulars, yet lack combat experience.
- Crack: exceptional soldiers with more than the average train-
ing and plenty of combat experience.
- Elite: the best of the best. Superb training, frequent combat
experience, and generally all around tough guys.
MOTIVATION – determines the soldiers’ will to fight. Options
range from Fanatic (soldier will never give up and fight even
when facing certain death) all the way to Poor (soldier has little
desire to fight and will take the first chance to rout).
FITNESS – determines the inherent degree of physical readiness
of the unit’s soldiers. This influences on how quickly soldiers
tire and recover from physical tasks, such as running or being
bombarded by enemy fire. Options include: Fit, Weakened, and
Unfit.
LEADERSHIP – the capability and experience of the unit leader
does not always correspond with the quality of the unit. This
rating allows a unit to range from great soldiers and terrible
leaders, or terrible soldiers and great leaders. The values are

Shock Force 125


from -2 to +2, indicating the leader’s influence on the unit
cohesion and various other capabilities.
SUPPLY – determines the amount of ammunition and equipment
available to the unit at the start of the game. Options include
Severe, Scarce, Limited, Adequate and Full.
EQUIPMENT – the quality of the equipment available to the unit
can vary even within a formation. This option is unique in that
it behaves differently depending on when you set it. If you set
this option for “activated” units (i.e. already purchased and in
the right-hand activated column), the available equipment is
simply adjusted in its performance (accuracy, jams etc.). If
you set this option BEFORE purchasing a unit, this setting de-
termines what type of weapon or equipment the unit will be
equipped with. This is explained in more detailed under “Pur-
chasing Equipment” below.
VEHICLE STATUS – changes a Vehicle to be immobilized, knocked
out, or burning from the very start of the game.

typical Setting
For all of the above settings except Vehicle Status, the option
“Typical” is also available. This choice randomly sets the value
to be a typical value for the selected formation. When you
select a Reserve unit you generally get different results (often
only conscripts and green units with low leadership values)
compared to a Typical Guards Unit (mostly Regulars and Vet-
erans with high Motivation). Typical is the default setting for all
options and is a good way for the scenario designer to get
some variety for his scenario without having to adjust each
and every unit individually.

Purchasing equipment
Most of the units in CM:SF have very specific equipment assigned
to them because, in real life, there isn’t significant variation to
speak of. However, some types of equipment are more vari-
able and therefore are assigned to units semi-randomly. This
section explains how you can exercise some control over CM
choices for those particular units.
BEFORE you purchase a formation you can change the Equipment
settings for either entire formations or for specific units. This
gives you some influence, more or less, over what CM picks for
the units that have variable equipment options (all others will
ignore your Equipment setting and go with their assigned equip-

126 Combat Mission


ment). By design your choice is still somewhat randomized so
as to ensure a greater variety of equipment is used instead of
the same few things being used time after time. Therefore,
instead of specifying a particular piece of equipment you gen-
erally influence what CM picks to equip the units with.
Sometimes, however, there are so few choices for a particular
unit type that you actually do have fairly precise control.
The Equipment’s top two picks (Excellent and Good) always choose
“good” equipment, the bottom two choices (Poor and Fair) only
choose “bad” equipment. The choice in the middle (Normal)
picks from either list randomly. The chance of selection varies
depending what is available for that unit. The fewer items in
the list, the more control you have. Also, the better the setting
the more likely it is to pick from the first type available, the
lower the setting the more likely the pick will come from the
last available.
One anomaly you’ll notice is that some of the choices really don’t
have anything to do with quality. A Stryker ICV with M2
machinegun is not inferior to a Stryker ICV with Mk19 grenade
launcher. In this case of tanks, however, there is a definite
quality difference between the different types of tanks.

For example, a SBCT Sniper Squad can be armed with either the M110
7.62 Sniper rifle or the M107 .50 Cal Sniper rifle. If you leave
Equipment at Normal CM will arm the two teams of the Squad
with either M110 or M107 rifles. If you set Equipment to the top
two choices one of the Teams will get an M110 and the other is
likely to get a M110. The bottom two choices select M107s for
both Teams. Neither weapon system is really “better” than the
other, but to be consistent the same qualitative labels are used.

To help guide Equipment selection, the following information shows


what equipment options exist for each type of unit with vari-
able equipment options:

SBCT Specific Units


Sniper Squad
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M110 ........................................ - M107
- Mix of both M110 and M107
Sniper Team
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M110 ........................................ - M107
Scout Team
GOOD
- M4s only

Shock Force 127


- M4s and M240 MMG
Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle
GOOD
- M1126 ICV with Mk19
- M1126 ICV with M2
Stryker Recon Vehicle
GOOD
- M1127 RV with Mk19
- M1127 RV with M2

HBCT Specific Units


Sniper Squad
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M110 ........................................ - M107
- Mix of both M110 and M107
Scout Team
GOOD
- M4s only
- M4s and M240 MMG
Scout Humvee
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M1114 with M2 ........................... - M1114 with M240
Abrams Tank
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M1A2 SEP .................................. - M1A2
- M1A1 SA ................................... - M1A1 HC
Abrams Tank (MOUT)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M1A2 SEP (TUSK) ....................... - M1A2 SEP
- M1A2 SA (TUSK) ......................... - M1A1 SA
.................................................. - M1A2
.................................................. - M1A1 HC
Bradley Fighting Vehicle
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- Bradley (any type) with ERA ......... - Bradley (any type) without ERA

US Artillery
Company Mortar Section
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M252 81mm Medium Mortar ......... - M224 60mm Light Mortar
Battalion Mortar Section
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- M120 120mm Heavy Mortar ......... - M252 81mm Medium Mortar

Syrian Tank Units


Republican Guards Tank
GOOD
- T-72M1V TURMS-T
- T-72M1V 2001
Regular Tank
GOOD ......................................... BAD

128 Combat Mission


- T-72M1V .................................... - T-72M1
- T-62MV ..................................... - T-72M (late)
- T-55MV
Reserve Tank
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- T-72M (early) ............................. - T-62 1975
- T-62M ....................................... - T-62 1972
.................................................. - T-55 1974
Static Tank
GOOD
- T-55 1970
- T-54B

Syrian AFV/IFV Units


Regular Mech Infantry (Command BMP-1)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- BMP-1PK with AT-4C .................... - BMP-1PK with AT-4A
Regular Mech Infantry (Normal BMP-1)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- BMP-1P with AT-4C ...................... - BMP-1P with AT-4A
Reserve Mech Infantry (Command BMP-1)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- BMP-1PK with AT-4A .................... - BMP-1K with AT-3
Reserve Mech Infantry (Normal BMP-1)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- BMP-1P with AT-4A ...................... - BMP-1 with AT-3
Regimental ATGM Platoon
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- BRDM-2 with AT-5 ....................... - BRDM-2 with AT-3

Syrian Anti-Tank Units


Special Forces Anti-Tank Platoon
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- AT-14 ........................................ - AT-13
Republican Guards Anti-Tank Platoon
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- AT-13 ........................................ - AT-4C
- AT-7
- AT-3D
Regular Anti-Tank Platoon
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- AT-4C ........................................ - AT-4A
- AT-3C ........................................ - AT-3B
Reserve Anti-Tank Platoon
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- AT-4C ........................................ - AT-4A
- AT-3C ........................................ - AT-3B
Reserve Anti-Tank Platoon (Infantry Branch)
GOOD ......................................... BAD
- AT-4A ........................................ - AT-3B
Uncon Fighter AT Team
GOOD

Shock Force 129


- RPG-29
- RPG-7V
Uncon Fighter ATGM Team
GOOD
- AT-3B
- AT-3D
- AT-4C
- AT-14

Reinforcements
Up to seven groups of units per side can be designated as Rein-
forcements from the Available Units list, irrespective of their
parent formation. This allows the scenario designer to have
units enter the battle at some later (more or less) random
point in time. The units of each Group enter the map at the
same time, but the entry location is set individually for each
unit using the Deploy function. Staggering units can help with
early game unit congestion, enhance the plot of the scenario,
or simply space things out for variety’s sake.
The first step is to assign units to one or more Groups by high-
lighting them in the Available Units column and pressing a key
on your keyboard from 1 to 7 (not on a NumPad!). This assigns
the unit(s) to the respective Reinforcement Group, and a small
[R] followed by the number of the assigned Group appears
next to its name. For example, [R1] means the unit is as-
signed to Reinforcement Group #1. To remove a unit from a
Group simply highlight it and press the 8 key and you’ll see the
designation go away.
Once you have at least one unit assigned to one Group you can
specify when it comes into the game. To do this click on the
Group you want in the list on the left side of the screen. For
each group, you can set the time of the earliest arrival, and
determine a random time span within which the arrival time
might deviate.

Earliest Arrival Time


Can be set from 5 minutes after the beginning of the battle up to
60 minutes after the beginning. This specifies the soonest a
Group comes into the battle.

Arrival Span
Can be set to be Exact (no deviation, i.e. the unit will always
arrive exactly on the time set above) or a value between 5 and
30 minutes in 5 minute intervals. Specifying a time deter-
mines a +/- range modification of Earliest Arrival Time.

130 Combat Mission


Note: be careful of what you do here since there is a chance for
significant unintended consequences. For example, if a 60 minute
battle has Earliest Arrival Time set to 30 minutes and the Arrival
Span to 30 minutes, the reinforcement group might arrive
anytime between one second after the beginning of the battle and
one second before its end. If you set Earliest Arrival Time to 60
minutes and the Arrival Span to 10 minutes, then the reinforce-
ment group might arrive 10 minutes before the end of the battle,
and there is a 50% chance that it will never arrive (because the
battle might end before the arrival time).

Deploy Units
This feature switches you from the 2D Unit Editor to the 3D pre-
view map so you can position the Available Units in the exact
spot, orientation, and stance you want. This applies to Rein-
forcements as well, no matter when they come into the game.
This allows you to do all sorts of things, such as putting units
into vehicles, deploying heavy weapons so they can fire imme-
diately, etc.
If you created Setup Zones they are shown on the map. A unit in
a Setup Zone can be moved freely within that particular Zone
during a game’s Setup phase. Units placed outside of a Setup
Zone can not be moved at by the player until after the game
starts.

Note: pay extra attention to where Reinforcements are place in order to


avoid unrealistic situations, such as units suddenly appearing in
the middle of a field or a spot that is likely to be occupied by the
other side. It might be a good idea to have Reinforcements
appear in a place out of sight of enemy troops in order to allow
the other player a chance to move them before getting shot at.

Deployment Commands
During Deployment mode a limited number of Commands are
available for each unit type, mainly related to administrative
tasks.

Shock Force 131


MOVE, FACE, HIDE, ACQUIRE, DISMOUNT, DEPLOY WEAPON, SPLIT
TEAM, ASSAULT TEAM, ANTITANK TEAM

Note: The Commands work the same way they do during a battle. See
the Commands section of the manual for more details.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Editor


Most game Artificial Intelligence (Computer Player) systems are
based on highly scripted, reactive behavior. The scenario de-
signers program very specific instructions for even the most
basic behavior, often to the point of “if the enemy moves here,
attack, otherwise don’t do anything”. The game play tends to
be quite predictable over time and potentially easy to fight
against because the designer has to correctly anticipate what
the player will do.
Other game AIs, including the one in the previous Combat Mis-
sion series, are dynamic AIs that act and react on the fly. Since
its behavior patterns are more generic, it is more flexible when
playing a specific mission/battle. Unfortunately, the same ge-
neric attributes preclude the Computer Player from taking
advantages peculiar to the battle being fought. The designer
can set up a perfect double pincer envelopment and watch the
AI decide to conduct a frontal assault instead.
CM:SF’s Computer Player is a sort of hybrid of scripted and dy-
namic systems. The scenario designer has the ability to
customize the higher level, and to some extent lower level,
behavior specific to the tactical considerations of the battle.
However, the AI can improvise, to some extent, within the
designer’s parameters. This greatly reduces predictability over
time, but more importantly it allows the AI to conform to the
story of the battle. If the battle’s story revolves around an
ambush or a convoy to move along a certain road, such crucial
elements can be coded into the scenario to make sure they
happen.
The scripting aspect of CM:SF is also critical for coaching the Com-
puter Player on how to win. For example, if the defending
Computer Player needs to defend a set of buildings inside a
city, the designer can specify which key spots should be manned
in order to ensure the success of a more abstract victory con-
dition. No matter how good a dynamic AI may be, practically

132 Combat Mission


speaking it will never equal the insight the designer has with-
out some very specific help. Therefore, think of the scripting
as the designer helping the AI understand what it needs to do,
where, and how.

AI Elements
There are four distinctly different concepts that create a decent
Computer Player.
Groups - a collection of units (up to 8 Groups per side)
Map Zones - areas of the map for Groups to focus on (up to 16
per Plan)
Orders - basic instruction sets for a Group (up to 16 per Plan)
Plans - overall coordination of Groups, Orders, and Zones (up to
5 Plans per side)
Units are assigned to Groups to concentrate on geographical Map
Zones using various Orders to direct their behavior. Plans
specify which Groups use what Map Zones with which Orders.
The Computer Player only ever uses one AI Plan for a scenario,
however it can use different Plans (if they exist) each time the
scenario is played.
Once a Computer Player’s Group reaches an Order’s Map Zone, it
begins to look at the next Order (and associated Map Zone) if
one exists. The computer player decides when to “move on” to
the next Order by looking at two time points set by the author,
and the condition of its troops.
These concepts are identical for both Blue and Red sides, how-
ever the elements can be used in different ways in order to
simulate the different behavior patterns, doctrinal approaches
to combat, etc. of each side’s simulated force. The importance
of each specific element varies from scenario to scenario, side
to side. However, generally a good Computer Player comes
from equal attention paid to all four elements.
A scenario can have a Computer Player for either or both Red and
Blue sides. However, if the designer did not specifically create
a Computer Player for a side the units for that side will simply
sit wherever they start out and do nothing. Therefore, the
scenario designer should make sure to mention in the briefing
that a scenario is supposed to be played from a specific side
only.

Shock Force 133


Groups
A Group is a collection of units (squads, teams, and vehicles)
assigned to perform tasks together. Each Group acts indepen-
dently of other Groups using Orders it receives from a Plan.
Because only there is only one Plan in use during a scenario
there is no risk of Groups getting contradictory instructions.
This means the designer must be quite sure of why various
units are in one Group and not another, because if there as-
signments aren’t sensible then the Orders are less likely to
produce desirable results.
All units are assigned to Group 1 unless specifically assigned to
Groups 2 through 8. To assign a unit to a Group simply go to
the Unit Editor’s Purchase Units option, select the unit or for-
mation by clicking on it, then use F2-F8 keys to set the Group
number to 2-8. Units assigned to Groups 2-8 have their Group
number appear to the right of their name as [A2] through [A8].
To reassign a unit to a different Group, simply repeat the pro-
cess with a different numbered F key. To have an assigned
unit return to Group 1, simply highlight it and hit F1.

Map Zone
Map Zones are “painted” on the map, much like a Setup Zone or
a victory Objective area. Each Order can have one, and only
one, Map Zone assigned to it. The shape and size can be as
regular or irregular, small or large, and you can even generate
separate discontinuous areas, but they are still considered part
of the same map zone. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily a
good idea to make huge, crazy shaped Map Zones, just that it
is possible. Generally the more “creative” the Map Zones are,
the less likely Groups will behave as desired. Therefore, it is
usually better to break up larger concepts into smaller pieces
and assign different Groups to each with their own Orders and
Map Zones.

Note: Orders do NOT have to have Map Zones assigned with them. If no
Map Zone is defined, the unit will simply remain stationary while
executing the other options of an order (change in stance, change
floors, dismount).

The composition of the Current Group should be kept firmly in


mind to make sure that the Map Zone isn’t too small or too big
for the number of units, the distance too great, the type of
terrain unfavorable, etc.

134 Combat Mission


It is very important to keep in mind that the Map Zone is the
desired END ZONE and NOT the path. The TacAI determines,
based on Plan’s Orders and tactical Commands, how to get
from one Map Zone to another. A Group will NOT follow a long
and skinny Map Zone; it will simply move all its units onto it
and stop before moving onto the next Order’s Map Zone. If
you want to influence the path a group of units takes, issue
several orders as you would waypoints.

Orders
Each Order consists of a single instruction for a specific Group to
follow. The specified Map Zone is the destination and the Or-
der represents the method to get there. This is an important
thing to fully grasp since doing the opposite, treating the Map
Zone as the start of the Order, will likely doom a Plan to failure.
There are a total of four pieces to each Order (not including
the Map Zone), except the first Setup Order, which only has
three (explained further below).

Order type
Dash – basically this is an “everyone run for the hills” option that
should be used very rarely. Make sure that the distances are
fairly short or the units are vehicle only, otherwise they will
likely exhaust themselves before reaching the specified Map
Zone. It is also wise to make sure the Group isn’t likely to fight
along the way since the units won’t be predisposed to doing
that. Use Dash for things like getting units to move quickly
from one major source of cover to another at maximum speed,
such as across a dangerously exposed road or field.
Quick – emphasizes speed over combat, but to a lesser extent
than dash. Units will attempt to get from A to B as quickly as
possible but not at all cost, and not at maximum speed. Units
may stop and return fire occasionally, but are generally un-
likely to do so. Quick is useful when covering medium distances
that you want to cross quickly but without completely tiring
out the units, and when enemy contact is unlikely but not im-
possible.
Advance – this is the “happy medium” between Dash and Max
Assault. This is generally the best Order to use when moving
from place to place and not specifically anticipating a big fight.
Units instructed to Advance decide what they should do, but
generally it is to keep moving after taking some shots at spot-
ted enemy units.

Shock Force 135


Assault – this order emphasizes combat over movement. Units
ordered to assault will generally interrupt their movement when
facing the opportunity to engage the enemy, but will not re-
main stationary for too long. This is the best order to use for
advancing while in contact with the enemy at medium to longer
distances.
Max Assault – the opposite of Dash, Max Assault tells the Group
to stop and engage with maximum firepower whenever each
unit sees an opportunity to do so. This is generally a poor
choice for getting a Group to stay on the move if a lot of enemy
is expected in the vicinity. It can also be a bad idea if the area
being moved over is a poor place to stop for a firefight. The
best use is for short moves where there is good cover and
enemy activity is expected.

Setup Orders
The very first order of each plan is a Setup Order. It works exactly
as other orders with one big exception: the Map Zone for the
Setup Order defines the area where units begin the game, not
where they need to move to. As such, the Map Zone is NOT the
End Zone as for all other regular orders. Therefore, Setup Or-
ders have no option for “Order Type” since the units do not
have to move anywhere.

Note: the AI does not break the rules. If you paint a Map Zone for a
Setup Order outside of a valid Red or Blue Setup Zone (as defined
in the Map Editor), the AI will never setup there. Therefore, make
sure that your Map Zone for Setup Orders for the AI plan matches
a valid Setup Zone in the Map Editor. To make this easier, Setup
Zones are always shown on the 2D map when you select a Setup
Order in the plan.

Occupy buildings
This option tells the unit which floor to occupy if it enters a build-
ing. If a unit is not inside a building, this option has no effect.

Stance
This option defines the basic behavior and combat posture of a
unit for a given Order.

Cautious – shoot only when a clear target presents itself and


don’t get too worked up when one does. This helps conserve
ammo and limits how much the Group makes its presence
known to the enemy.

136 Combat Mission


Active – shoot early and shoot often. This is generally the best
option when the Group is being tasked with assaulting a known
enemy position.
Ambush – instructs the units to only open fire if the enemy closes
within a specific distance. Several distance options are avail-
able, from 75m to 1000m.
Hide – just as it sounds! This instructs the Group to avoid doing
anything that might attract attention, such as moving or shoot-
ing. Units that get shot may return fire, but other units in the
Group will try to remain hidden.

Passenger status
This option tells infantry carrying vehicles and bunkers to Dis-
mount its passengers or keep them Mounted. Keep in mind
that this option is activated BEFORE the designated Map zone
is reached! If you want to dismount after reaching a map zone,
you will need to create one Order for getting there mounted,
and then a second order (with or without a Map Zone) to dis-
mount on location.

Note: There is no way to instruct the AI to Mount units once Dismounted


due to the complications of coordinating vehicles and infantry
(real life military units train for months to get this right!).
Practically speaking, it would be rare to see infantry units get into
and out of vehicles multiple times within the scope of a Combat
Mission battle, so it is less of limitation than it may initially appear
to be.

Plans
Plans are the glue that holds together Groups, Map Zones, and
Orders. They act as “scripts” for the AI to follow, but not in the
traditional FPS/RTS sense in which tactical behavior is tied to
trigger points, patrol routes, etc. Instead it is a set of behav-
ioral instructions just like in a real military formation. For
example, the “script” doesn’t say “Tank 231 goes from this
point to this point and then tries to shoot here”, rather it says
“Tank 231 will try to move through this area and shoot at any
threats it sees”. The actual tactical moves and decisions the
unit makes are left up to the TacAI, which means they are
context sensitive decisions.
When the player starts to play a scenario Combat Mission selects
one semi-randomly chosen Plan to be used for the duration of
the battle. This allows the Computer Player to be unpredict-

Shock Force 137


able each time a scenario is replayed, yet still follow specific
instructions made by the scenario designer. Or not! The Sce-
nario designer may choose to make only a single Plan for a
particular side, thereby guaranteeing that one Plan is always
the one used. The designer can also skew the chances a Plan
is selected, or not.
To create a Plan, and the component pieces, select one of the five
possible Plans from the list in the user interface to the left. The
first popup menu controls how likely the selected Plan is used
by CM. The second popup menu designates which Group is
considered the “Current Group”. When selected, existing Or-
ders assigned to that Group can be seen and manipulated,
new ones created. The third popup controls the Current Order
for the Current Group. The first of the 16 possible Orders is
always Setup. New orders can be added by clicking on the Add
button, existing orders can be deleted by clicking on Delete.

Note: Plans need to be tested by the designer in order to make sure


they work as expected. However, since CM randomly chooses a
Plan it is difficult for the designer to be sure of debugging a
specific Plan if there is more than one. To overcome this, simply
change the chance of the desired Plan happening to “Used
Frequently” and the others down to “Not Used”. Just remember to
change the values back to whatever it is you want before sending
the battle off to be played by others!

Exit Before / Exit After


The “Exit Before” option causes the Group to try very hard to get
to the next Order before the specified time is reached. This
does not mean the Group will do it, just that it will try. If it has
taken excessive casualties, is immobilized or heavily engaged
it may blow the set “Exit Before” time.
The “Exit After” option does the opposite by telling the Group to
stay at the current Map Zone until the specified time is reached.
With this setting a Group never moves on to the next Order
before the “Exit After” time is reached. These two options al-
low for some reasonable level of coordination between Groups.
You can increase the “jumps” for the above settings by holding
the SHIFT key while you click on the + or - buttons.

Note: all of a Plan’s Orders are saved into the scenario file even if there
are no Groups assigned to it. This allows the designer to move,
remove, redo, and otherwise manipulate units and Groups
without worrying about wiping out work done on a Plan prior to

138 Combat Mission


the changes. Obviously, if no Groups are assigned to an Order
none of the Order’s actions are carried out in the game, so there
isn’t any point of creating Orders that have no Groups, though
there is also no problem if unassigned Orders are left in the file
since the Computer Player simply ignores them.

Support Targets (Blue or Red)


The scenario designer can specify Support Targets for the Com-
puter Player’s artillery to use at the beginning of the scenario.
Such artillery strikes represent preplanned bombardments for
a side controlled by a Computer Player. If a Human player is in
control of a side the designer’s assigned Support Targets are
simply ignored.
When Support Targets are specified, all Artillery and Air Support
Assets allocated to that side’s force are considered available
for the AI to use. The only requirement is that a valid spotter
have line of sight (LOS) to the designated target(s) in order to
initiate the strike. All normal support rules apply such as C2
links, delay times, etc. Artillery and Air Support Assets not
used against the Support Targets are available for the AI to
use during the regular course of the battle.
Up to 20 independent Support Targets can be designated. Simply
select a target number and paint the zone to be fired at in the
2D map. Zones can be any size, contiguous or disjointed,
though practically speaking it is best to keep in mind the actual
amount of assets available. If one target zone covers half of
the map, but the side only has a battery of two measly 82mm
mortars available that are low on ammo, don’t expect an earth
shattering map-covering artillery strike. Instead, it is more likely
that the AI spotter will randomly pick one place out of the
entire zone and pound it until the mortars are empty. That’s
probably not a good thing for that side!
Each target can be assigned one of three possible missions. These
determine the intensity and duration of the strike:
Destroy – heavy intensity, long duration. Issue this type to cause
maximum damage. Available assets, ammo, and size of the
target area are especially critical here. A couple of 60mm
mortars aren’t going to level a city block, for example, but 4
batteries of 155mm Howitzers certainly can!
Damage – medium intensity, medium duration. Good for a quick,
devastating shock to a particular area. Good balance between
ammo conservation and damage.

Shock Force 139


Suppress – low intensity, short duration. This is best used for
harassing fire or to pin an enemy force down to allow friendly
on map units take advantage of the situation.
Preplanned strikes arrive at the beginning of a scenario, but not
always immediately in the first few seconds. Normal C2 delays
apply. Each target is attacked in order, and if multiple assets
are available, several targets can be attacked simultaneously.
Any support assets that are not used up for the pre-planned bom-
bardments are available for the AI Player to use dynamically
during the battle as long as it has what it needs to call in a
strike (e.g. proper spotter, adequate communications links,
etc.). In other words, the AI Player is bound by the same rules
as the Human Player, as explained in various sections of this
manual.

3D Preview
The 3D Preview previews the battle in 3D mode, which can be
useful for spotting possible issues with terrain, elevations, or
the overall look of the map. It is also good for getting a feel for
how to set up the AI’s Orders and Plans. Additionally, Preview
mode allows the direct manipulation and fine-tuning of certain
map aspects which cannot be accessed from the 2D Map Edi-
tor. This applies mainly to buildings and Flavor Objects.

Editing Buildings
In 2D mode you choose the basic building types and determine
their placement on the map. The actual look of the building is
determined randomly from a number of options specific to each
type of building. However, these automatically assigned at-
tributes can be overridden and customized if desired.
For each side and each floor of each building the texture, number
of doors, and number of windows can be set. If the wall is
exposed it can have a balcony of one sort or another. The type
of roof can be changed as well, which not only changes the
look of the building quite dramatically, but it also determines
how much cover there is for soldiers occupying the roof.
One of the more interesting, and powerful, features is the ability
to completely remove walls by toggling through the “window/
door layouts” until the wall disappears. This allows adjacent

140 Combat Mission


buildings to be combined into larger structures, such as a mas-
sive warehouse or L shaped house. Since individual walls on
individual floors can be removed, it is possible to have a build-
ing complex that is open on some levels and closed on others,
or 3 stories in one section and only 2 in another section. The
tactical possibilities created by this feature should not be over-
looked!
In general, each of the following clicks and key+click combina-
tions toggles through the available options for each building in
succession.

Single Wall
CTRL-CLICK on a side changes window/door layout for floor
CTRL-SHIFT-CLICK on a side adds balconies for that floor

Single Side
ALT-CTRL-CLICK on a side changes window/door layout
CTRL-SHIFT-CLICK on ground floor adds balconies

Entire Building
ALT-CLICK changes window/door frames for all four sides
SHIFT-CLICK changes the buildings texture for all four sides
CTRL-CLICK on roof changes shape/type of roof

Editing Flavor Objects


The placement and rotation of Flavor Objects can be finetuned in
3D Preview mode. After placing a Flavor Object in regular 2D
mode in the general area where you would like to have it, you
can now “nudge” it into position and also rotate it to achieve
realistic placement.
This is done through a combination of keys and mouse clicks, as
follows:
LEFT CLICK - rotate object
SHIFT+LEFT CLICK:
- nudge object in the direction the camera is facing
CTRL+LEFT CLICK - delete object

Shock Force 141


Baking Scenarios
The scenario designer can save his scenario file in a special for-
mat (.btb) that enables units to have pre-assigned Commands,
which normally is not possible to do. This feature allows a
battle to start up right in middle of a firefight, for example, or
to have a column of vehicles begin the scenario already in
motion. Thus the commands are “baked” into the file itself.
It is very important to note that Baked scenarios use a special file
format that can not be edited again. Therefore, it is advisable
to bake a scenario only after all edits are complete and to
always keep an “un-baked” (normal) version so you can make
changes to it later if need be. It’s a good idea to give the un-
baked version a different filename to avoid possible confusion
since file extensions are not always shown in Windows.
To Bake a file go to the Editor, then select “Bake” from the Editor
menu to select the scenario file to Bake. After a valid file is
selected CM automatically switches the Editor to Bake Mode,
which is similar to the 3D Preview mode. Unlike the normal 3D
Preview, Bake Mode shows both sides’ forces at the same time
and activates the Command menus. These are the same menus
available during Setup Phase when playing a scenario (except
that here you can do it for both sides simultaneously). Com-
mands issued in Bake Mode are executed immediately at the
start of the game.
After issuing all commands the Baked file must be saved to disk
or the commands will be lost. Changes are saved in the same
way that you would create a save game in a regular scenario –
call up the game Menu by clicking on the Menu button in the
Command panel and choose Save. When saved the file auto-
matically appears in the “Baked” directory in Game Files folder.
Hit the ESC key to leave Bake Mode and return to the Editor.
Baked scenarios can be extra fun and exiting when the player
starts out a battle in the thick of things, such as a prepared
ambush or moving in a convoy. Baked scenarios are also use-
ful if you want to prevent other people from editing your scenario
(e.g. for tournaments or simply to protect your own work).
The disadvantage of Baked scenarios is that they cannot be
edited and can not be used as part of a campaign.

142 Combat Mission


Making Campaigns
New Campaigns for Combat Mission are technically quite easy to
make, however since they require many custom made battles
it can be somewhat time consuming to put together because
each battle takes a fair amount of effort to make.
A Campaign is a semi-dynamic string of individual battles linked
together. Each battle for a Campaign is just like every other
scenario made in the Editor, save one major feature; a com-
mon pool of units imported from a central “core units” file.
This allows Combat Mission to track individual units from battle
to battle, which in turn allows the results of a previous battle
to have a direct effect on those that come later.
At the heart of a Campaign are two sorts of battles; primary and
branches. Primary battles are those that represent the opti-
mal path from start to finish. If a player wins each battle these
are the only ones that are played. Branches are those battles
that the player is diverted to after failing to win the previous
battle. There is a great deal of flexibility as to how these fea-
tures are used, enabling campaign designers to customize the
structure of a Campaign to conform to a particular “plot”. In
fact, the campaign doesn’t have to branch at all if that is what
the designer wishes to do.

Note: in theory you can create loops in the branching structure, by


directing the player to a scenario he played previously, e.g. after
a loss. While this is possible, please keep in mind that any
damages and changes to the map from the previous fight are not
saved. This means destroyed buildings from the first time through
are magically rebuilt, craters filled in, burning vehicles removed,
etc. Therefore it might be a good idea to avoid such loops for the
most part.

It is possible to have units tracked from battle to battle on both


sides. However, this is not recommended in general since it
means the same two forces face each other battle after battle.
That’s not very interesting! Plus, with the high casualty rate
for the Syrian side, it is unlikely that a significant portion of the
Core Units would survive more than a few battles. Still, it’s a
feature and players are welcome to experiment with it if they
want.

Shock Force 143


It is also possible to have a Campaign played from the Red player’s
perspective. Again, there is a problem with high casualty rates,
even for good troops, and the lack of realism since it is likely
that once engaged a Syrian unit would be hit where it was until
destroyed. In other words, Blue forces make excellent sub-
jects for a realistic Campaign, Red forces much less so. Again,
the tool is there to be used as the player sees fit. There is no
rule that says a Campaign has to be realistic, after all!

Core Units File


This is a scenario file, just like any other, that does nothing more
than provide a common pool of units to draw from and certain
elements needed to present the Campaign to the player. It’s
as simple as purchasing some units and setting up the mission
information (briefings, title, etc.). Combat Mission ignores
everything else so don’t worry about the map, unit placement,
etc.
Battles within a Campaign can use units that are not in the Core
Units File, therefore it is only important to put units in here
that are central to the story. For example, if the Campaign
revolves around a single Rifle Company and a Tank Platoon,
you don’t need to put in an Engineer Platoon or a Scout Pla-
toon that are only used once. Such auxiliary units which don’t
make an appearance in more than one battle can be added
into any scenario normally using the Unit Editor as one would
for a stand alone battle.
One very important thing to keep in mind is how CM tracks units
from battle to battle. When a formation is put into the Acti-
vated Units column of the Unit Editor (i.e. purchased) unique
identification numbers are assigned to all the units within it.
This allows CM to know that Tank 1234 in Battle #1 is the
same Tank 1234 in Battle #2. After a units appear in the
Activated Units column it can be manipulated, such as having
a unit’s Experience changed or deleting a formation so it isn’t
available, just like in a normal scenario. These changes can be
undone or redone as often as desired. However, these changes
are not automatically incorporated into existing battles for the
Campaign. To have such changes registered each existing sce-
nario file must be “synchronized” with the Core Units File in
order to bring those changes into existing battles (see below).

144 Combat Mission


Scenarios (Battles)
There is nothing inherently different between scenarios made for
a Campaign and those made for stand alone use. Maps, AIs,
Mission Parameters, etc. all have to be created just like any
other stand alone battle. The only significant difference is that
some (or all) of the units from one (or both) sides can be
imported into a scenario so that they carry through from battle
to battle. Also, it isn’t necessary to make the small 170x170
picture that represents the scenario in the Battle selection dia-
log because it is ignored.
Importing units is quite easy. Create a new scenario in the Editor,
choose the Units Editor, and then select the “Import Campaign
Units” option. An open dialog appears so the Core Units File
can be located and selected. Once confirmed all the units in
the Core Units File are imported into the current scenario file.
The next step is to whittle down the Core Units to those needed
for the current battle only. Often this is a small subset of the
total units found in the Core Units File. Select the Purchase
Units option and look in the Activated Units column. All Core
Units are there with a notation that they are, indeed, Core
Units. To remove unwanted units simply do what is done for
any other scenario; select the unit, or formation, and select
the Delete button in the lower left corner. This toggles the unit
“off” so it won’t appear in the battle at all. It can be toggled
back “on” at any time, like a normal scenario, by repeating
these steps. Additional, non-core, units can be purchases at
any time as in any other scenario.
From time to time changes may be made to the Core Units File
that require synchronization with existing Campaign battles.
This is generally an extremely easy and painless thing to do.
Just open up the scenario file and Import Campaign Units again.
Core Units already in the scenario retain almost all of their
customization, such as placement, Group assignments, Orders,
etc. Therefore, synchronizing with the Core Units File does not
wipe out hard work! What it does do is remove units no longer
in the Core Units File, imports newly added units, and updates
attributes (such as names, experience, etc.). The latter is
probably the only potential drawback of synchronizing since
customized settings like that must be redone.

Note: any formations completely removed from the Activated Troops list
in the scenario will reappear and must be deleted again (if that is

Shock Force 145


still desired). This is to make sure deleted formations can be
brought back in if the designer changes his mind after removing
them. It’s very important to know this since reintroduced
formations appear in default positions in the 3D environment
automatically, which can create a rather interesting game
experience until it is fixed in the Editor.

Campaign Script File


A group of completed scenarios are just that until you use the
Compile Campaign feature. In order to do that, though, a
Campaign Script File must exist. This is a TXT file which Com-
bat Mission uses to understand which battles are fought when,
what the conditions are for going to the next one, and how
much the units should be refreshed between battles.
The script is quite simple. The first part is the Campaign Header
to help CM set up the Campaign as a whole. The first variable
specifies which side the Campaign is played from (Blue or Red),
if a Human Opponent is allowed (No or Yes), the text shown to
the Blue player after the last battle (Victory and Defeat), and
the text shown to the Red player after the last battle (Victory
and Defeat).
What follows are a variable number of Battle Entries, one for each
Battle in the Campaign. Within the first section of the Battle
Entry is the scenario file name, the minimum victory level
needed to win, the scenario file name to go to after a win
(blank signals end of Campaign), and the scenario file name to
go to after a loss (blank signals end of Campaign). The next
section in the Battle Entry percentage chance an individual
unit has of being completely replaced if lost, repaired if dam-
aged (vehicle only), topped off with full ammo, and brought
back to a fully rested sate. If the Campaign contains no Core
Units for a particular side, there is no need to fill in that side’s
variables.

Note: the very beginning of a Campaign starts out with a special one
time Campaign Briefing. This is identical to a normal battle’s
briefing, complete with Operational Order (OPORD) and maps.
CM looks for this information in the Core Units File, which should
be loaded when the Campaign is compiled (see next section).

Here is a sample of a two battle Campaign Script with dummy


values inserted:

146 Combat Mission


/*
Note the characters before and after this text. They allow designer to put in comments,
or notes, such as why something was done a certain way. Anything between these
characters is ignored by Combat Mission. Otherwise an error will occur when the
Campaign is compiled.
*/

// Alternatively two back slashes can be entered to create a comment. There’s no


functional difference between this method and the previous mentioned method.

/* Campaign Header*/
[PLAYER FORCE] blue // options are: blue/red
[HUMAN OPPONENT ALLOWED] no // no/yes

[BLUE VICTORY TEXT] You won!


[BLUE DEFEAT TEXT] You lost!

[RED VICTORY TEXT] You won!


[RED DEFEAT TEXT] You lost!

/*Battle #1*/
[BATTLE NAME] My First Little Battle // note, do not include “.btt”, just the
file name
[WIN THRESHOLD] tactical victory // total defeat, major defeat, tactical
defeat, minor defeat, draw, minor vic-
tory, tactical victory, major victory, to-
tal victory
[NEXT BATTLE IF WIN] My Second Little Battle
[NEXT BATTLE IF LOSE] // a blank signals an end of the cam-
paign

[BLUE REFIT %] 20 //always express this a number be-


tween 0 and 100
[BLUE REPAIR VEHICLE %] 40
[BLUE RESUPPLY %] 70
[BLUE REST %] 80

[RED REFIT %] 10
[RED REPAIR VEHICLE %] 10
[RED RESUPPLY %] 50
[RED REST %] 60

/*Battle #2*/
[BATTLE NAME] My Second Little Battle
[WIN THRESHOLD] minor defeat
[NEXT BATTLE IF WIN] // end campaign
[NEXT BATTLE IF LOSE] // end campaign

[BLUE REFIT %] 20
[BLUE REPAIR VEHICLE %] 40
[BLUE RESUPPLY %] 70
[BLUE REST %] 80

[RED REFIT %] 10
[RED REPAIR VEHICLE %] 10
[RED RESUPPLY %] 50
[RED REST %] 60

Shock Force 147


Compiling a Campaign
Unlike some games, a Combat Mission Campaign consists of a
single file (with the extension .CAM) that contains all the infor-
mation the game needs to play a Campaign from start to finish.
The single file format ensures that it can be transported from
person to person without missing pieces. It also ensures that
players can’t cheat by opening up individual battles in the Edi-
tor to peek or alter elements to make it easier to win. This
means the person making the Campaign must keep the indi-
vidual battles or forever lose the ability to make changes to
the Campaign.
Compiling a Campaign is technically quite easy, however mistakes
made in the Script File are easy to make and that probably
means a couple of failed attempts are likely. Not to worry,
though, since Combat Mission gives useful feedback about what
the mistake is that is preventing a compile from happening.
Before starting, put all the files for the Campaign into a single
directory. The Core Units File doesn’t have to be in the same
directory, though it does help keep things tidy. Once this is
done, do the following things in this order:
1. Enter the Editor
2. Load the Core Units File
3. Click on the Editor selection popup menu and choose “Make
Campaign”, which is the last option
4. A dialog comes up that gives some reminders of what is about
to happen.
5. When you click on Make Campaign an Open Dialog comes up
and asks for the Campaign Script File
6. Select the Campaign Script File and click “Open”.
7. If the Script File contains no errors a new file, with the .CAM,
extension appears in the Campaigns directory. The file name
is taken from the currently open scenario, which should be the
Core Units File.

Note: if there are errors a dialog pops up and says what the problem is.
Simply make the correction needed and repeat the steps above.
Since CM stops and reports the very first error it detects, each
error requires a fix and another compile attempt.

148 Combat Mission


Once a Campaign is successfully compiled it must be located in
the Campaign directory, in the Game Files folder, in order for
Combat Mission to offer it as a choice in the Campaign option
within the game. Campaign files received from other people
also need to go into the Campaign directory in order to be
available for play. The size of a Campaign file is directly re-
lated to the size of the combined scenario files that are compiled.
Therefore, Campaigns tend to be several megabytes in size.

Creating Quick Battle Maps


Any regular scenario can be turned into a Quick Battle Map. In
order to be picked for a Quick Battle, the .btt file needs to be
placed in the Quick Battle Maps folder in the game directory.
Theoretically you can simply copy an existing scenario into
that folder and see what happens. Unused settings or features
(such as any units on the map) are simply ignored. Practically
there are a number of additional points to consider when copy-
ing maps or when creating them from scratch.

Setup Zones
Quick Battle Maps MUST have valid Setup Zones for Red and Blue
sides. Without valid Setup Zones units of both sides will prob-
ably end up right on top of each other. Not fun!

AI Plans
Quick Battle Maps MUST have an AI plan for BOTH sides. You can
use more than one plan and you can use as many groups in
each plan as you like. The AI player will randomly assign units
into groups.

Note: Since nobody knows which units will be taking part in a given
Quick Battle it makes sense to create AI plans in a much more
generic way than for regular scenarios.

Victory conditions
Only terrain objectives are considered for determining victory con-
ditions in a QB. All other objective types and parameters are
ignored. All terrain objectives are converted to OCCUPY objec-
tives automatically. The code automatically adds an
enemy-casualty threshold victory goal for each side is added

Shock Force 149


automatically, which is lowest for meeting engagements, and
highest for assaults.

Red and Blue


Sides are interchangeable in QBs. A Red Attack scenario can be
picked for a Blue attack QB, and the game will automatically
switch sides for the players.

Units on the map


Any units placed on a QB map are simply ignored and deleted,
and will not appear in the QB.

Terrain
The type of terrain you set for a map determines when it will be
available for a QB. If a player wants to play a city map QB, only
maps defined as city maps will be available for him.

Battle Type
Probe, Attack and Assault maps are selected for either of these
options is selected for a QB. Meeting Engagement maps are
only selected when the player chooses to play a Meeting En-
gagement scenario.

Mods
Two new Mod Tools (RezExplode and RezPack) are included in the
Mod Tools directory. Both programs work with ".brz" files, which
are "packed" data files containing the individual sounds and
graphics used by Combat Mission. For simplicity we'll refer to
the contents of a ".brz" file - the sounds and graphics - as
"resources". These contents are not normally visible, but can
be extracted using RezExplode.
RezExplode takes a ".brz" file and "explodes" it into its individual
resources (like ".wav" files for sounds and ".bmp" for graph-
ics). These individual resources can then be edited or replaced
by you.
RezPack takes the resources that you have modded, and "packs"
them back into a single ".brz" file. This is not only convenient,
but allows users to (de)activate a "mod pack" easily by moving
a single ".brz" file into or out of the CMSF "Data" folder.

150 Combat Mission


In the main Combat Mission Shock Force folder is a folder called
"Data". Here is where all the sounds and graphics for the
game are stored. You'll see files with names like "Version
100.brz", "Version 101.brz" and possibly others. To mod CMSF,
you'll use RezExplode to access the contents (resources) of
the ".brz" files that ship with the game (like "Version 100.brz"),
then edit the ones you want, and then use RezPack to recom-
bine your modded versions of the sounds and graphics into a
new ".brz" file that you will name.

Loading order
When Combat Mission starts up, it loads all the .brz files it finds in
the Data folder. However, it's possible that a given sound or
graphic (say, "tank texture.bmp") might be contained in more
than one .brz file, and the two files might be different despite
having the same name.
Combat Mission has a method to ensure that the "latest" version
of a sound or graphic is always the one used by the game: the
.brz file name that is LATER in alphabetical order is given prior-
ity. For example, if "tank texture.jpg" is contained in both "A.brz"
and "B.brz", the version contained in "B.brz" will be used, and
the one inside "A.brz" will be ignored. Similarly, "Version
101.brz" takes priority over "Version 100.brz" because it comes
later alphabetically.
As you explode the .brz files that come with the game, you'll
notice some duplicates of various texture graphics and such.
The reverse-alphabetical loading order allows later-version .brz
files to take priority over the earlier ones. This is important
because you want to make sure that your mods get priority
over the sounds and graphics that ship with the game. See
below for details.

Rezexplode
To access the contents of a .brz file, COPY it into the "input" folder
inside the RezExplode folder. Now run RezExplode by double-
clicking it.
There is no user interface. Just wait a few moments until an
"exploded" folder appears. Inside there you'll find the con-
tents of the .brz file you just exploded. The files inside the
"exploded" folder are the ones you'll want to consider modding,
and later repacking using RezPack.

Shock Force 151


Repack
When you've finished modding the sounds or graphics you want,
you can package them back up as a new .brz file. Copy your
modded files into the "input" folder inside the RezPack folder.
It's OK to copy nested folders here - RezPack will dig down into
the folder hierarchy to find all your modded files.
Run RezPack. There is no user interface. Wait a few moments
until a "packed.brz" file appears. You should rename this file
as you wish. It is ready to be moved into Combat Mission's
"Data" folder (see section below for details).
RezPack also creates a file called "log.txt" or "log error.txt". In-
side this file you'll see some useful information. If the file is
called "log error.txt" it means that you accidentally packed two
or more resource files with the same name (inside different
nested folders) and the log file will list these "conflicts" at the
top of the file. You will likely want to remove all but one of the
conflicting files and run RezPack again. Also contained in the
log.txt file is a list of all the resource files you packed, and the
nested folder hierarchy (if any) they came from.

Mods in Action
Now that you've created your mods as .brz file(s), it's time to see
them work inside Combat Mission. Here is the easiest way to
be sure that your mod files get loading priority over the files
that ship standard with Combat Mission.
First, note that any enclosing folder names are included with file
names in the alphabetical priority comparison for loading. Now
go inside the Data folder and create a new folder called "Z".
Because "Z" comes after the names of the standard game files
("Version XXX") you are guaranteed that any mods you put
into the "Z" folder will be loaded and used by Combat Mission.
Second, note that among the .brz mod files you create and put
into this "Z" folder, the alphabetical rule still applies within that
folder. So if you have "MyMod1.brz" and "MyMod2.brz" files
both inside the "Z" folder, data from "MyMod2.brz" will take
priority over "MyMod1.brz" for any duplicate contents.
You may also place single *non-brz* files into the Data folder (like
individual WAV or BMP files). Combat Mission can recognize
individual BMP or WAV files even when not packed into a BRZ
file. This is not recommended when creating a "mod pack" for

152 Combat Mission


use by others because dozens or hundreds of individual files
are difficult to manage, but it can be useful while you are cre-
ating your mod, and want to test out small edits. Individual
files are given loading priority over ALL .brz files regardless of
how they are named.

Important
Don't remove the "Version XXX.brz" files from the Data folder.
The loading-priority system will ensure that your mods are
used when present.
Don't monkey with the contents of Combat Mission's Data folder
while Combat Mission is running. To get a "clean" reload of
mods, quit Combat Mission, move the .brz files around as you
wish, then restart Combat Mission.
Mods you create and pack as .brz files do NOT have to replace (or
include) all the contents of whatever .brz files you originally
"exploded". You should RezPack ONLY the resources you
modded, and Combat Mission will locate the others in their
original .brz files.

Shock Force 153


Tips for using the Editor
The Editor included with CM:SF represent extremely powerful tools,
which you rarely see included in other games, that allow play-
ers to extend their enjoyment of the game almost indefinitely.
While the basic concept of how the Editor works is easy to
understand, the difference between making a good scenario
and a great one requires some experience.
This section of the manual presents a number of tips collected
from the team that created the stock maps and scenarios. These
tips should help get you up to speed quickly... or if you are
already an experienced map maker, simply provide a few fresh
ideas.

Getting to know the terrain


To make a map that fits in with the character of the CM:SF setting
it is quite helpful to know a little bit about the topography,
vegetation, climate, etc. of Syria. The following is a nearly
verbatim reproduction of the Wikipedia article “Geography of
Syria”:
The area includes about 185,180 square kilometers of deserts,
plains, and mountains. It is divided into a coastal zone—with a
narrow, double mountain belt enclosing a depression in the
west— and a much larger eastern plateau. The climate is pre-
dominantly dry. Along the Mediterranean, a narrow coastal
plain stretches south from the Turkish border to Lebanon.
The Jabal an Nusayriyah mountains, a range paralleling the coastal
plain, has an average elevation of just over 1,212 meters. The
western slopes catch moisture-laden western sea winds and
are thus more fertile and more heavily populated than the east-
ern slopes, which receive only hot, dry winds blowing across
the desert. Before reaching the Lebanese border and the Anti-
Lebanon Mountains, the Jabal an Nusayriyah range terminates,
leaving a corridor—the Homs Gap—through which run the high-
way and railroad from Homs to the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
For centuries the Homs Gap has been a favorite trade and
invasion route from the coast to the country’s interior and to
other parts of Asia. Eastward, the line of the Jabal an Nusayriyah
is separated from the Jabal az Zawiyah range and the plateau

154 Combat Mission


region by the Al Ghab depression, a fertile, irrigated trench
crossed by the meandering Orontes River.
Inland and farther south, the Anti-Lebanon Mountains rise to peaks
of over 2,700 meters on the Syrian-Lebanese frontier and
spread in spurs eastward toward the plateau region. The east-
ern slopes have little rainfall and vegetation and merge
eventually with the desert.
In the southwest the Hawran Plateau—frequently referred to as
the Hawran— receives rain-bearing winds from the Mediterra-
nean. Volcanic cones, some of which reach over 900 meters,
intersperse the open, rolling, once-fertile Hawran Plateau south
of Damascus and east of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. South-
west of the Hawran lies the high volcanic region of the Jabal
Druze range (renamed Jabal al Arab), home of the country’s
Druze population.

Eastern plateau
The entire eastern plateau region is intersected by a low chain of
mountains, the Jabal ar Ruwaq, the Jabal Abu Rujmayn, and
the Jabal Bishri, extending northeastward from the Jabal Al
Arab to the Euphrates River. South of these mountains lies a
barren desert region known as the Hamad. North of the Jabal
ar Ruwaq and east of the city of Homs is another barren area
known as the Homs Desert, which has a hard-packed dirt sur-
face.
Northeast of the Euphrates River, which originates in the moun-
tains of Turkey and flows diagonally across Syria into Iraq, is
the fertile Jazirah region that is watered by the tributaries of
the Euphrates. The area provides substantial cereal and cotton
crops while oil and natural gas production can be found in the
extreme northeastern portion of the Jazirah.

Water
The longest and most important river is the Euphrates, which rep-
resents more than 80 percent of Syria’s water resources. Its
main left-bank tributaries, the Balikh and the Khabur, are both
major rivers and also rise in Turkey. The right-bank tributaries
of the Euphrates, however, are small seasonal streams called
wadis. Throughout the arid plateau region east of Damascus,
oases, streams, and a few interior rivers that empty into swamps
and small lakes provide water for local irrigation.

Shock Force 155


Climate
The most striking feature of the climate is the contrast of sea and
desert. Between the humid Mediterranean coast and the arid
desert regions lies a semiarid steppe zone extending across
three-fourths of the country. In the northern coastal area, by
the Turkish mountain region, rainfall is fairly abundant. Most
of the rain falls between November and May with an annual
mean temperature range from 7.2° C in January to 26.6° C in
August. Farther south, rain-bearing clouds from the Mediter-
ranean reach the area of Homs and, sometimes, the steppe
region east of that city. Still farther to the south, however, the
Anti-Lebanon Mountains bar the rains from the Mediterranean.
This area, which includes the capital city of Damascus, is part
of the semiarid climatic zone of the steppe, with precipitation
averaging less than 20 centimeters a year and experiences
temperatures from 4.4° C in January to 37.7° C in July and
August. The vicinity of the capital is, nevertheless, cultivable
because of irrigation from the Barada River by aqueducts built
during Roman times.
In the southeast, the humidity decreases and annual precipitation
falls below 10 centimeters. The scant rainfall is highly variable
from year to year, causing periodic droughts. In the barren
stony desert south temperatures in July often exceed 43.3° C
and sandstorms are common during February and May. North
of the desert ranges and east of the Al Ghab depression lie the
vast steppes of the plateau, where cloudless skies and high
daytime temperatures prevail during the summer. In contrast,
severe frosts are common from November to March. Precipita-
tion averages 25 centimeters a year but falls below 20
centimeters in a large belt along the southern desert area. In
this belt, only the Euphrates and Khabur rivers provide suffi-
cient water for settlement and cultivation.

Note: This article contains material from the Library of Congress Country
Studies, which are United States government publications in the
public domain. This article contains material from the CIA World
Factbook which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public
domain.

Realistic maps
The highly detailed environment simulated in CM:SF is only as
good as the terrain played on. An eye for detail, and a bit of
creativity, can make all the difference between a boring en-

156 Combat Mission


gagement and an exciting battle. Of course it’s easy to simply
put a few map features here and there and use a large brush
to “mass-paint” some underlying ground types, but the result
will most likely feel empty and unrealistic. To avoid this, our
testers have come up with a bunch of hints to help ensure that
your maps look and play like real terrain.
1. Do your homework! Taking a little bit of time to research the
area you’re simulating can make the process go a lot easier
and the end product much better than it otherwise would have
been. If you have topographic maps of the area that’s perfect,
but even a quick look on Google Earth (and other similar tools
freely available online) is a great help to familiarize yourself
with the surrounding terrain, the lay of the land, the size and
structure of settlements, roadnets and so forth. Even if you do
not plan to base your map on any particular real world location
a look at areas with the general type of climate and topogra-
phy can lead to some great ideas, and help improve your
mapmaking skills a great deal.
Try to get an idea of the terrain you want to depict and see how
the people living there use it (if at all). This conceptual walk
through before you start making your map can generate count-
less ideas about basic topography, where to place man made
objects, which terrain types are found near each other, etc.
Ask yourself, “is that big grassy field there farmland or unat-
tended pasture?” If it is farmland, perhaps there is a shack to
store farm equipment nearby and a dirt road connecting it to a
larger road. Or if it is just unattended land, is there a hard
man made divider (like a wall or road) between it and some-
thing that is actively used by people? If you decide there is a
small village near by, remind yourself that the people living
there need to shop, work, relax, etc. Ask yourself what type of
village is this, rural or a more dense town? How do people get
from here to there? There are countless questions to ask your-
self and at least as many answers. Few geographic areas in
the world are completely untouched by Humans, as even the
most remote locations usually serve one purpose or another.
Trying to figure out what an area is like before making your
map is a big help towards creating a realistic environment.
2. Don’t get lazy! Just because you put down a bunch of elevation
contour lines, nicely spaced out terrain features, and a nice
little village… don’t assume every bit of it is exactly as you
expect it to be in the 3D environment. Instead, assume the
opposite since you’re bound to make some mistakes or be sur-

Shock Force 157


prised how Combat Mission handles a particular request of
yours. Doublecheck your topography (elevation, hills, ravines,
roads) in 3D preview mode to make sure that it makes sense.
Roads in real life rarely lead up steep slopes or cliffs and tend
to be relatively flat (paved roads are usually perfectly flat) so
that vehicles can actually travel on them. Make sure yours are
the same. Nature is less symmetric and predictable, so make
sure your hills are rarely have irregular shapes and that ra-
vines don’t travel perfectly straight for too long at a stretch.
Settlements tend to be built on fairly even ground or, at most,
on a gently sloping hillside. Farmland and fields tend to be
located on flat terrain to allow for easier harvesting. If you feel
an are is too open, don’t hesitate to put in some terrain undu-
lations. The “Adjust” tool is perfect for this, as with a few clicks
(a few with the Shift key press which cases the adjustment to
be negative) you can create some variation in elevation height.
But don’t be afraid to go extreme sometimes – a steep differ-
ence in tile elevation of several levels creates the impression of
large stones or boulders for example. In short, use the 3D
preview option extensively, and from view levels 1 or 2 to get
a good idea of the land and spot any problematic areas early.
3. Don’t be boring! If you make a large grass field, don’t just use
the big brush and paint the same grass type across half of the
map. The editor gives you dozens of different terrain combina-
tions to work with – use them! A simple grass field can still
have different types of grass (yellow, tall, short, green), differ-
ent types of soil, perhaps some brush, a smattering of trees,
or a stretch of bare dirt. The same is true when creating a
desert environment. Even a sand desert does not contain sand
alone. Sprinkle some regular dirt or rocky tiles here and there.
The subtle variation creates a much more natural look, as well
as an interesting one. Moreover, when adding things like
trenches and vegetation, keep in mind that these types of ter-
rain are rarely found in sand, so pick some sort of dirt terrain
for them to go with. If you do create large stretches of sand
terrain, use elevations to create some sand dunes and avoid a
billiard table look for your map. Variety is key to creating a
natural looking and interesting environments to battle in.
4. Urban areas need a plan! Making a town or village is much
more than simply plunking down a few buildings. CM:SF gives
you the ability to customize each building by choosing differ-
ent textures, layouts, building details, roofs, and balconies.
Think for a second about what a building is supposed to be – a

158 Combat Mission


hotel, hospital, government building, what? If it is a hotel, it
should probably have a lot of balconies and not be adjacent to
other tall buildings. Perhaps you want a building with a large
footprint but not much in the way of height, so what would
that building likely be? A hospital might work, and perhaps it
was built over many years by adding addition after addition.
So don’t make it too uniform looking. Or maybe it is a ware-
house complex, in which case the buildings should be very
uniform in shape and have few interior walls.
5. Where there are people, there is clutter! You can populate a
street with roadsigns, streetlights, traffic lights and many other
“flavor objects” which are found in every city of the world.
Take the time to properly position them. A flavor object par-
tially sticking through a wall might not cause the game any
problems, but trust us… it detracts from the player’s emersion
in the battle, which is never a good thing. Keep in mind that
street lights are usually placed in a spot to provide light for
cars or pedestrians. They should point in useful directions and
tend to be grouped around intersections. If you place junk
objects, keep in mind that people tend leave such things in
areas that they don’t move through or live in. On the other
hand, things like storage boxes or sacks would rarely be left
out in the open where they could be damaged by weather or
stolen. Instead they should be in storage areas, warehouses,
or other controlled environments. Since you know what the
function is of the buildings you’ve put down (right?), you should
know exactly where these things should or shouldn’t be.
6. It’s all in the details! Take the time to get the little details right
and you’ll be rewarded with an environment which is as fun to
play in as the battle itself.

Tactical considerations
Realistic looking terrain alone does not necessarily make for an
interesting battle. Terrain details that present the player with
intriguing tactical challenges is crucial. This should be kept in
mind when creating maps since even small features can have
a big impact on how a scenario plays out. There is plenty of
room for creativity even when recreating a real place, but there
is obviously far more freedom when creating a fictional map
from scratch. Through clever placement of hills, ravines, for-
ests, impassable terrain such as marshes, towns and other
terrain features you can purposefully determine the best places
to advance, ambush, snipe, etc. These decisions, in turn,

Shock Force 159


present the players on both sides with tactical problems to
solve.
What you have to do is imagine how each player sees the map
from his perspective given the mission you intend to give each
side. Generally players should have at least two options to
choose from and still wind up winning. Leaving no choice makes
the player feel like he’s following a script, and that isn’t very
fun.
On the other hand, on some maps you may want to restrict cer-
tain options and/or throw some additional obstacles into the
path of the player. Impassable terrain can make the direct ap-
proach to an objective difficult or even impossible. This forces
the player to adapt and look for alternatives.
For a largely open map, with little to break up line of sight, you
can add subtle elevation changes and undulations to turn even
the most open map into tactically interesting terrain. A whole
infantry battalion can literally disappear in the desert in a few
gullies and behind some flat slopes. All it takes are a meter or
two in elevation change at just the right place. Sometimes you
can achieve this by pure coincidence when creating a map, but
a good map designer will deliberately add such features to
make a battle into something memorable.

Towns and cities


When creating towns and cities, do some research first; browse
the internet for pictures, tourist maps, etc. Towns in the Middle
East are often very old and grown over centuries, resulting in a
much less “tidy” look of straight streets and carefully arranged
building blocks than many Western towns. Buildings are often
aligned inconsistently even on one street, tiny alleys might
lead to nowhere, and roof tops can be so jumbled together
that it seems no two buildings are the same height. Tall stone-
walls are very often used to create enclosed spaces and paths
between buildings. Roads are often not paved at all but rather
hardpacked dirt.
On the other hand, many areas were created fairly recently and
are exactly the opposite as the older sections. In the bigger
cities, or more recently settled suburbs, there can be a lot
more uniformity and planning. The same wide multi-lane high-
ways, commercial buildings, shopping areas and wealthy
suburbs found in the West can be found in the Middle East.
Cultivated parks and large paved marketplaces here, a big villa

160 Combat Mission


surrounded by high walls there, a major commercial section
abutting both, etc. The more attention you pay to what it is
that you’re trying to represent on the map, the more your map
is going to look like the Middle East and the less like downtown
Manhattan.

Flavor Objects
Flavor objects are the key to turning a map into a work of art. It
does take some time to get used to how to handle them, but
the time spent figuring out how to best use them is time well
spent. Some objects are easier to place randomly here and
there (rocks, stomps, etc.), many others call for precise spac-
ing on their own (traffic lights, road signs, etc.) or in relation to
each other (telephone poles, street lamps, etc.). Others are
also important to position exactly in relation to other types of
terrain (ATMs next to walls, air conditioners on roofs, etc.).
The main point of difficulty is the fact that Flavor Objects are not
shown in the 2D map. This is because they are too detailed to
display in such a small amount of space. Therefore, when you
place an object in the 2D map you get no visual reference that
it is there. This can be somewhat confusing if you’re trying to
place a series of objects or one in a very specific spot. And
that’s why we’re letting you in on a couple of tricks!
Use objectives as temporary markers in both 2D and 3D maps.
From the “mission” menu, select the “terrain objective” tool.
Click on any one “obj” button in the sub menu. Make sure it’s
set to “known to both”, otherwise it won’t load on the 3D map
preview. Now paint the map where you want the objects to line
up. When viewing the map in 3D you’ll see the terrain you
painted over highlighted. Use it to put manipulate the objects
and then wipe the objective clean when done.
To place objects in a very specific spot, use the objectives trick
again, but in a different way. Instead of painting a path, just
paint a single tile at a time. Say for example you want to put
a traffic light at a particular intersection. Just mark that one
tile and put the traffic light object there. Then switch over to
3D Preview and nudge it into the exact spot. Orientate it the
way you want by left clicking on it and that’s that. When it’s
where you want it to be, go back to the 2D map and erase the
objective from that area so you won’t be confused by it or
accidentally leave it in your completed scenario.
Some other useful tips to get the most out of flavor objects:

Shock Force 161


- try to avoid using the same object in the same location too
often. There is a vast variety of objects available, including
various sub-types from the same category, so use them. See-
ing a dozen identical drums next to each other is going to look
odd.
- If you do have to re-use the same object, make sure that you
rotate the objects at various angles. Even drums can be ro-
tated to present a different part of its texture to the player
from any given camera position, helping to avoid repetitive
looks.
- Even if you spend only one second thinking about why you’re
placing the object where you are placing it is better then spend-
ing none. Putting one cardboard box in the middle of a road is
going to look odd in most cases. What is it doing out on the
street? Wouldn’t it be better to add a few more and stack them
against a building wall?
- Above all make use of the 3D preview as much as you can. It
will really pay off in presenting a detailed and visually appeal-
ing environment to your players that makes the mission and
map come alive, rather than look like a rush job.

Keep game performance in mind


As much as we hate to say it, we have to remind you that every-
thing you add into your scenarios requires some sort of
hardware effort. The more things you do, the more the hard-
ware has to work. That’s a fundamental rule of the universe
that we simply can’t get around through clever programming.
This is not to say you should be stingy with features, rather
you should try to balance the “pig” features so they don’t turn
an otherwise great scenario into a slideshow. Here are some
tips on what to look out for:
- Trenches/Gullies. These things require an inordinate number
of polygons to look good and there are fewer “tricks” that can
be applied to them.
- Dense forests. Avoid the three-tree tiles unless they are truly
necessary.
- Avoid sharp elevation changes (a high elevation very near a
low elevation). Having some cliffs in here or there, when they
add to the gameplay, shouldn’t be a problem. Adding them
just because they look cool is not the best use of polygons.

162 Combat Mission


- Unnecessary urban density. Large numbers of buildings all
clumped together can cause a moderate frame rate issue, but
it’s not too bad and generally buildings are placed like that for
a good reason (e.g. a town). What would be good, though, is
for scenarios that have dense urban areas you should avoid, or
tone down, other possible speed killers. For example, it’s not
a good idea to have a dense urban environment with lots of
trenches and thick forests. You’re just asking for a bad
framerate if you do that!
- Variety should have a purpose. Putting in lots of variety of
units and terrain means a lot of chewing up of VRAM. The
more VRAM taken up by duplicative or largely unnecessary
units and/or terrain, the more likely there will be an overall
decline in visual look (depending on VRAM available, of course!)
since CM will be forced to downsample textures in order to get
them all loaded. Remember, a 1024x1024 texture takes up
just as much memory if it is used for one model or 100. So if
you are going to use something, you might as well use it a lot.
This is especially true for buildings, which have multiple choices
for textures. In a dense urban area you probably do want to
use most of the textures available, but for a small village per-
haps it is best to use fewer variations.
Remember that there is no magic formula for keeping a scenario’s
framerate up in the playable range. Keep this information in
mind as you test and if you see the framerate drop to an unac-
ceptable level, think of what might be responsible and then
think of how to trim it back. It is wise to make these changes
to a copy of your current scenario file just in case you don’t
notice any improvement. If that’s the case, toss out the newly
created duplicate and then try something else. If you work off
of one file you will definitely regret it when you find deleting a
whole bunch of stuff didn’t do anything and now you want to
put it back in!

Working with Objectives


The ability to mix three types of objectives (Terrain, Units, and
Parameters) with three states (known to one side, both sides,
or neither) and combine this with individual victory points for
each creates a staggering amount of possible combinations
and scenario ideas. That’s great, of course, but it can be a bit
daunting at first. This is especially true for older CM scenario
makers who are used to two types of flags and a more simplis-
tic points system.

Shock Force 163


Fear not, though, as the options are quite logical and you do not
need to use all of them at once. In fact, it is advisable to start
with relatively simple objectives. Start with maps with one or
two simple terrain objectives and vary the Parameters to get a
feel for how it all balances out. Then make a couple of missions
entirely focused on Unit objectives to learn what works and
what doesn’t. Only then should you consider mixing different
objective types within a single mission.
It might be very helpful to have a concrete idea of what the mis-
sion is about before you even start making the map. This helps
you focus on the editor tools you need and ignore those that
you don’t. Remember, there are a ton of options available to
you, but they are all in fact optional. Don’t feel that you have
to use everything in every scenario. In fact, that probably
isn’t a good idea anyway since the lack of design focus will
likely show itself to the player.
In fact, really great missions are usually that way because they
do focus on a few objectives and therefore give the player a
crystal clear idea what is needed to win. If the player has to
first spend 15 minutes just trying to understand what he’s sup-
posed to do then the player will likely get it wrong, lose the
scenario, and be frustrated by the experience.
One really good way to present the player with a simple, yet pre-
cise, idea of what is expected of him is putting in a well worded
“commander’s intent” in the Briefing. The military uses
“commander’s intent” to explain things in plain language so
that subordinate commanders can think on their own and yet
still go about things the right way. Don’t just tell the player
they have to get to x location by y time, tell them why. “There
is an enemy column of tanks coming down the road and you
need to be in your ambush places on time or you‘ll be caught
out in the open. If you manage to destroy some or all of the
enemy armor, fantastic. However, that is of secondary impor-
tance to holding your positions”. In two short sentences the
player knows he needs to get into position quickly and to not
worry so much about destroying the enemy as preventing it
from advancing. With objectives to match, everything should
go well.
Adding secondary goals sparingly spices things up, sure enough.
However, be careful that the total number of victory points be
proportioned correctly so the main goals communicated to the
player are the ones with the most points assigned to them.

164 Combat Mission


Keep in mind also that the more goals you assign, the less
freedom of action you leave the player. This might be desirable
or even realistic in some cases, but if done too often it will
make your scenarios more work than fun.

Creating Phase Lines


Objectives can be used to simulate Phase Lines (PL), Rally Points
(RP), etc. All you need to do is select one of the 8 Terrain
Objectives and paint the line, or point, on the map. Give the
objective a name, like “Phase Line Eagle” and set the point
value to zero, unless the PL, RP, etc. is part of the mission and
not just a reference point on the way to achieving the mission.
Also use this technique to identify key terrain or to supply some
limited intelligence to the player, such as marking a place where
the other side sets up as “Enemy Assembly Area”.

Secret Missions
Objectives that are unknown to one or both players should be
used sparingly. They can be fun to play, but can get frustrating
quickly if every other mission the player experiences involves
guessing what needs to be done and then being punished if
the guess is wrong. Having said that, there are many fun
ideas rooted in hidden objectives and you should experiment
with them. Just use them sparingly.
If you base the main idea for a scenario on a hidden objective,
you might also reduce the replayability of that mission. Even
without cheating and looking up the other side’s objectives in
the editor (which some people will do!), once the player fin-
ishes the scenario he will usually find out what the hidden
objective is... and it won’t be a secret anymore.
Therefore, if you do choose to use a hidden objective, it is prob-
ably a good idea to make it a secondary goal and one that is
still fun even if known (through replay or peeking). A good
example for the latter is a hidden territorial objective known
only to one side but explained in the Briefing to the other side.
That means the objective, as a concept, is known to both sides,
but only one side knows exactly where it is. Even after the
exact location is know, the mission should still be fun for both
sides.

Shock Force 165


Programming the AI
The AI Editor is an extremely powerful tool that takes some time
to understand it and be able to utilize its full power. Creating
good AI plans is an art, and until you’ve learned the basics it is
difficult to make a masterpiece. Don’t be frustrated by this
fact since the strength of the system is its complexity and va-
riety of choices. Have faith that the reward for your perseverance
is superior scenario for people to play.
This manual can not possible touch upon all the intricate details of
programming a specific scenario AI, but we’ll try to highlight a
few basic concepts:

Plan for the Plans


It can be very easy to lose track of which plan is which and what
it is supposed to do, especially when working with lager sce-
narios. What works well is to outline, on a sheet of paper, what
the missions are, which plans are assigned to them, which
each AI Groups are assigned to which plans, and roughly what
is expected of them. This makes you more sure of what you’re
doing as your implementing your plans as well as making you
less prone to accidentally tweaking the wrong Plan after play
testing.

Start simple
No matter how much planning you do, only through careful and
repeated playtesting will you be able to ensure that your AI
plan works as intended. There is no way around it. “No plan
survives first contact with the enemy” is more true than ever
in this regard. Therefore it makes sense to start with a simple
plan and progressively add more detail, since this makes
playtesting your AI plan much easier. Starting out with a com-
plex plan, before any play testing, is likely to make it difficult
to identify specific problem areas because everything is all
jumbled together. A good approach is to first assign bigger
formations to your AI groups than you intend on using, then
break away individual units or formations for complimentary
plans not yet made. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to simply
leave some units idle and without any orders and focus on only
part of the force during your playtesting. As you go through
rounds of testing you can make the plans more complex by
adding orders and coordinating plans with each other.

166 Combat Mission


However, don’t go too wild with the details. Unless you have a
very good reason for it, and unless you are sure that the player
will be able to notice a difference, don’t split individual units
away from larger formations. Doing that only multiplies your
workload when creating and testing an AI plan, while not mak-
ing the AI’s overall behavior appreciably different to the Human
player.

What would you do?


A good approach to creating AI plans is to ask yourself “what
would I do if I was playing the scenario”? In a way this re-
sembles the normal planning process each player (and
battlefield commander) goes through when tasked with a mis-
sion. Think of what you’re expected to do, where you’re to do
it, with what forces, and against what likely enemy? Moreover,
you need to think about what the other player might do in
given situations, since if you anticipate the wrong enemy ac-
tion your plan is likely to crumble. Therefore this approach is
more likely to produce a realistic and sensible AI strategy than
would come from simply winging it.
That being said, try to avoid scripting the plan too much because
the Human opponents can not be easily pegged to one specific
approach to their mission. If you expect the player to do things
the smartest way, and rigidly plan for that possibility, you might
find that the dumbest player out there can easily beat your
scenario simply because he showed up in the wrong place and
the right time in a way you never expected. Then you’re care-
fully laid plans fall apart, just like they would in the real world.
Try to create a tactically sound plan for the AI no matter what the
enemy player decides to do, and you will find that your AI plan
will tend to be robust regardless of what actual course of ac-
tion the player takes.

Do something else
The best scenario is going to grow boring quickly without some
variation built in. Human players tend to learn from their mis-
takes and will adapt their course of action quickly, and will be
able to counter even the most effective AI plan after a few
attempts at the latest. Luckily, you can create a number of AI
plans for each scenario and set different probabilities for the
AI to pick one plan or another, thereby keeping the human
player off-balance because he can’t assume the AI will react
the same way as the previous time. The challenge, however, is

Shock Force 167


to come up with noticeably different AI plans. Don’t hesitate to
create some suboptimal plans with bold or even reckless moves.
Another good way to keep things unpredictable is to emphasize
different objectives with each plan. A good mission often has
multiple goals, primary or secondary, and by creating different
plans to emphasize or de-emphasize some of the objectives
you can create winning AI plans that are entirely different from
each other.

The devil is in the details


The best plan is worth nothing if it’s not playtested thoroughly.
Often the devil is in the details… a “Passenger Dismount” op-
tion set wrong and the intended lightning assault turns into a
marathon. One “Exit Before” or “Exit After” time stamp set
wrong, and the entire well coordinated plan is shot. Another
frequent mistake is accidentally selecting the wrong group or
even side when making a plan. A plan for Red doesn’t do much
good if it is assigned to the Blue side! Accidentally drawing an
objective zone somewhere on the map, or forgetting to re-
move a spot from an earlier idea, can cause the AI to send
forces to a place you rather them not go. This is why playtesting
is critical to making a good AI.
Playtesting is important not only to iron out the little errors, but to
also finetune a plan. For example, the AI usually attempts to
occupy an entire objective, so changing the size and location
of an objective can produce radically different outcomes even
if you make no changes to the AI.

168 Combat Mission


Encyclopedia
The following section is a quick reference for the main vehicles
and weapon systems available in the game. It is by no means
exhaustive and should be seen as a starting point for research
for interested players only, who will find countless and much
more detailed materials available in printed and online media.

Coalition (United States)


Basic Tactics
While it is true that the US Army fields the most powerful conven-
tional land combat force of the world, and certainly the most
modern, it is far from invincible in a tactical engagement. Don’t
be fooled into thinking otherwise, or you will quickly find your
virtual tanks burning and your infantry shattered. The current
military capabilities and tactics of America’s potential adver-
saries may not be enough to win wars, but they are certainly
good enough to deal your forces a serious defeat if you fail to
lead them skillfully.
The real strength of the US Army forces is its superior ability to
“shape the battlefield” to its advantage. This is done through
a combination of elements, such as accurate firepower, sen-
sors to know where the enemy is, GPS systems to know where
friendly forces are, superior training standards, flexible tacti-
cal doctrine, etc. The more time and distance available, the
more effectively these elements can be combined and directed
to achieve positive results. However, the enemy is fully aware
that the opposite is also true; the less time and distance the
US forces have to react, the less effective and more vulnerable
they become.
The enemy commander knows, as well as you do, that an Abrams
tank can hit and kill anything it sees at 3000m without a sig-
nificant risk to itself. Hopefully you also know, as well as the
other side does, that at 300m the offensive capability of the
Abrams may be the same, but its vulnerability goes up dra-
matically. The same is even truer for the lighter armored
vehicles, such as the Bradley, Stryker, and Humvees under
your command. Putting yourself in the enemy commander’s
shoes for a minute, which fight would you rather take up with
the US forces? The short ranged one, of course. Which is why

Shock Force 169


you should expect the enemy to do everything it can to en-
gage your forces at close range where it has some chance of
causing harm.
While it is true that the billions of Dollars worth of sensors your
forces have give you much better, quicker, and more flexible
communications and intel, these advantages are degraded when
the engagement ranges are short. If one of your soldiers can
see the white of the enemy’s eyes, what sort of advantage
does a red colored icon on his handheld Ruggedized Personal
Digital Assistant (RPDA) give him an edge at that moment?
Obviously, none. No matter how good your comms and weap-
ons, it is your training, experience and tactical skill that will
win battles, not expensive gadgets. A rifle kills just as easily in
the hands of a capable shooter with no education and nothing
more high-tech than a wristwatch as it does in the hands of
one of the best trained, best equipped soldiers in the world.
Forget that and there will be less best trained best equipped
soldiers in the world.
What the sensors and communications equipment do give you is
superior information about the battlefield than the enemy has
available to him. This allows you to formulate and execute
plans much faster, with greater confidence, and greater accu-
racy than the enemy could ever hope to achieve. Having said
that, a bad plan is still a bad plan. If you don’t have what it
takes to lead your forces successfully, no amount of gadgetry
will get you out of the tough spot you find yourself in.
You need to remember, and remember well, that although the
enemy’s inventory is outdated and outmatched by whatever
you have at your disposal, an outdated system that hits its
target is still likely to turn a good day into a bad one. More
importantly, you cannot assume that the weapons pointed at
you are inferior. Several modernization programs and recent
foreign “shopping trips” to Russia have put rather capable com-
bat systems into the hands of certain enemy units. Republican
Guards and Special Forces, in particular, have plenty of ways
of turning your forces into Swiss cheese. A T-72 TURMS-T,
RPG-29, or AT-14 Kornet-E can effectively destroy anything in
you have at our disposal. Not only do these weapons have a
good chance of hitting what they aim at, they have an excel-
lent chance of killing whatever they hit!
There is, however, one area that the US is unmatched; support
fire from air and artillery assets. The Syrian player has no ac-

170 Combat Mission


cess to air support at all thanks to the US’ ability to smash the
tiny and poorly equipped Syrian Air Force to pieces within the
first few hours of the conflict. For artillery, the sum of the
Syrian capability is largely a “paper tiger”. Meaning, on paper
it is formidable, but in reality is likely to be far less threaten-
ing. The equipment is generally quite old and the doctrine for
its use even more so. It is basically the same centralized,
inflexible Soviet doctrine developed during WW2. It could be
effective if used against an equally equipped and trained force.
However, when used in an environment where the skies are
hostile and incoming counter battery fire is both quick and
accurate, the chances of Syrian artillery being employed effec-
tively (by US standards, at least) is quite limited. Having said
that, this is small comfort for a US Rifle Platoon that is pinned
down by 120mm mortars or 122mm Howitzers. Sure, the
chances are those guns will be put out of action very quickly,
but until then the platoon has to endure the fire and hope it
doesn’t do more than rattle the fillings in their teeth.
The US forces, on the other hand, have a large selection of fire
support options available all the way down to the lowliest squad
and team can call in support. US training and doctrine allows
just about everybody with a radio, RPDA, or access to FBCB2
to call for support. That being said, your forces have dedi-
cated FIST and JTAC teams with specialized equipment that
can call in artillery and air support far more effectively than
anybody else. They also have the ability to use the support
platforms to their best effect, such as directing laser guided
bombs onto targets instead of hoping the pilot has selected
and maintained the correct target himself.
With all that in mind, remember the old saying “no plan survives
first contact with the enemy”. Fortunately for you, your forces
have a very good chance of surviving first contact long enough
to come up with a revised plan. The same is generally not true
for the enemy’s forces, which is the big weakness of their “up
close” battle plan. In an ambush situation, the force that can
project power faster and more effectively is the one that is
likely to win. Therefore, if they hit you first your best immedi-
ate option is to hit back as hard as you can with everything you
have.
When engaged in an unexpected close range fight (ambush), gen-
erally it is best to hit back as hard as you can without delay.
Unleashing your forces’ massive firepower helps disrupts the
enemy’s capacity to cause further harm and gives you a chance

Shock Force 171


to reshape the engagement to your advantage. Get your forces
out kill zones, fix spotted enemy units to where they are, put
down area fire where you suspect other forces are, then redi-
rect and concentrate your heaviest systems to systematically
eliminate the threats while you maneuver other forces to seize
key terrain.
Remember that hitting hard is not the same as lashing out. The
latter does not keep in mind the consequences of your actions,
which can have deadly consequences for your own forces if not
directed properly. If enemy targets are within 300-500m of
your units think twice before calling in support fire. An errant
155 fire mission or 2000 pound JDAM strike can ruin your day
just as much as the enemy’s. You will likely regret forgetting
this, do don’t.

The Stryker Combat Vehicle Family


The Stryker eight-wheeled all wheel drive vehicle is a highly modified version of the LAV
III design. The design offers impressive speed, mobility, sustainability, and advanced
communications capabilities. There are 10 specialized variants, 7 of which are in-
cluded in Combat Mission.
All Strykers are capable of withstanding small arms fire up to 14.5mm in caliber and are
fitted with “slat armor” to offer varying degrees of protection against RPGs. Top
speed is about 60mph (96.5kph) on roads, significantly lower off-road depending on
terrain. The Stryker can also operate reasonably well with 2-4 flat tires due to the
“run flat” core that is in each. Short distances can be traveled even with all 8 tires
flat. Each vehicle is equipped with a FBCB2 and radio communications systems, al-
lowing all vehicles to see where each other is and to share information about their
actions and those of the enemy’s.
Most Stryker variants now have a Remote Weapons Station (RWS) capable of mounting
either a M2 .50 Cal heavy machine gun or an Mk.19 40mm grenade launcher. It is
stabilized so it can fire on the move and can be rotated 360 degrees. The weapon is
fired from within the vehicle using either a daytime camera or night-time thermal
imager for viewing targets and a laser range finder for better direction of fire. Unfor-
tunately, reloading requires the commander to pop up through his hatch and feed in
more ammunition. Smoke grenade launchers attached to the RWS can be fired to
interfere with various enemy threats. The thermal imager allows the Stryker crew to
see through the smoke it generates. Stryker IR-blocking smoke is colored brown.
Vehicles without a RWS have a simple pintle mounted machine gun or Mk.19 that must
be fired directly by the commander. Smoke launchers are also present, but they are
in fixed positions. Some variants have no substitute for the RWS’ camera and ther-
mal-imager since their job does not include actively supporting infantry with direct
fire.

M1126 Stryker ICV (Infantry Combat Vehicle)


The most numerous of all the Strykers is the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). It provides
armored protection for 9-10 fully equipped soldiers, 3-4 more than the M2 Bradley
can carry. It is most commonly found in the Stryker Rifle Platoons, but is also found
here and there throughout a Stryker Infantry Battalion.

172 Combat Mission


An ICV is crewed by a driver and a combination gunner/vehicle commander. When
passengers are present, the most senior sits to the left of the commander. At this
station is a display that allows the soldier to see what the commander sees and to use
FBCB2 functions.
In order to better see what is going on around the Stryker, and to better protect it from
threats, two passengers usually stand up through two rear “air guard” hatches with
their weapons. Each is assigned to cover one side and rear of the vehicle, though
both might engage the same target together if possible. To better protect these
soldiers, and the vehicle commander, extra armor was added around the top outer
edge of the Stryker.

M1127 Stryker RV (Reconnaissance Vehicle)


The Reconnaissance Vehicle is tasked with seeking out and identifying enemy units and
their positions, as well as observing their activities. This capability is achieved through
use of the RV’s Fire Support Sensor System (FS3), located where the RWS usually is
found.

The FS3 system includes a second-generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imager,
day TV, laser designator, laser rangefinder, and special software that automatically
identifies the type of unit being observed. All this information is fed directly into
FBCB2, which means that if a Stryker RV spots something it knows where it is and
therefore so does everybody else with access to FBCB2. This is particularly useful for
calling in artillery or air support since those assets know exactly what they are to
attack and where.
There is no RWS on the RV, which means there is no remote controlled weapons system
on the vehicle. Instead, a manually fired M2 or Mk.19 is located on a skate rail next
to the FS3. The skate rail allows each system to be rotated 360 degrees. The lack of
a RWS also means there is no remote day or night viewing via camera or thermal
imager. Instead, the RV is equipped with a commander’s cupola that offers 360
degree vision from within the vehicle superior to other Stryker variants.

M1128 Stryker MGS (Mobile Gun System)


One of the last variants to enter production was the main direct fire support version, the

Shock Force 173


Mobile Gun System. The main weapon is a 105mm cannon, similar to the one used
on the original M1 Abrams. The MGS’ purpose is to provide dismounted infantry with
direct fire against hardened targets, such as bunkers. It is NOT intended as an anti-
armor vehicle, though in an emergency it can be used for that purpose. It took
longer than expected to work the kinks out of the MGS, but they were and it has
already seen use in combat.

The entire weapon system can rotate 306 degrees and fire while on the move, day or
night. A sophisticated fire control system ensures extremely good accuracy and
proper ammo selection from the automatic loader. A total of 18 rounds of 105mm
ammunition are carried, including HE against infantry and light targets and HEAT and
APFSDS against light-armor and armored targets.
Besides the main gun, a modified M240 7.62mm medium machinegun, mounted coaxially,
is fully integrated into the fire control systems, making it an excellent means of
engaging exposed enemy infantry. A pintle mounted M2 .50 Cal heavy machinegun
is available too, though the commander must be unbuttoned to use it. Two M6 smoke
grenade launchers are also fitted to the gun system.

M1130 Stryker CV (Command Vehicle)


The M1130 Command Vehicle is essentially the same as the M1126 ICV version but with
added communications equipment and aerials. It is found only at the Battalion HQ
level.

M1131 Stryker FSV (Fire Support Vehicle)


The FSV provides Stryker units with “first round” fire-for-effect capability. It uses the
same FS3 system found in the Stryker RV to spot, identify, and target enemy units
for engagement by artillery and air support assets. Extra communications equip-
ment allows the commander the additional advantage of having direct voice
communication with the supporting assets.

174 Combat Mission


M1132 Stryker ESV
The Engineer Squad Vehicle (ESV) is essentially the same as the Stryker ICV in Combat
Mission. The specialized engineering capabilities of the vehicle are currently not
simulated.

M1134 Stryker ATGM (Anti Tank Guided Missile)


The ATGM variant is designed primarily to engage and destroy any armored vehicle
threat to the Stryker Infantry Battalion. To do this it has a remote controlled TOW
ATGM turret with two missile tubes. It can be rotated 360 degrees, elevated, and
tilted by the commander from within the vehicle. The targeting systems allow vari-
ous types of TOW missiles to be fired in day or nighttime conditions. Like all TOW
systems, the Stryker ATGM must have direct line of sight contact with the enemy in
order to engage it.

Just as the MGS has a secondary ability to engage armor, the Stryker ATGM has second-
ary capability of engaging infantry. In fact, due to the development delays of the
MGS, the ATGM variant was used in its place. However, it is not the vehicles main
mission and therefore it is not as good at taking on enemy infantry as the MGS is.

Shock Force 175


The Bradley Fighting Vehicle Family
M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)
The Bradley IFV is a heavily armed and well armored tracked vehicle designed to bring
infantry into the thick of the fight and stay there to offer direct support. It is capable
of protecting its passengers from light to medium fire and can destroy nearly any
threat it encounters. Standard practice is to pair Bradley IFVs with Abrams tanks so
each can watch out for the other, because while a Bradley is capable of defeating
heavy enemy armor it is far more vulnerable to them than an Abrams is.
The M2A3 carries a crew of three (Commander, Gunner, and Driver) and seven passen-
gers. This is less than the size of a single Rifle Squad, so in real life there is a
convoluted “cross loading” of personnel within the platoon. This is not something
Combat Mission can simulate since the possible game and user interface complica-
tions of splitting mounting and dismounting would be a nightmare for everybody.
Therefore, the game capacity of a Bradley IFV is 9 passengers instead of 7.
The Bradley’s main armament is the single barreled M242 25mm “Bushmaster” Chain
Gun with coaxial 7.62mm M240C machine gun (mounted to the right of the Bush-
master). With its integrated dual-feed ammunition supply it can switch between
firing AP and HE with the flip of a switch. The maximum rate of fire is 200 rounds per
minute and it has a range of 2,000 meters. Its AP ammo is capable of penetrating the
armor of all light and medium vehicles as well as the sides and flanks of most tanks.
In fact, in both Gulf Wars Bradleys were credited with knocking out more Abrams
tanks through accidental fire than the enemy.
When a target appears to be stronger than the Bushmaster can handle, the Bradley has
two powerful TOW-2 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles at the ready in an armored launch
rack on the left of the turret. This allows the Bradley to engage and destroy almost
any tank it is likely to encounter at ranges of up to 4,000m. However, the TOWs are
not nearly as versatile as the Bushmaster and therefore are not the preferred choice
of weapon.
The main drawback to the TOW is the vehicle has to be at a complete stop when the
missile is fired and continue to remain stopped until the missile strikes its target. The
second problem is reloading the Bradley’s two tubes requires the vehicle to be at a
complete stop for at least 5 minutes with the turret stationary as well. Because the
mission of the Bradley is to directly support its infantry, reloading in battlefield con-
ditions is difficult, if not impossible.
Some M2A3 IFV’s can be equipped with explosive reactive armor (ERA).

M3A3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV)


The M3A3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle is identical to the M2A3 Bradley IFV in terms of its
outward appearance, weaponry, and armor. However, its mission is to gather infor-
mation and to provide support for specialized M707 Scout Humvees, not get into the
thick of fighting with tanks and infantry.
The primary difference of the CFV is its reduced passenger capacity due to the inclusion
of extra communications equipment and supplies. Each Bradley carries a small Scout
Team of 4 men to provide the Scout Platoon with its dismounted infantry force.
Normally only 2 Scouts are carried in the CFV and the other 2 Scouts in two separate

176 Combat Mission


Humvees. Imagine the nightmare of having to manually combine three 2 man sec-
tions and six 1 man sections together to form three 4 man Scout Teams!
Some M3A3 CFVs can be equipped with explosive reactive armor (ERA).

M7A3 Bradley Fire Support (B-FIST) Vehicle


The most specialized version of Bradley in Combat Mission is the M7A3 B-FIST. Its role
is to provide the Mechanized Infantry and Armored Companies with advanced fire
support capabilities. This is achieved by cramming the Bradley full of advanced
communications and fire control systems without sacrificing its basic ability to oper-
ate alongside other Bradleys and Abrams units.
A quick glance at the exterior of a B-FIST shows no major visual differences to tell it
apart from either the M2A3 or M3A3 Bradleys. However, internally major changes
were made to customize it to the task of fire support. The most significant is the loss
of the TOW capability. The pod is still there, but instead of it housing two TOW-2
launch tubes it instead houses sensors and lasers to give the Fire Support Team
(FIST) the capability to identify and target to a degree the other Bradleys can’t
match. Although different from a Stryker FSV’s FS3 sensor system in construction, in
terms of functionality it is about the same.
Passenger capacity is extremely low with room for only a single 2 man Forward Obser-
vation Team. Normally the team remains mounted in the Bradley, thus maximizing
their ability to direct support quickly and accurately. However, the FO Team can
dismount in the event that it proves tactically wise to do so.
Some M7A3 FISTs can be equipped with exposive reactive armor (ERA).

The Abrams Main Battle Tank Family


M1A1HC (Heavy Common) Abrams
The Abrams Heavy Common “standard” is the designation for M1A1s that have a series
of upgrade packages installed. This was the military’s attempt to bring together
various improvements implemented separately on Army and Marine tanks. This is
the most basic model of Abrams included in Combat Mission.
The M1A1, itself a major production level upgrade of the basic M1, combines a deadly
accurate 120mm smoothbore cannon with advanced fire control systems to give it
superior one-shot one kill capability against most contemporary threats it is likely to

Shock Force 177


meet. A coax 7.62mm M240C machinegun and remote controlled commander’s
.50cal MG allow the Abrams to engage unarmored and lightly armored targets with-
out as much risk of damaging buildings or friendly forces. Additionally, the gunner’s
station has a pintle mounted M240B machinegun which he can used when unbut-
toned.
Its composite Chobham and Depleted Uranium armor allow it to survive hits that would
tear apart other tanks. It can survive direct hits from most RPGs, ATGMs, and Tank
rounds, though not necessarily remain functional. The Abrams rear armor, however,
is vulnerable to most threats greater than a heavy machinegun.
The Abrams powerful gas turbine engine gives it the speed and acceleration needed on
today’s modern battlefield. It can keep up with its Bradley counterpart and out
maneuver many of the threats it faces. Combined with the excellent fire on the move
capability of its main gun, the M1A1 HC is able to shoot up enemy targets while
running circles around them.

M1A1HC SA Abrams
(Situational Awareness Upgrade)
This is a M1A1HC with various “Situational Awareness” equipment upgrades added on.
These enhancements include an upgrade to 2nd Generation Forward Looking Infra-
red (FLIR) sights (increasing maximum engagement range and lethality), fully
integrated FBCB2 digital system, thermal sight for the loader, thermal Sight for the
Commander’s .50 cal machinegun, externally mounted tank-infantry phone, a Laser
Ranger Finder, and various vision enhancements for the driver. The combination of
these improvements put it almost on a par with the M1A2 SEP Abrams, and therefore
in some ways slightly superior to the standard M1A2 production model.
Another modification available is the TUSK (tank urban survival kit) with enhanced all-
round protection and armor upgrades.

M1A2 Abrams
The M1A2 offers many improvements over the basic M1A1 model, though the majority
of them are not relevant to Combat Mission. The major improvements include im-
proved turret and hull armor, 2 additional 120mm rounds of ammo, more integration
of digital systems, and the Commanders Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV). The

178 Combat Mission


CITV allows the commander to seek out and identify targets independently of the
gunner, then pass the new targeting information onto the gunner digitally. This
offers the M1A2 superior targeting and overall lethality compared to earlier M1A1
models.
One feature removed is the commander’s remote .50cal M2 weapons station. Instead
the commander has to unbutton to use the machinegun, whereas the M1A1s allow
him to fire fully buttoned.

M1A2 SEP Abrams


(Systems Enhancement Package)
At the present time the most advanced tank in the US military’s arsenal, and arguably
any nations’ arsenal, is the M1A2 SEP. As with previous upgrades, the SEP program
brings a number of major changes to a standard production model Abrams, the most
significant of which is the addition of a 2nd Gen Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR)
system for the commander. This allows the SEP model to acquire targets faster,
more accurately, and at greater ranges than the M1A2 or M1A1HC.
Another relevant improvement is the fully integrated digital systems within the vehicle
and interfacing with FBCB2 system. This gives the M1A2 SEP a greater understand-
ing of what is going on within the tank as well as outside of it. The full integration
with FBCB2 allows this knowledge to pass with greater speed and accuracy to other
units tied into the digital network.
M1A1 SA description reads a lot like this one, which is not accidental. The original plan
was to upgrade a large number of M1A1s to M1A2 SEP standards, however financially
this was simply not practical. Therefore, the military focused on upgrading the most
important components instead. Not surprisingly, those are the same things that
concern a simulation such as Combat Mission. Things like 2nd Gen FLIR have a major
impact on the performance of the Abrams in combat, while the reconfiguration of the
driver’s control dials don’t. Therefore, in many ways the M1A1HC SA and M1A2 SEP
are comparable.
Another modification available is the TUSK (tank urban survival kit) with enhanced all-
round protection and armor upgrades.

Shock Force 179


The Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Family
M1114 HMMWV
The M1114 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee) is a four
wheel drive armored truck designed to meet a number of different military roles. It
is protected against most small arms ammunition of 7.62 mm size or smaller, 155
mm artillery air bursts, and 12 lb. anti-tank mine blasts to the side. The vehicles in
the game are equipped with the FRAG-5 up armor kit, which further increases pro-
tection for the crew from small arms fire, IEDs, and fragmentation hit.
The basic model of M1114, which is the most common in Combat Mission, is not armed.
Such vehicles are mostly dedicated to moving around specialized support teams and
are not meant to get into the thick of fighting. Two armed versions, armed with
either the .50cal M2 or 7.62mm M240b machinegun, are found in the HBCT’s Scout
units. The presence of the weapons station means it is more vulnerable to fire from
above, especially artillery, since the roof is mostly open and therefore not armored.

M707 Scout HMMWV


This is the base M1114A1 HMMWV model fitted with the same FS3 system found on the
Stryker RV and FSV vehicles. M707s are found only in the Scout Platoons of HBCT,
three vehicles per platoon. The FS3 system gives the Scout Platoon an amazing
intelligence gathering capacity and ability to call in support assets quickly and accu-
rately. However, because the FS3 system uses the weapon station’s mount, the
M707 is unarmed and obviously just as vulnerable to enemy attacks as all other
Humvees. When used correctly in combination with the Scout Platoon’s armed M1114
Humvees and M3A3 Bradley CAV vehicles the M707s have all the protection they
need while they perform their scouting mission.

180 Combat Mission


U.S. Air Assets
AH-64D Longbow Apache
The AH-64D Longbow Apache is the US Army’s premier attack helicopter and has been
in active service since 1984. The AH-64D variant is equipped with new Longbow
millimeter wave fire control radar and upgraded weaponry over previous models.
Armed with an integrated 30mm chain gun, it also can carry Hellfire II Missiles and
2.75 inch (70mm) Rocket Pods.

OH-58D Kiowa Warrior


The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is an armed version of the earlier OH-58D Kiowa Advanced
Helicopter Improvement Program (AHIP) aircraft, which itself was a highly modified
version of the original OH-58A/C Kiowa scout helo. The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior mounts
a dedicated weapon pylon on each side of the fuselage and in the game these sta-
tions can be equipped with 70mm Rocket pods and a .50 cal machine gun.

F-16CJ Fighting Falcon


The F-16CJ Block 50/52 is the current production version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon
and first began to appear in the late 1990’s. Able to be armed with a staggering
combination of anti-air and air to ground (precision guided and unguided) munitions,
the F-16CJ has repeatedly proven itself to be an extremely capable and adaptable
weapons platform. In the game, depending on the type of mission, support weaponry
includes various types and sizes of bombs and the AGM-65G Maverick Missile in
addition to the F-16’s internal 20mm PGU-28/B cannon.

F-15E Strike Eagle


Equipped with the low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night (LANTIRN)
system, the two seat F-15E Strike Eagle is a potent dual role fighter/fighter-bomber
in the US Air Force arsenal. The F-15E can carry a weapons payload up to 23,000lbs.
In the game the Strike Eagle can carry various sizes of bombs. The F-15E also wields
an internally mounted 20mm M61A-1 Gatling Gun.

A-10 Thunderbolt II
The workhorse and durable A-10 (affectionately nicknamed the Warthog or simply Hog
by pilots and enthusiasts alike) has been in service since 1977. Designed around the
awesome GAU-8/A 30mm Avenger Gatling Gun, the A-10 was born and breed to
conduct close air support (CAS) tasks. The A-10 can carry up to 16,000lbs pounds of
mixed ordinance including various sizes of bombs and AGM-65 Maverick Missiles.

Shock Force 181


U.S. Artillery Assets
M777 Howitzer
The towed 155mm howitzer provides artillery support for the Stryker BCTs. It has a
digital fire control system which allows it to respond quickly and accurately to support
calls from frontline infantry. Maximum rate of fire is 4 rounds per minute, 1 rounds
per minute sustained.

M109A6 Paladin
Self-propelled 155 mm howitzer in use with the US Army’s Heavy BCT artillery battal-
ions. The advanced fire control and communications equipment allows the Paladin to
halt from the move and fire within 30 seconds. This improves the survivability by
allowing the battery to operate dispersed by pairs across the countryside and to
relocate between salvos. Maxium rate of fire is 4 rounds per minute, 2 rounds per
minute sustained.

M224 Light Mortar


Used by Stryker BCTs for quick, light suppressive fire. Although smaller than the other
US mortars, the M224 has the advantage of a faster and more sustainable rate of fire
than the larger and heavier M252 and M120. Maxium rate of fire is 30 rounds per
minute, 20 rounds per minute sustained.

M252 Medium Mortar


Standard 81mm medium mortar used for long-range indirect fire support for Stryker
BCT infantry formations. It is found at both the company and battalion levels of
command, thereby providing quick response to support calls. Maxium rate of fire is
20 rounds per minute, 15 rounds per minute sustained.

M120 Heavy Mortar


The 120mm M120 provides Stryker and Heavy BCTs with heavy indirect fire. Generally
used at the company level, the M120 allows infantry commanders to have powerful
support within easy reach. Maxium rate of fire is 16 rounds per minute, 4 rounds per
minute sustained.

182 Combat Mission


U.S. Weapons
M4A1
The M4 Carbine is tracing its roots back to the famous M16 Assault Rifle, and is essen-
tially a shorter and lighter version of the M16A2 Assault Rifle, sharing 80% of its
parts. The M4A1 can be fired semi or full-auto, unlike the M4 which could only fire
semi and 3 round bursts. It fires 5.56 x 45mm NATO ammunition and is a gas-
operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire firearm with a telescopic stock. It is
effective to about 150m with a maximum range of about 400m.

M4A1 w/M203
This is a standard M4A1 carbine fitted with a M203 40mm single-shot grenade launcher
attached under the barrel. The trigger is just forward of the rifle magazine, which
functions as a hand grip when firing the M203. A separate sighting system is added to
rifles fitted with the M203, as the rifle’s standard sights are not matched to the
launcher. The M203 is capable of firing 5-7 rounds per minute at an effective distance
of 150m, and maximum range of 400m.

M249
The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) is an air-cooled, fully-automatic-only fire-
arm which belongs to a sub-family of the Belgian FN Minimi squad automatic weapon.
It fires 5.56 x 45mm NATO ammunition through the top mounted feed tray or M16-
type magazines through the side-mounted port. Linked ammunition is the standard
means of fire, with the ammo being fed from either a loose belt or from a plastic box
(or cloth pouch), containing 200 rounds, clipped under the receiver. The M249 SAW
features a built-in bipod and a quick change barrel that helps prevent overheating
during sustained fire. United States military doctrine states the effective ranges are
600m for a point target, 800m for an area target, 1000m for suppression, and 3600m
as the maximum range.

M110
The M110 SASS (semi-automatic sniper system) is the newest long range precision
sniper rifle system in the US Army arsenal. Developed by Knight’s Armament Com-
pany it replaces the older bolt action, single shot M21 and M24 systems. The M110
uses 3 different types of ammunition, including military standard 7.62 x 51mm cali-
ber ammunition, M118LR long range open tipped ammunition, and the M993 armor
piercing (AP) ammunition. The greater choices available give the operators more
options and flexibility for different target types. Military requirements specified that
the weapon able to provide accurate fire with ranges up to and exceeding 1000m in
order to increase the survivability of the operators while increasing the kill probability
over previous systems.

M107
The M107 Long Range Sniper Rifle is a semi-automatic .50 BMG sniper rifle adopted by
the U.S. Army in the early 2000s. The M107 is used for traditional sniper tasks, but
is especially useful for long-range, counter-sniper, and anti-materiel roles compared
to more traditional smaller bore sniper rifles. It has a magazine capacity of 10 rounds
and a maximum effective range of 2000m.

M136 AT-4
The M136 AT4 is the US Army’s light, multi-purpose shoulder fired rocket. The M136

Shock Force 183


AT4 is a single shot, disposable recoilless rifle originally intended for use by Infantry
Forces to defeat light armor. More often it is used to defeat hardened infantry fight-
ing positions. The recoilless rifle design permits accurate delivery of an 84mm High
Explosive Anti-Armor warhead with negligible recoil. The M136 AT4 is a self-con-
tained weapon consisting of a free-flight, fin-stabilized, rocket-type cartridge packed
in an expendable, one-piece, fiberglass-wrapped tube. Though the M136 AT4 can be
employed in limited visibility, the firer must be able to see and identify the target and
estimate the range to it. The system’s tactical engagement range is 250m and can
only be fired from the right shoulder.

Demo Charge
The M322 Demolition Kit, Rapid Wall Breach, is a man-portable demolition kit that
rapidly creates a man sized hole in triple brick and reinforced concrete walls. M322
Kit includes: 3.3m Flexible Linear Shaped Charge, 61m shock tube initiation system,
an attachment device to the target, and a carrying bag.

Fragmentation M67
The body of the M-67 hand grenade is a 63.5mm diameter steel sphere designed to
burst into numerous fragments when detonated. The grenade body contains 184g of
high explosive. Each grenade is fitted with a fuse that activates the explosive charge
and is capable of effectively causing casualties within a range of 15m.

Smoke AN M8 HC White Smoke


This grenade is used to produce dense clouds of white smoke for signaling and screen-
ing.

40mm HE M406 Rifle Grenade


This round has an olive drab aluminum skirt with a steel projectile attached, gold mark-
ings, and a yellow band. It arms between 14 and 27m, and it produces a ground
burst that causes casualties within a 5m radius.

40mm HEDP M433 Rifle Grenade


High-explosive dual purpose (HEDP) round. This round has an olive drab aluminum
skirt with a steel cup attached, white markings, and a gold band; it penetrates at
least 5cm when fired straight at steel armor. It arms between 14 and 27m and can
cause casualties within a 5m radius.

Javelin Anti-Tank missile system


The Javelin is a manportable, fire-and-forget, antitank missile employed by dismounted
infantry to defeat current and future threat armored combat vehicles. It is the only
AT missile in use with ground troops that does not require tracking of the target after
missile launch. The Javelin’s range of approximately 2500m is more than twice that
of its predecessor, the Dragon, and has secondary capabilities against helicopters
and ground-fighting positions. It is equipped with an infrared imaging (I2R) system
and a fire-and-forget guided missile. The Javelin’s normal engagement mode is top-
attack to penetrate the tank’s most vulnerable armor, though it can also fire in
direct-attack mode to engage targets with overhead cover or with greater vertical
vulnerability. Its “soft launch” allows employment from within buildings and enclosed
fighting positions. The soft launch signature limits the gunner’s exposure to the en-
emy, thus increasing survivability.
The Javelin consists of a missile in a disposable launch tube and a reusable Command
Launch Unit (CLU). The CLU houses the trigger mechanism, an integrated day/night
sighting device for surveillance and target acquisition, built-in test capabilities, and
associated electronics. The CLU, powered by a disposable battery, provides the capa-
bility for battlefield surveillance, target acquisition, missile launch, and damage

184 Combat Mission


assessment.
The round consists of a disposable launch tube assembly, battery coolant unit (BCU),
and the missile. Missile range is generally considered to be around 2000 to 2500m,
though the missile is capable of hitting targets much farther way than that. The
limiting factor is the CLU’s screen resolution which makes it difficult to discern targets
at ranges greater than 2500m. The missile locks on to the target before launch using
an infrared focal plane array and on-board processing, which also maintains target
track and guides the missile to the target after launch. A full-up system weighs
22.5kg.

M240B MG w/tripod
The M240B is a ground or vehicle mounted, gas-operated, crew-served machinegun.
This 7.62mm machine gun delivers more energy to the target than the smaller cali-
ber M249 SAW. It is the standard medium weight machinegun of US military forces.
It has an effective range of 1800m for area targets and 800m against point targets.

Shock Force 185


Syria
Basic Tactics
With some notable exceptions, Syria’s arsenal of weapons is largely
outdated and not an equal match for the Western counter-
parts. Militia and Reserve units largely use equipment from the
1960s, with some mild upgrades for their tanks. Regular units
primarily rely on technology that is 20 years old and have some
tanks with more recent (though modest) upgrades. Only the
elite Republican Guards Division and Special Forces have truly
modern equipment at their disposal, with the Guard’s TURMS-
T upgrade for the T-72 main battle tank being the best armored
vehicle in Syria’s arsenal. Special Forces (and in some cases
also Guards) also have the AT-14 Kornet-E anti-tank guided
missile in significant quantities, and the Special Forces also the
RPG-29, either of which can destroy any tank in the world.
The Unconventional forces have a mix of old and new equip-
ment with no consistency from one group to the next. They
do, however, have access to deadly “homemade” weapons that
the other forces don’t.
As the Syrian player, your tactics need to reflect the limitations of
your equipment, soldiers, and organization. Bravado and ma-
chismo are more likely to hand the US forces a stunning victory
than even a mild defeat. Your forces generally stand no chance
of success in a straight fight along traditional conventional
warfare terms. Recognize this and accept it, otherwise expect
to suffer casualties 10 to 1 (or worse!) even with superior num-
bers. Conventional engagements are the West’s strength, after
all!
The West is weakest when the use of its high-tech weaponry is
most limited. Ambush tactics minimize reaction time and dis-
tance advantages inherent in Western forces. Try to focus on a
few key units in order to cause maximum damage before your
ambush sites are located and rendered ineffective. Save your
best units for the most difficult assignments, don’t fritter them
away on targets that lower quality units might actually have a
chance against. Above all, don’t get “cocky” when things ap-
pear to be going well. The margin for error is so small that the
situation can easily turn around completely without warning.
Being cleverly cautious is more likely to produce results than
attempting to be cleverly bold (or worse, bold without being
clever!).

186 Combat Mission


Tanks
T-54B
Original T-55 series with 100mm gun, coax and AAMG. Used in static positions in the
hundreds around the Golan Heights and other strategically important key points.
Several hundred have been moved to positions along the Iraqi border.

T-55-1970
Upgraded version of the original T-55. It has a more powerful type of 100mm gun,
stabilization system, and slightly more powerful engine. Probably 300-400 of these
exist as static or bottom of the barrel Reserve tanks.

T-55-1974
A further upgrade to the T-55, it has the improvements of the 1970 model with the
addition of new fire control systems, including the KTD-2 laser range finder. Hun-
dreds are still in active inventory, filling out the bulk of the Reserve units.

T-55MV
In 1983 a major upgrade was started to bring some of the oldest tanks in Syria’s
inventory up to contemporary standards. This involved adding the Volna fire control

Shock Force 187


system, ability to fire Bastion ATGMs, a more powerful engine, skirt armor (10mm
rubber/steel combo), smoke launchers, improved night vision system, Kontakt ERA,
and other small improvements. A fair number of these rebuilds were completed and
are, believe it or not, better than most of the T-62 and T-72 models in inventory. This
is one of the best tanks found in the Regular armored forces.

T-62-1972
The base T-62 model, slightly upgraded since its introduction. It is similar to the T-55
with a longer hull to add the larger 115mm gun and ammo. This model also offers an
improved fire control system, main gun stabilization, and night vision out to a range
of approx. 600-800m. This model is found in the Reserves only, though not in great
numbers. Perhaps less than 100 exist in running condition.

T-62-1975
Similar to the 1972 version but with KTD laser range finder and a few additional fire
control system improvements. Like the previous model this one is found in the Re-
serves only and probably not in very large numbers.

T-62M
Very similar to the T-55MV except having appliqué armor panels instead of ERA. 200 or
so found in the Reserve units.

188 Combat Mission


T-62MV
The best of the T-62 family, this model is a T-62M upgraded to have Kontakt ERA. About
150 found in Regular units.

T-72M (early)
The base T-72 model for the Syrians has a number of improvements over the T-62,
including a 125mm gun and more sophisticated fire control systems. This model has
a few additional upgrades, such as the KTD-1 laser range finder used on the T-72A.
Found only in Reserves as the best tank for them. Probably less than 100 are still
functional.

T-72M
A slight upgrade of the earlier version. It adds appliqué armor to front of hull, skirt
armor, and smoke dischargers. This is found at the bottom end of the Regular tank
unit’s roster with few still in running condition.

Shock Force 189


T-72M1
This Czecoslovakian export model combines all the improvements of earlier models
with additional armor and other minor improvements. Many of the T-72M1s pur-
chased were in turn upgraded (see below), therefore not many remain in service in
their original state. The few that have remained running and not upgraded are found
towards the bottom end of the Reserve’s tank roster.

T-72M1V
This is a base T-72M1 with Kontakt ERA added for greater protection. Maybe 100 or so
of these exist and they constitute the top end of the Reserve tank formations. (NOTE
– adding the “V” designation is our idea since there is no specific designation for this
upgrade)

T-72M1V (2001)
A Russian upgrade package was added to some base T-72M1 models to give them
greater offensive and defensive capabilities. The package adds 3rd generation Kontakt-
5 reactive armor, upgraded suspension, more powerful engine, improved 125mm
gun capable of firing ATGM’s, remotely operated AAMG, combined gunner/commander
thermal imaging system (night vision range is approx 3000 to 3500m), new fire
control computer and stabilization system and GPS. The new Kontakt-5 was, at the

190 Combat Mission


time, able to defeat M1A1 Abrams depleted uranium (DU) rounds apparently, how-
ever the current Abrams SABOT rounds have largely overcome this problem. Perhaps
as many as 100 or so of these upgraded vehicles are still in service with the Repub-
lican Guards Division. (NOTE – adding the “V” and “2001” designations are our idea
since there is no specific designation for this upgrade)

T-72M1V TURMS-T
This is the top of the line Syrian tank and it is a very capable vehicle indeed. It com-
bines the improvements of the 2001 upgrade with the Italian TURMS-T fire control
system. The end result is a tank most similar to the Czech produced T-72M4. It
includes a day/night stabilized commander’s panoramic periscope sight, gunner’s
stabilized sight with thermal imager and laser rangefinder and digital fire control
computer. The digital fire control computer downloads data from the tank’s meteoro-
logical and wind sensors, together with the tank attitude, barrel wear characteristics,
ammunition and target data. The computer calculates the fire control algorithms and
is used to control the gun, the sighting systems and the laser rangefinder. Not
surprisingly, this highly sophisticated tank is only found in the Republican Guards
Division. The number in service could be as high as 200.

Command Tanks
The Company Commander of a Tank Company has extra radio equipment that allows it
to communicate with its platoons and the Battalion Commander. From a perfor-
mance standpoint the vehicles are all identical to the tanks under their command,
except for the extra radio antennas mounted on them. However, from a practical
standpoint when a command tank is lost communications between platoons suffers,
communications with battalion are lost completely.

BRDM-2
The BRDM-2 (Boyevaya Razvedyvatelnaya Dozornaya Mashina, literally “Combat Re-
connaissance/Patrol Vehicle”) is an armoured scout car used by Russia and the former
Soviet Union. It was intended to replace the earlier BRDM-1 with a vehicle that had
improved amphibious capabilities and better armament. The armament is the same
as the BTR-60 armored personnel carrier, a 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun with a

Shock Force 191


7.62 mm machine gun as a secondary weapon. The armor on the vehicle protects
against small arms fire and artillery shell fragments. The BRDM-2-series tires are
vulnerable to puncture from fire of all kinds.

BRDM-2 atgm
The BRDM-2 ATGM launcher vehicle mounts launch rails for the AT-3 Sagger or AT-5
anti-tank guided missile in place of the turret, and are found in the Regimental ATGM
Platoon only.

BRDM-2U
The BRDM-2U adds extra radio equipment for Company and higher communications,
but otherwise is the same as a standard BRDM-2. The only external difference is
extra radio antenna. The loss of a command BRDM hurts command and control.
There is a turret-less version of the BRDM-2U which is not found in CM:SF because it
is used by Regimental and higher HQ units not simulated in the game.

BMP-1/BMP-1P
The BMP-1was first introduced in the early 1960s as the first true “Infantry Fighting
Vehicle”, as opposed to an “Armored Personnel Carrier” (i.e. battlefield taxi). The
steeply-sloped front armor is proofed against .50-calibre machine guns and light
cannon fire, but armor quality varies greatly with factory and year of manufacture. It
is armed with an unstabilized 73 mm smoothbore gun which fires a low velocity HEAT
round, and as such the main gun is unreliable in windy conditions. The standard
BMP-1 has an AT-3 Sagger ATGM launcher is mounted above the gun, the BMP-1P
has an AT-4 Spigot. The launchers have to be loaded by hand through a small
loading hatch. This combination of armament and armor made it a formidable ve-
hicle in the 1970s, but by today’s standard it is highly vulnerable to enemy IFVs and
tanks of all types. The gun has only primitive fire control systems and the vehicle
must be at a dead stop to fire and guide its ATGM. Nevertheless, the BMP-1 is still a
threat to light AFVs or dismounted infantry and the Syrians have loads of them.
Perhaps as many as 2000 are still in service.

192 Combat Mission


BMP-2
The BMP-2 is an improved version of the BMP-1 introduced in the early 1980s. The
major difference is a smaller turret with a 30 mm cannon and externally-mounted
AT-5 Spandrel ATGM. The cannon is quite accurate (it is also used on the Mi-28
attack helicopter) and its antipersonnel capability is a quite good. Some BMP-1’s
shortcomings remain, such as the poor quality of vision equipment, unstabilized weap-
ons, the requirement to remain stationary while firing an ATGM, and a lack of computer
controlled fire control systems. These deficiencies make it difficult to successfully
engage targets while on the move. The Republican Guards use Syria’s entire inven-
tory of about 200 as their main form of armored transport.

BMP-1K/BMP-1PK/BMP-2K
These are the command versions of the standard BMP models. These vehicles are used
by Company HQs and are identifiable by the extra radio antennas on the top hull. A
reduction of 2 passenger spaces was necessary to accommodate the extra equip-
ment. In other respects the “K” versions are the same as their non-command
counterparts. Loss of these vehicles degrades communications between formations.

Shock Force 193


BTR-60PB
The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armored personnel
carriers. It was developed in the late 1950s and was mass produced in the 1960s
through mid 1970s. The welded steel boat-shaped hull protects against small arms
fire and shrapnel. The BTR-60PB is the last modification of the BTR-60 series, featur-
ing a small turret fitted with an unstabilized KPVT 14.5 mm heavy machine gun with
an improved sighting system. Syria has around 600 in use with Regular and Reserve
formations.

BTR-60PBK
The command version of the standard BTR-60PB is the BTR-60PBK. It is identifiable by
the extra radio antennas mounted on the top hull. Otherwise, it is no different than
a standard BTR-60PB.

UAZ-469B
The UAZ-469 is an all-terrain vehicle manufactured by UAZ starting in 1973. It is a
sturdy, but not-so-comfortable, light truck that is able to drive in virtually any terrain.
As many as 9 men can cram themselves into it.

194 Combat Mission


Syrian Artillery Assets
M-46 Field Gun
Standard medium 130mm towed artillery. Though phased out of service in favor of
more modern guns, the M-46 still remains in service with the Syrian Army’s higher
echelon artillery batteries. Maxium rate of fire is 8 rounds per minute, 5 rounds per
minute sustained.

D-30 Medium Howitzer


A 122mm towed howitzer which entered service in the late 1960s. Although phased
out of many militaries, the D-30 continues to provide Syrian regiments with the bulk
of their artillery support. Maxium rate of fire is 8 rounds per minute, 4 rounds per
minute sustained.

2S1 M-1974 Gvodzika


A 122mm self-propelled howitzer commonly found in former Soviet equipped militaries.
The 2S1 is found in the howitzer battalion of BMP equipped regiments. Maxium rate
of fire is 5 rounds per minute, 2 rounds per minute sustained.

Type 63 Rocket Artillery


A small, mobile 107mm multiple-launch rocket launch system dating from the 1960s.
It has 12 tubes that can be fired all at once or one at a time. It is not an accurate
weapon, rather it is designed to put a lot of fire down on a section of front very
quickly. It can fire all 12 of its rockets in just 9 seconds, which gives it a theoretical
maximum rate of fire of nearly 110 rounds per minute. This is just theoretical since
after it fires 12 rounds it takes 5 minutes to reload.

BM-21 Rocket Artillery


122mm multiple-launch rocket system dating from the 1960s and is unquestionably
the world’s most widely-used rocket artillery system. What it lacks in accuracy it
makes up for in volume. It can fire 40 rockets in 20 seconds, which gives it a
theoretical maximum rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute. However, when its 40
tubes are expended it takes about 10 minutes to completely reload, therefore it’s
practical rate of fire is limited to 40 rockets per 20 seconds. It can also fire one tube
at a time.

M1937 Medium Mortar


Although this 82mm mortar has largely been replaced by the larger M1943, it can still
be found in Syrian Reserve battalions and companies. One advantage it has over the
larger 120mm mortar is the ability to fire faster and for longer. Maxium rate of fire is
25 rounds per minute, 12 rounds per minute sustained.

M1943 Heavy Mortar


This is essentially the same 120mm heavy mortar used by Soviet, and Soviet equipped,
forces since WW2. It is a reliable design that provides good fire support for infantry
battalions and companies. Maxium rate of fire is 9 rounds per minute, 4 rounds per
minute sustained.

Shock Force 195


Syrian Weapons
PM Pistol
The Makarov PM (Pistolet Makarova) is a semi-automatic pistol which was designed in
the late 1940s by Russian firearms designer Nikolai Fyodorovich Makarov. For many
years, it was the Soviet Union’s standard military side arm.

AKM
The AKM was introduced in 1959 as a lighter and cheaper version of the AK-47 with an
effective range of between 300m to 400m. It fires the standard Soviet era 7.62 x
39mm round. The AKM was an improvement over the original AK-47 through its use
of steel stampings instead of milled steel, which made it lighter and easier to pro-
duce. It is not a sophisticated weapon, having only crude sights, no bolt hold open
device, and an inconveniently located safety/selector. Despite of these problems it
gained a strong and wide reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Tens of millions
were sold to former Soviet aligned nations, making it one of the most common weap-
ons on the battlefield today despite its age and obsolescence.

AKMS
This is a standard AKM with a folding stock.

AK-74
The AK-74 is basically an AKM rechambered and rebored to fire a 5.45 x 39mm car-
tridge. It offers few innovations over the earlier AKM, though it is lighter, has less
recoil, and a slightly longer effective maximum range (500m). Like its predecessor,
it uses a 30-rd detachable box magazine. Originally the stock and hand grips were
made of wood or reddish brown plastic, but in the 1980s black plastic became the
standard.

AKS-74
Folding-stock version of the AK-74 with a Y-shaped, tubular stock.

AKS-74U
A modified AKS-74 with a much shorter barrel (207mm) and a conical flash suppressor
instead of a muzzle brake. With an overall length of 492mm (with stock folded) and
weight of 2.7kg, it is a very compact and light firearm. Technically the AKS-74U is an
assault rifle due to its cartridge size, however its compactness and intended purpose
make it more akin to a submachinegun. It is primarily used for purposes where space
or weight is at a premium and there is little need to engage targets with accurate fire
beyond a limited range (200m, less than half that of an AKS-74).

AKS-74 w/GP30
Standard AKS-74 rifle fitted with the Under-barrel Grenade Launcher GP-30. The GP-30
Obuvka is a 40mm muzzle-loaded, single-shot, detachable, under-barrel grenade
launcher. It is the successor to the earlier GP-15 and GP-25, though its performance
is roughly similar. The advantages of the GP-30 design are in the areas of weight,
ease of use, and production costs. It can use two types of ammo, both of which are
used by the crew served AGS-17 grenade launcher; the VOG-25 (High Explosive) or
the VOG-25P (Delayed Fuze High Explosive). Only recently has this weapon come
into widespread use within Russia and it is slowly making its way to other nations.

196 Combat Mission


RPD
The RPD (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Degtyareva) is a 7.62 x 39mm belt-fed machine gun
designed to fulfill the role of squad automatic weapon. It was made in the 1950s and
1960s, though it is still found in large numbers in second line troops and unconven-
tional fighters. The RPD can be fired from a prone position with the built-in bipod, or
from the hip with the aid of a sling. It is fed by refillable non-disintegrating links held
in a 100-rd detachable drum magazine. It is a heavy, though robust, weapon with an
effective range of 800m. Its major limitation is the lack of an interchangeable barrel,
which means the weapon has to be allowed to cool when used heavily. The 100-rd
ammo capacity was specifically formulated to limit the possibility of problems and
damage due to over heating by way of notifying the gunner that he needs to give the
weapon a rest.

RPK
This is a long barreled version of the AK-47 designed for use as a squad automatic
weapon. It fires full-auto only and uses the same 7.62 x 39mm ammunition as the
AKM. Its major drawback is its lack of an interchangeable barrel, which means that
it can not sustain prolonged fire without risking a reduction in accuracy, misfires,
misfeeds, and even damage to the weapon itself. While it is generally considered a
reliable and effective weapon, its drawbacks are significant and therefore the RPK is
a less effective squad automatic weapon than many others found on the battlefield.
It can use 40-rd detachable magazines, but in the case of Syria is most often found
with the 75-rd detachable drum magazine (similar to the RPD).

RPK-74
The RPK-74 is an updated version of the RPK, along with all its limitations, and uses the
same 5.45 x 39mm ammunition as the AK-74. Instead of the prominent muzzle
brake used on the AK-74, the machinegun is longer and has an attached bipod.
Unlike the RPK it only uses 40-rd (standard) or 30-rd detachable magazines, not a
drum magazine.

DShKM
Originally developed during the 1930s for anti-aircraft and anti-armor purposes, the
DShK became a standard fixture on tank turrets during WW2 and for many decades
after with slight improvements (DShKM). It became a popular weapon due to its
large caliber (12.7mm) and multi- purpose functionality, being deployed in the ground
roll on a two wheeled mount. It has a 600 rpm sustained rate of fire and is effective
up to about 2000m. Due to the weight of the weapon and its large caliber ammo
supply the DShKM is effectively a static defensive weapon. It is generally found as
part of lower quality, static Syrian Reserve Infantry Battalions.

SVD
The Dragunov Sniper Rifle (Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, abbreviated SVD), is a
semiautomatic rifle designed by Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov in the Soviet Union
between 1958 and 1963. The SVD was the world’s first purpose-built military preci-
sion marksman’s rifle, and is common (along with several variants) throughout all
former Soviet client states. It chambers a special 7.62 x 54mm rimmed cartridge,
with a muzzle velocity of about 830m per second, which makes it lethal at ranges
above 1000m. However, its effective range is far shorter at around 600m with stan-
dard ammunition. The weapon handles easily for its size and is very durable.

Shock Force 197


RPG-18
The RPG-18 Mukha (“Fly”) is a light, single shot, short-range disposable multi-purpose
rocket launcher. The RPG-18 fires a 64 mm PG-18 HEAT capable of 6 seconds of flight
after launch (about 200m) before self-destructing. The round can penetrate up to
375 mm of conventional armor, with significantly poorer performance against HEAT
resistant ERA or composite armor (as found on the Abrams). It can also be used
against hardened infantry targets, such as bunkers. The RPG-18 is similar in both
appearance and in functionality to the United States’ LAW rocket, the predecessor to
the M136 AT-4. The RPG-18 is carried with part of the launch tube collapsed making
the weapon much more compact. When preparing to fire, the soldier using the RPG-
18 extends the tube, places it on his shoulder, and uses the iron sights on the top to
aim at the target. Once extended the RPG-18 is armed and can not be reset to a
disarmed state.

Demo Charge
This piece of equipment simulates various types of explosives bundles used to breach
walls and other obstacles. Usually the main explosive component is TNT.

Fragmentation RDG-5
RDG-5 (Ruchnaya Granata Degtyareva) is an egg shaped Blast & Fragmentation hand
grenade that produces around 350 steel fragments. The effective radius is around
15-20m resulting in a 43 square meter kill zone.

Smoke RDG-1
A cheap stick type grenade made of cardboard and sometimes a wooden handle. It is
ignited using a method common to a road flare. On one end there is a cap which is
removed and struck against an igniter. The resulting smoke screen lasts for about
60-90 sec and covers an area of roughly 35m.

PK w/tripod
The PK is a gas operated, rotary locked, full-auto only machine gun that is fed from
linked sections of non-disintegrating metallic belts of 7.62 x 54R mm ammunition. A
detachable steel box secured directly under the breech provides 100 rds of ammuni-
tion at the ready. This makes the PK extremely portable and capable of being fired
from the hip as well as prone or on a tripod. It has a rate of fire of 650 rounds per
minute and is effective out to about 1000m. One drawback is a slower barrel chang-
ing procedure compared to some other nations’ general purpose machineguns.

PKM w/tripod
The PKM is little more than a simplified PK design meant to facilitate faster and less
expensive production. The barrel is a bit shorter and the total weight a bit less, but
performance is nearly identical.

NVS
The NVS is a 12.7mm caliber heavy machinegun most comparable to the US M2 .50cal
machinegun. Like the M2 it is normally mounted on armored vehicles for use against
ground or air targets. It is also used on a tripod for defense of fortified positions out
to a maximum effective range of about 2000m. It is fed from non-disintegrating
belts of 50-rds each and has a rate of fire between 700 and 800 rounds per minute.

198 Combat Mission


The heavy caliber ammo allows it to penetrate as much as 20mm armor at 500m.

SPG-9
The SPG-9 is a 73mm caliber recoilless, smooth-bore, breach loaded antitank weapon
that fires both antiarmor and antipersonnel ammunition. It is man portable, though
usually it is transported by truck or APC and remains relatively local thereafter. It can
be carried fully assembled over short distances, however usually it is broken down
and carried in its component pieces due to weight. The SPG-9 has a rate of fire of 6
rounds per minute and can fire either HE against soft targets or HEAT against hard/
armored targets. The HE round has an effective range of about 2500m, though it can
theoretically be used at much greater distances. The HEAT round can achieve 400mm
armor penetration at any range up to about 800m, at which point a hit becomes
doubtful.

AGS-17
The AGS-17 Automatic Grenade Launcher fires 30mm grenades in either full auto or
semi auto modes. Ammo is fed from non-disintegrating steel belts and a rate of fire
of 350 to 400 rounds per minute can be achieved in full auto mode. The weapon is
one of the primary means for defenders to suppress an oncoming attacking infantry
force. Its effective range is about 1200m for area suppression, but only about 800m
for precision targeting. The kill radius of each round is about 6m, which can be
combined to produce a 70 square meter kill zone with a well aimed barrage. The fully
assembled weapon is man portable over short distances, though disassembly is re-
quired for longer distances.

RPG-7V1
When someone thinks of a threat to an armored vehicle, the RPG-7V is usually the one
that comes to mind first. This is the quintessential shoulder shoulder-fired, reloadable
anti-tank rocket launch. Its light weight allows a single person carry it and a few
grenades with little difficulty. However, standard practice is to have an assistant grena-
dier who carries additional ammo, protects the gunner, and reloads after firing. There
are many different types of grenades for both anti-armor and anti-personnel pur-
poses. Although very simple to operate and shoot at short distances, the RPG-7V
quickly becomes increasingly inaccurate as range increases. For example, a mild
11kmh crosswind can reduce first-round hit probability by 50% at ranges beyond
180 meters. Hitting moving targets at anything but point blank range usually comes
down to pure luck. On top of the accuracy problems, many of the rounds commonly
found around the world are duds, either due to poor manufacturing standards of
export rounds or degradation due to age. Inexperienced users are also said to some-
times forget to arm the round before loading, thereby assuring the round won’t
detonate. Still, with all its negatives the RPG-7V is a serious threat because it only
takes one hit, lucky or otherwise, to cause massive damage to a vehicle or death to
exposed infantrymen.

RPG-29
The RPG-29 is a thoroughly modern 105mm anti-tank grenade launcher. Known as
Vampire, the RPG-29 shares very little in common with the RPG-7V. It is much longer
and therefore can be broken down into two parts in seconds for one soldier can carry
more easily. It is loaded from the rear, fires a much larger grenade, and thanks to
the design is quite accurate. It has almost double the effective range of the RPG-7V,
posing a significant threat to enemy armor out to 500m. With its tandem warhead
grenade it can effectively counter ERA (reactive) armor by detonating the explosive
blocks with its first charge and penetrating the base armor with the second. It can
also penetrate over 1.5m of reinforced concrete and still have enough power remain-

Shock Force 199


ing to cause casualties beyond. The anti-personnel round is the controversial
thermobaric type which kills by using over pressure instead of fragmentation or ex-
plosive effect. The RPG-29 may not be as sophisticated and powerful as the US
Javelin, yet it is extremely lethal to even the heaviest armored vehicles.

AT-3B
The AT-3 Sagger B (NATO designation) is a wire-guided anti-tank missile of the Soviet
Union first produced in the 1960s, then improved in the early 1970s. It was the first
man-portable Soviet anti-tank missile and was produced in huge numbers. The AT-
3B can be fired from a portable fiberglass suitcase launcher or from certain vehicles
(BMP-1, BRDM-2). Setup time for the man portable version is about 5 minutes. Once
fired the missile is guided by line of sight to its target up to 3000m. The gunner
tracks both the missile and the target, adjusting the missile’s direction via a joystick
through wires spooled out from the missile as it travels towards the target. Tracking
both the missile and target simultaneously requires some skill and concentration on
the part of the operator. Hundreds of hours of constant training are needed to achieve
these skills and maintain them. It is simply too expensive to train gunners to this
level of proficiency, so most go into battle to “learn on the job”. Being a generally
slow missile with a big smoke signature means that the gunner might come under
effective fire from the enemy before the missile has reached its target. It also gives
the target warning, which allows it to do evasive maneuvers that make a hit even less
likely. Another major drawback is the inability to track the missile until it is at least
500m from the gunner, which effectively means targets closer than 500m can not be
engaged at all. Which is why estimates of the missile hitting the target range from
2%-25% depending on the situation and gunner skill.

AT-3C
AT-3C Sagger C consists of a slightly improved AT-3B missile (greater penetration) and
a different guidance system, semi-automatic command line of sight (SACLOS). In-
stead of having to track both the target and the missile the gunner only has to track
the target. This vastly improves the chance of hitting the target from 2%-25% to
perhaps 90%.

AT-3D
AT-3D Sagger D is a further improvement of the AT-3C system by introducing three new
warheads and a faster missile. The first is a HEAT warhead that offers almost double
the penetration power of the original AT-3. The second is a tandem HEAT warhead
designed to overcome ERA (reactive) defenses. The third new warhead type is
thermobaric for use against soft targets. A fully equipped AT-3D team should be
expected to have a mix of these new missile types.

AT-4A
The AT-4 Spigot is using a semi-automatic command line of sight (SACLOS) system
similar to that found on the AT-3C. The system consists of a launcher and a dispos-
able tube with one missile. Technically it is man portable, but it is quite heavy and
therefore practically speaking can only be moved a short distance. The gunner lies
prone while firing and must keep the target lined up until missile impact. The AT-4
missile is more powerful than the AT-3 and is able to get up to speed much faster,
thus reducing the dead space for targeting down to 70m from 500m. A target moving
faster than 60km/h (37mph) is unlikely to be hit, which for most circumstances is an
acceptable limitation since few vehicles travel faster than that on the battlefield.
Penetration power, however, is no better than the original AT-3 and its range is shorter,
with a maximum of 2000m.

200 Combat Mission


AT-4C
A slight improvement over the AT-4A is the AT-4C Spigot C. It retains the same tracking
system but boosts the missiles range to 2500m. A new tandem HEAT warhead
increases penetration over the AT-4A by almost 50%.

AT-7
The AT-7 Saxhorn is a significant departure from the AT-3 and AT-4 systems. It uses an
improved AT-4 type targeting system and a small, lightweight launch platform. Ad-
ditionally, the missiles themselves are much lighter than earlier ones. This makes
the system much more portable and capable of being fired from the shoulder (though
this is difficult to do). The downside is that the lighter weight of the missile came at
the expense of range with a maximum range of just 1000m. It can be used from
within a moderately enclosed space at any target further away than 40m and travel-
ing 60km/h (37mph) or slower. Penetration is similar to the AT-3B and AT-4A systems,
though it is much faster due to its light weight.

AT-13
The AT-13 Metis-M (confusingly NATO also refers to this at the Saxhorn) is an improved
version of the AT-7 by combining the same launch system with a superior missile. It
is slightly slower than the AT-7, but its tandem HEAT warhead can penetrate nearly
twice the amount of armor and is designed to defeat ERA. There is also a thermobaric
warhead for use against soft targets.

AT-14
The Kornet-E is the most current and capable ATGM threat faced by Western forces. It
is similar in appearance to the AT-7 and AT-13 systems, but only superficially. Unlike
previous systems the AT-14 comes standard with a thermal sight and uses a laser for
guidance. This makes tracking targets much easier and less vulnerable to interfer-
ence, though the gunner must still remain stationary until the target is hit. With
these new tools in his hands, a decent gunner is almost assured of hitting whatever
he aims at up to 5000m. And if he hits, the target is probably knocked out. The
tandem HEAT warhead has nearly three times the penetration power of the early AT-
3 systems, AT-4, and AT-5 systems and 50% more punch than the AT-13. It can also
fire a powerful thermobaric missile against soft targets. This is the weapon every
tanker, Western or otherwise, fears coming up against.

Shock Force 201


Branches
Coalition (USA)
Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT)

The Styker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) is a “medium” force


with a high tech, infantry-centric organization built around the
8 wheeled Stryker family of medium weight armoured vehicles.
The Stryker Infantry Battalion gives commanders more “boots
on the ground” and firepower than the infantry forces in either
the Heavy or Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT and IBCT).
SBCTs are capable of conducting the full spectrum of combat
operations, though they are best suited for missions that em-
phasize mobility over firepower, infantry over armor. Though
SBCT formations are capable of standing up to a heavy force,
and defeating it, by design this is not what they are best at.
Such combat is the primary mission type for HBCTs.
An important aspect of the SBCT concept is the full integration of
advanced command and control systems. Centered on the
satellite based FBCB2 (Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and
Below), these systems allow all units to “see” the entire battle-
field and exchange information about enemy and friendly forces.
All of this information is distributed directly to each Stryker
unit without having to filter up and down the chain of com-
mand. Better still, the system can’t be jammed or lose its
signal like radios can. When combined it means that when a
Stryker unit sees something it can report it, and when it re-
ports it the others can receive that report. In short, what one
unit sees ALL units see regardless of the tactical circumstances.

Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT)

The Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) is the US Army’s heavi-


est combat formation. It’s main element, the Combined Arms
Battalion (CAB), contains Abrams tanks and Bradley IFV

202 Combat Mission


mounted infantry companies in equal proportions. Although an
HBCT has significantly less infantry and infantry support sys-
tems than a SBCT, it has enormous firepower and strong
protection from enemy fire. The HBCT’s main mission is break-
ing through enemy positions and smash any counter attacks
that may materialize.
The US Army is in the middle of upgrading HBCTs to have the
same level of command and control capability the SBCTs have
enjoyed since their creation. This is being done on a Brigade
by Brigade basis. Because of this, Combat Mission simulates
“digitized” (upgraded) HBCTs, giving them almost identical
command and control benefits as the SBCT.

Syria
Republican Guard

The Republican Guard is the most important force protecting the


regime from external and domestic threats. It consists of a
single oversized Mechanized Division that generally has first
pick of equipment and personnel. The training standards are
higher and the leadership is promoted based on merit, not
political favorism.

Special Forces

The Special Forces of Syria are considerable both in terms of num-


bers and capabilities. Their standard of training is very high
and they are equipped with the best weapons available. Seven
independent SF Regiments (basically large battalions) are
spread over the whole of Syria, tasked with protecting key
areas from threat. Four other SF Regiments are equipped more
heavily and organized as the 14th Special Forces Division for
operations in the Golan Heights. The Special Forces give Syr-
ian commanders a rapid, flexible force capable of both offensive
and defensive operations. Recent rumors indicate that many
of the independent SF Regiments are dispersed, in company
strength, throughout the country to prepare for an systemic
response to any invading force.

Shock Force 203


Regular Army

By far the biggest arm of the full time Syrian Armed Forces are
the Regular Army forces, consisting of seven Armored and three
Mechanized Divisions. Equipment, training, and leadership is
generally good, but definitely a qualitative step down from the
Republican Guard. While competent, these forces are of me-
diocre quality by Western standards.

Reserve Army
In time of war Syria has the ability to more than double its Armed
Forces by calling upon previously trained conscripts and re-
tired professional soldiers. A significant portion of these are
filtered into an Armored and two Motorized Divisions, the rest
go to various independent (and largely static) Brigade and
smaller formations. They have the worst armored vehicles
(when present at all) and in general the hand-me-downs from
the other units. Additionally, the Reserves are not kept in a
high state of military readiness and unit cohesion is quite low.
In theory the divisional units are capable of offensive action,
but it is doubtful they would be much good at it. The rest do
not have much in the way of motorized transport, therefore
they are limited to defensive operations only.

Militia
A large amount of the Syrian Reserves are called up to form inde-
pendent units tasked with defending their local areas from
attack. They lack most everything one expects from a com-
bined arms force in terms of equipment, training, and
leadership. The equipment they do receive is the worst in
Syria’s inventory. As a result, the Militia’s combat capabilities
are quite limited. Their fate is to be situated in fixed positions
and hope for the best.

Unconventional Forces (Fighters)

Combat Mission simulates two different classes of unconventional


forces (Uncons for short); Fighters and Combatants. Fighters
consist of terrorists, foreign trained fighters, and local fanatics

204 Combat Mission


with some semblance of military organization, including a dis-
tinguishable “uniform”. They fight in small, unevenly distributed
forces using all means of warfare at their disposal such as IEDs,
technicals (armed civilian vehicles), and the latest in anti-tank
weaponry. What they lack in skill they attempt to make up for
in determination.

Unconventional Forces (Combatants)

Combatants are little more than armed civilians with some sort of
motivation to fight. Unlike Fighters, these units are ad-hoc in
nature. Therefore, they lack the proper uniform, command
structure, and organization of even Fighters, not to mention a
unit in the Armed Forces. They rely on hit and run tactics
using light weapons, IEDs, technicals, and simple AT weapons.

Shock Force 205


Icons
CM:SF is making extensive use of various Icons to allow the player
to spot vital information in the game user interface at a glance.
Below is a list of the most important icons used in the game
and their description.

Specialty (MOS) Defensive


Air Controller
equipment
Antitank Slat armor

Artillery Controller Smoke Launcher

Commander Active Defense

Assistant Leader ECM

Driver Laser Destroy

Engineer Laser Diffuse

Forward Observer Reactive Armor

Gunner

Loader Ammo
Designated Marksman Hand grenades

Radioman Small arms ammo

MG ammo
Threat Rifle Grenades
Anti-tank missile
Small caliber
Medium caliber
Large caliber

206 Combat Mission


Special Equipment
Comms
AT4

FBCB2
Binoculars

Nightvision Goggles
PDA
Demo Charge

Radio GPS

IED detonator
Visual (Close)

Javelin Command Launch Unit


Visual (Distant)
Javelin missile

RPG 7
Voice

RPG 18

RPG rocket /anti-tank

./anti-personnel

./thermobaric

Shock Force 207


Branches
U.S. Army

Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT)

Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT)

Syrian Army Syrian Uncons

Armor Combatant

Infantry Fighter

Mech Infantry Specialist

Republican Guard

Special Forces

208 Combat Mission


Troublesho oting
While we’re taking utmost care in preparation of this software to avoid bugs, today’s
myriad of available systems, software and hardware configurations makes it impos-
sible to guarantee 100% compatibility. Below you will find a few known issues as well
as a list of contacts available to help out.

An up-to-date Troubleshooting Guide is also available at our webpage:


http://www.battlefront.com/products/cmsf/Troubleshooting%20Guide.html

Multi-GPU
On certain systems with multiple video cards a known bug prevents players to select
units occasionally. Turn off the additional video card(s) to solve this problem.

Intro video
If you have a problem with launching the game, try disabling the intro video. You can do
this by holding down the “V” key while the game launches. This setting is remem-
bered, so you won’t have to hold down the key on subsequent launches.

Multiple Video Cards (SLI) very Slow


If you are running multiple nVidia video cards running in SLI mode, download the latest
Forceware drivers (169.21 at least).

Units disappear with Shadows on


This problem seems to affect people with certain combination of newer (8000 series)
GeForce cards and various OS and video driver combinations. Until Nvidia releases a
new set of Forceware drivers that specifically address this problem, simply play the
game with shadows disabled (use Alt-W to toggle shadows on or off).

Level of detail
CM:SF tries hard to keep up framerates and will automatically downsample textures,
and adjust model quality, and level of detail calculations if it detects performance
limits (VRAM used up etc.) This may lead to a subpar graphics quality during gameplay.
Often it is a better idea to manually adjust the model and textures quality downward
in the Game Options Menu, leading to better overall look and faster framerates.

Shock Force 209


Tech Support
Bugs
If you run into a bug, or have problems in running or installing the game, please visit
our Tech Support forum at:
.............. http://www.battlefront.com/discuss/ultimatebb.php?category=15

If you do not find a solution to your problem there, please email us at


.............. support@battlefront.com

Patches
Please also do not forget to check regularly for the latest patches to the game at:
.............. http://www.battlefront.com/products/cmsf/

Your can also do an auto-check to find out if your version of the game is up to date. In
your Start>Program Group you will find a link within the Combat Mission Shock Force
sub-group called “Check for latest version”. Clicking the link will automatically com-
pare your currently installed version of the game with the latest version available for
download, and the results will be displayed in your browser.

Licensing
For problems with licensing or unlicensing the game, please refer first to the FAQ at:
.............. http://www.battlefront.com/elicense_faq.html

If you do not find a solution to your problem there, please email us at


.............. elicense@battlefront.com

210 Combat Mission


Military Terms Glossary
AFV .......................... Armored Fighting Vehicle
AT ............................ Anti-Tank
ATGM ....................... Anti-Tank Guided Missile
BFT .......................... Blue Force Tracker
BN ........................... Battalion
C&C ......................... see C2
C2 ........................... Command & Control
C4ISR ...................... Command, Control, Communications,
............................ Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance
............................ and Reconnaissance
CO ........................... Company, and also: Commanding Officer
CPL .......................... Corporal
ECM ......................... Electronic Counter Measures
ETD .......................... Estimated Time of Delivery
FBCB2 ...................... Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade-
............................ and-Below (communications system)
FAC .......................... Forward Air Controller (outdated, see JTAC)
FIST ......................... Fire Support Team
FO ........................... Forward Observer
GPS ......................... Global Positioning System
HE ........................... High Explosive
HMG ......................... Heavy Machinegun
HQ ........................... Headquarters
HW .......................... Heavy Weapons
ICM .......................... Improved Conventional Munition
IED .......................... Improvised Explosive Device
IFV .......................... Infantry Fighting Vehicle
JTAC ......................... Joint Tactical Air Controller
KIA .......................... Killed in Action
LGB .......................... Laser Guided Bomb
LOS .......................... Line of Sight
MBT ......................... Main Battle Tank
MCLOS ..................... Manual Command Line of Sight
............................... (First-generation missile guidance system)
MMG ........................ Medium Machinegun
MOS ......................... Military Operation Specialties
MOUT ....................... Military Operations in Urban Terrain
OOB ......................... Order of Battle
PDA ......................... see RPDA
PLT .......................... Platoon
ROF ......................... Rate of Fire
RPDA ........................ Ruggedized Personal Digital Assistant
RPG ......................... Rocket Propelled Grenade
SACLOS .................... Semi-Automatic Command Line of Sight
............................... (Second-generation missile guidance system)
SGT ......................... Sergeant
TO&E ........................ Table of Organization & Equipment
TRP .......................... Target Reference Point
VBIED ...................... Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive
............................ Device. Also VBIED
WIA ......................... Wounded in Action
WP ........................... White Phosphorus
XO ........................... Executive Officer

Shock Force 211


Credits Charles Crail
Phillip Culliton
Stephen Grammont
Martin van Balkom
Blaine Whitney
Thomas Daxner
Game Design Rudel Dietrich Tips & Glossary
Charles Moylan Michael A. Dorosh Mark Gibson
Stephen Grammont Mike Duplessis George McEwan
The Battlefront Team Mark Ezra Jean-Vincent Roy
Charles Moylan Matt Faller Jon Sowden
Stephen Grammont Andy Farley Martin van Balkom
Dan Olding Mark Gibson
James Goodman Translations
Matt Faller
Stephen Grammont Théophile Monnier
Fernando J. Carrera Buil
Jean-Charles Hare Jean-Vincent Roy
Tim Orosz
Jeff Hoolihan Martin van Balkom
Martin van Balkom
Mark Jarvis
Programming Bil Hardenberger
Charles Moylan Craig Harvey
User Interface Design Philip Hedegard
Stephen Grammont Rob Knight
Charles Moylan Cassio Lima
Jean-Vincent Roy George McEwan
Matthew Merrell
Character Animation
Jari Mikkonen
Bil Hardenberger
Gordon Molek
3D Models Brent Morrow
Dan Olding Chris Orosz
X-trusion 3D products Tim Orosz
2D Artwork John Osborne
Dan Olding Jean-Vincent Roy
Fernando Carrera Bruil Wayne Rutledge
Jean-Vincent Roy Jon Sowden
Marco Bergman Mike Steiger
Mike Duplessis Dmytro Stepanchuk
Gordon Molek Martin van Balkom
Thomas C. West
Still Images Thomas C. Wilcox
US Army,
edited by Jean-Vincent Roy Scenario Design
Raymond Ardry
Game Music Charles Crail
Daniel Sadowski Michael A. Dorosh
Matt Faller Rudel Dietrich
Sound Design Bil Hardenberger
Matt Faller George McEwan
Mike Patti Jari Mikkonen
Chris Orosz
Beta Testing
Tim Orosz
Greg Anderson
Wayne Rutledge
Kip Anderson
Jon Sowden
Raymond Ardry
Martin van Balkom
Marco Bergman
James Allen
Elmar Bijlsma
David Blakey Cover Art
Chris Carnes Jean-Vincent Roy
Robert Carpenter Game Manual
John Costello

(c) 2008, Battlefront.com, Inc. All Rights reserved.


Published and developed by Battlefront.com, Inc.

212 Combat Mission