If you play against another human its a good idea to set up some rules before the game commences (so called 'house rules'). That is to avoid frustration or boring games.
A nearly universal rule is not to use artillery on the setup zones in meeting engagements (MEs). Other types usually allow the attacker to use pre-planned artillery while the defender must use a delay.
Some very good recommendations can be found here:
The text was written for CMx1 but still works for CMx2. It is reproduced here so people may find it easier.
FIONN KELLY'S COMBAT MISSION ARMOR RULES - UPDATED FOR CM v1.12 Tired of Combat Mission small scenario imbalance caused by one player choosing too many heavy tanks or yet another Pershing vs JagdPanther slugfest? Then why not try some pbem games using one of the two Armor 'rules' below - 'Short-75 Rule' and 'Panther-76 Rule' - devised by Fionn Kelly to try and eliminate the 'killer heavy tanks' and bring some balance, tactics and strategy back into the smaller armor battles.
Or how about adding a little more manoeuvre and dash to an Infantry-only battle? If so, you may care to try Fionn Kelly's 'Recon Rule' which adds reconnaissance vehicles to an Infantry-only battle.
Please note these 'rules' are guidelines only and provide a solid basis for players to set up balanced battles without worrying about whether your opponent has bought a killer heavy tank. If you play by these 'rules', you should agree them with your PBEM opponent before starting the battle.
NOTE: These Rules have been amended to cater for the armor changes applied to Combat Mission with effect from version 1.12.
Some Important Initial Notes
Artillery Artillery should not necessarily be included in the rules below, but in many ways limiting artillery size inevitably follows from the application of these rules. For example, if playing to the 'Short-75 Rule', it would seem a little off kilter to purchase 300mm+ artillery to simply blast the enemy apart. Fionn Kelly suggests the levels of artillery consistent with the various armor limitations should be as follows:
1. Recon Rule - has its own specific limitation of up to and including 81mm calibre
2. Short-75 Rule - allow up to and including 105mm calibre
3. Panther-76 Rule - allow up to and including 155mm calibre
Bunkers & Aircraft Although again not necessarily included in the rules below, these possible components of a battle can have a very unbalancing effect on the game and go against the spirit of the rules which are trying to define as evenly balanced a game as possible. This is especially so under the 'Recon Rule' and 'Short-75 Rule' but perhaps slightly less so under the 'Panther-76 Rule'.
The recommendation is Bunkers and Aircraft should be EXCLUDED for games played under 'Recon Rule', 'Short-75 Rule' and Panther-76 Rule' unless both players agree to their inclusion from the outset and can prepare accordingly.
1. RECON RULE The 'Recon Rule' is aimed at offering a little spice to essentially Infantry-only games by allowing players to purchase reconnaissance vehicles in addition to infantry.
The 'Recon Rule' game allows vehicles, including light tanks, to be included but limited to those with maximum 50mm guns - this is simply so that the Germans can field Pumas since they have no cheap 37mm armed vehicles which can go toe to toe with the Allies otherwise - and up to a maximum calibre for artillery of 81mm.
HTs, mortar carriers and flamethrower vehicles are all allowed, but not flamethrower tanks since they would not be vulnerable to a 50mm gun.
60mm, 75mm and 81mm mortars and FOs are all allowed - 81mm being the maximum.
There is no limit to the size of towed guns permitted, so you can buy big AT and IG guns if you really want overkill!
The balance of infantry vs armour in his force is entirely up to each player.
Allies should realistically take one country only and although you can mix paratroopers with regular troops, you should not have units from two countries.
Applying the 'Recon Rule' should result in games of dash, chance and manoeuvre in which no one arm of an army is sufficiently strong to dominate the enemy by fire and, as such, it should result in teaching good infantry tactics as infantry will be the key to victory.
Games played to the 'Recon Rule' are usually tactically richer than Infantry-only games whilst still maintaining the essential Infantry focussed nature of Infantry-only games. Furthermore, 'Recon Rule' will help teach infantry tactics for assaulting towns and the like as neither a player's artillery nor his direct fire firepower will be sufficient to suppress an enemy hiding in houses or to destroy those houses.
2. SHORT-75 RULE The 'Short-75 Rule' is an attempt to allow CM PBEM opponents to limit armor purchases to medium tanks, rather than have every single PBEM battle turn into an engagement between highly armored super tanks carrying 88mm and 90mm guns. This list spells out specifically which tanks are included and which are excluded by the 'Short-75 Rule'. You can add to or subtract from this list as you (and your opponent) see fit.
Please understand that this 'rule' isn't really a rule at all, it's just an agreement between opposing players to limit their armor purchases in quick battles to try to get away from playing the umpteenth King Tiger vs. Super Pershing battle.
Anti-Tank guns are not on the excluded list because, although deadly to tanks, they are highly vulnerable to shelling and infantry attack. Tank Destroyers (though thinly armored) are excluded because of their large amount of AP rounds, their mobility, and their relative invulnerability to infantry. You can certainly add these tanks back in if you wish, but the German player may be especially vulnerable to the fast tank destroyers (Hellcat and Jackson in particular) which are not only fast vehicles, but also have very fast turrets.
The reasoning behind including some tanks with larger calibre weapons such as the 95mm, 105mm, and 150mm guns is they do not fire AP rounds, and carry a very limited number of hollow core (c) shells with which to kill enemy tanks. They are mostly just infantry killers and are themselves very susceptible to AP rounds. But feel free to exclude them if you wish.
|M4A1||75/619||M4A3(76)w Easy 8||76/793||gun|
|M4A3||75/619||M4A3(76)w+ Easy 8||76/793||both|
|M7 Priest||105/473||M26 Pershing||90/854||both|
|M7A1 Priest||105/473||T26E4 Super Pershing||90/976||both|
|M8 HMC||75/381||M10 TD||76/793||gun|
|M24 Chaffee||75/619||M18 Hellcat||76/793||gun|
|Stuart V||37/884||Sherman IIA||76/793||gun|
|Sherman II||75/619||Sherman IIC Firefly||76/884||gun|
|Sherman III||75/619||Sherman VC Firefly||76/884||gun|
|Badger (Canadian)||-||Churchill VII||75/619||armor|
|Centaur IV||95/503||Churchill Crocodile||75/619||armor|
|Cromwell IV||75/619||Churchill VIII||95/503||armor|
|Lynx (Pz IIL)||20/780||Tiger late||88/773||both|
|Panzer IVG||75/790||King Tiger Porsche||88/1018||both|
|Panzer IVH||75/790||King Tiger||88/1018||both|
|Marder II||75/790||PantherG late||75/925||both|
|Wirbelwind||20/780||JagdPanzer IV skirt||75/790||armor|
|Marder III late||75/790||PanzerIV/70(V)||75/925||both|
|StuG IIIG late||75/790||Hetzer 38t||75/790||armor|
3. PANTHER-76 RULE The 'Panther-76 Rule' is an adaptation of the 'Short-75 Rule' to allow the use of the German Panther tanks and the Allied tanks that carry 76mm guns. It still excludes the true heavyweights (King Tiger, JagdTiger, JagdPanther and Pershings), but gives a wider range of armor choices.
'Panther-76 Rule' Changes for v1.12 onwards
1. The Tiger is now included under the 'Panther-76 Rule' since its armor is vulnerable to the 76mm gun's AP round.
2. Both 75mm and 76mm Sherman Jumbos are now allowed since the Panther can easily penetrate their frontal armor from medium range.
3. The Nashorn and the M36 Jacksons are now allowed since, although they have powerful guns, their armor is thin and they can be killed by any sort of ATG and tank gun.
4. The Panzer IV/70(V) (an up-armored JagdPanzer IV) is now included since, although its upper frontal armor is not usually vulnerable to a normal 76/793 AP round even with its lower (90%) armor quality rating, it is vulnerable frontally to any 76mm or 17 pounder Tungsten round. In addition, its thin side armor makes it very vulnerable to any flank shots.
|M5A1 Stuart||37/884||M26 Pershing||90/854||both|
|M4||75/619||T26E4 Super Pershing||90/97||both|
|M4A3(76)w Easy 8||76/793|
|M4A3(76)w+ Easy 8||76/793|
|Sherman IIC Firefly||76/884|
|Sherman VC Firefly||76/884|
|H39 Hotchkiss||37/705||King Tiger||88/1018||armor|
|Lynx (Pz IIL)||20/780||King Tiger Porsche||88/1018||armor|
|Panther G late||75/925|
|JagdPanzer IV skirt||75/790|
|Marder III late||75/790|
|StuG IIIG late||75/790|
SUMMARY Despite the above so-called 'rules' and limitations listed here, it is still up to PBEM opponents to choose what type of CM battle they wish to play and the rules by which they wish to play them. These guidelines can be either helpful or just plain irritating depending on your point of view.
Whatever rules you choose to play by, just be sure your opponent agrees with all of them before starting the battle. Proper communication beforehand is the key to safe and happy PBEMing.
With thanks to Fionn Kelly for the original ideas and for all the above data.
Robert Hall (Tomcat)