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Overview

Gameplay

The first game in the second generation of Combat Mission games (a.k.a. CMx2), Combat Mission: Shock Force portrays the struggles of U.S. Army forces as they take part in a fictional invasion of Syria in 2008. While it was extremely buggy upon release, CM:SF has been improved through an extensive series of patches, and is now relatively popular among those interested in hyper-realistic tactical modern wargaming. As of the current 1.21 patch, the developers have not only fixed all of the bugs in the initial release, but have also incorporated a large set of features that were never even intended to be in the original release.

CM:SF has two gameplay modes: Real Time (RT) and Turn-Based (WEGO). Real Time is relatively straightforward: the action unfolds continuously, and while in single player it is possible to pause, in TCP/IP Real-Time play is not pausable. Turn-based action consists of a series of one-minute turns. Before each turn, both players give orders to their units. Once the orders are given, the action unfolds in real time for one minute before pausing and allowing the players to issue orders again. RT is generally recommended for smaller battles, where being able to change orders at any time is important, while WEGO is recommended for larger battles where it is possible to lose track of all of your troops in RT.

Campaigns and Scenarios

Combat Mission: Shock Force's campaign centers upon a combined-arms task force named Task Force Thunder, comprised of Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) and Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) elements. The campaign follows TF Thunder as it fights its way from the Iraqi border of Syria to the major city and highway intersection of Hims. The campaign is generally only somewhat popular among users, as the changes brought about by some of the patches have affected mission balance in unpredictable ways. Furthermore, many of the designers who made scenarios for the campaign were not quite aware of the capabilities of the engine, and therefore it is not as polished as the campaigns released in the two expansion modules. The game also shipped with a number of standalone scenarios, which varied dramatically in quality.

User Content

Combat Mission: Shock Force has a large modding community. While there are many mods that change textures, sounds, text, etc., no changes can be made by modders that change the gameplay. Arguably the most important productions in the modding community are the user-developed campaigns and scenarios. Many of these are more popular than the stock campaign and scenarios, and Battlefront has even recruited members of the modding community to help them design missions in future products.

Multiplayer

There are several options for multiplayer. The most popular one is Play By Email WEGO, where two players play out a game over a significant span of days by emailing their orders for each turn to each other. The other one is TCP/IP RT, which is less popular owing to the fact that there is no break in the action in which orders can be issued. Furthermore, each game usually takes at least 30 minutes, if not several hours, to complete, and many players do not have the time to play continuously for such a long period of time.

Units and Vehicles

Units and Formations included:

  • US Army Stryker Infantry Battalion - the US Army's newest medium combat formation, which fields the number of troops equivalent to an Infantry Brigade and yet with support from the Stryker armored vehicles is highly maneuverable and is able to utilize the most advanced Command and Control systems
  • US Army Combined Arms Battalion - the US Army's heaviest combat formation equipped with the Abrams MBT's and Bradley IFV's sacrifices mobility and number of soldiers in favor of superior firepower and protection
  • Syrian Republican Guard - well trained and equipped formation of the Syrian Army, capable of mounting effective large scale combined arms offensives. Consists of Mechanized Battalions equipped with BMP-2 IFVs and Tank Companies fielding the most advanced of Syria's available Main Battle Tanks
  • Syrian Special Forces Company - while not as numerous and lacking heavy equipment of the Republican Guard, Syrian Spec Forces is an exceptionally capable light infantry force possessing the training and equipment which can rival any Western military
  • Syrian Regular Army - the backbone of the Syrian Armed Forces with generally good equipment and training, capable of combined arms operations. Consists of Mechanized Battalions equipped with BMP-1 IFVs and BTR-60s APCs, and Tank Companies fielding average quality Main Battle Tanks
  • Syrian Reserve Army - mostly comprised from trained conscripts and retired professional soldiers who have been called back to service, the poor quality of training and equipment almost entirely restricts these formations to static defensive operations. Consists of Infantry Battalions not directly supported by any heavy equipment, Mechanized Battalions equipped with BMP-1 IFVs and BTR-60s APCs, and Tank Companies fielding poor quality tanks
  • Syrian Militia - comprised of untrained local population called upon in case of an invasion to defend their areas from attack. Lacking even the most basic of training and equipment their capabilities are greatly limited. Consists solely of Infantry Battalions with no direct heavy equipment support
  • Syrian Unconventional Fighters - armed civilians and fanatics, loosely organized into combat teams using all means of warfare available such as improvised explosive devises, technicals, hit-and-run tactics, and light anti-tank weapons

Vehicles and Equipment included:

US Army - Stryker Brigade Combat Team:

Stryker ICV /w Mk19 AGL
Stryker ICV /w M2 .50cal

M1126 Stryker ICV Armored Personnel Carrier (2 variants)

A highly mobile primary troop carrier for the SBCT, capable of carrying 11 troops, armed with either a .50cal machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher, and armored to protect against medium-caliber rounds and artillery fragments.

M1132 Stryker ESV Engineer Support Vehicle

Designed to serve as the obstacle clearing vehicle for the Combat Engineers. With-in the scale of the game the ESV is effectively identical to the ICV.
  • Primary armament: Remote Weapon Station .50cal machinegun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher
  • Speed: 62 mph on road
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver) 9 passengers
Stryker RV/FSV

M1127 Stryker RV Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle

A modified version of the Stryker ICV which replaces 6 passenger spots with highly capable day-and-night imaging equipment designed to perform reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

M1131 Stryker FSV Fire Support Vehicle

Carries a similar surveillance suite as the Stryker RV, the FSV serves as the fire control station for forward artillery observers.
  • Primary armament: .50cal machinegun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun
  • Speed: 62 mph on road
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver) 5 passengers
Stryker MSG

M1128 Stryker MGS Mobile Gun System

Armed with a turret-mounted auto-loading 105mm gun the MGS is the main direct heavy fire support vehicle for the SBCT. While lacking armor to directly engage enemy tanks, the MSG is exceptional at neutralizing emplacements, bunkers, and armored support vehicles. Does not carry passengers.
  • Primary armament: 105mm gun
  • Secondary armament: .50cal and 7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 62 mph on road
  • Weight: 19 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Stryker ATGM

M1134 Stryker ATGM Anti-Tank Guided Missile Launch Vehicle

Armed with a turret-mounted TOW launcher the Stryker ATGM is the SBCT's primary long-range anti-tank weapon. Does not carry passengers.
  • Primary armament: 2x TOW anti-tank missile launchers
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun
  • Speed: 62 mph on road
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
Stryker CV

M1130 Stryker CV Armored Command Vehicle

A special version of the ICV, which replaces several passenger spots with an advanced communications suite and serves as the field commander's mobile headquarters. With-in the scale of the game the CV is included mostly for the sake of completeness.
  • Primary armament: Remote Weapon Station .50cal machinegun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher
  • Speed: 62 mph on road
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver) 9 passengers

US Army - Combined Arms Heavy Infantry:

M1A1/A2 Abrams

M1A1/A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (4 variants)

US Army's Main Battle Tank is a well armed, heavily armored, highly mobile, and designed to dominate the modern ground battlefield.
  • Primary armament: 120mm smoothbore gun
  • Secondary armament: 1x .50cal, and 2x 7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 42 mph on road
  • Weight: 61 tons
  • Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
M2A3/M3A3 Bradley /w ERA

M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (2 variants)

US Army's primary Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

M3A3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (2 variants)

Armored reconnaissance version of the Bradley IFV.
  • Primary armament: 25mm chaingun, and 2x TOW anti-tank missile launchers
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun
  • Speed: 41 mph on road
  • Weight: 27 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver) 7 passengers in M2A3 or 2 passengers in M3A3
M7A3 Bradley w/o ERA

M7A3 Bradley BFIST Fire Support Vehicle (2 variants)

The forward observation and fire control version of the Bradley - the dual TOW missile launchers are replaced with an electro-optical target acquisition system.
  • Primary armament: 25mm chaingun
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun
  • Speed: 41 mph on road
  • Weight: 27 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver) 2 passengers
HMMWV /w Surveillance system
HMMWV /w M2 .50cal

M1114 HMMWV Light Utility Vehicle (2 variants)

US Army's primary light utility vehicle.
  • Speed: 55 mph on road
  • Weight: 2.5 tons
  • Crew: 1 (driver) upto 4 passengers

Syrian Army:

T-54/55

T-54 / T-55 Battle Tank (3 variants)

A badly out-dated tank produced by the Soviet Union in the 1950s - employed by Syrian Reserve Armored units.
  • Primary armament: 100 mm rifled gun
  • Secondary armament: 1x 12.7mm, and 2×7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 30 mph on road
  • Weight: 40 tons
  • Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
T-62

T-62 Main Battle Tank (4 variants)

First built by the Soviet Union during the 1960s, on the modern battlefield the T-62s rank from poor to mediocre depending on the variant and the level of upgrades the they have received. Mostly employed by Syrian Regular forces.
  • Primary armament: 115mm smoothbore gun
  • Secondary armament: 12.7mm and 7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 28mph on road
  • Weight: 40 tons
  • Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
T-72

T-72M Main Battle Tank (6 variants)

Built in the 1970s, the T-72 variants range from mediocre to excellent performance on the modern battlefield. While out-dated variants are employed by Syrian Regular forces, the highly upgraded T-72 "TRUMS-T" which fields an excellent Italian-made optics and fire-control system is employed by the Elite Republican Guard.
  • Primary armament: 125mm smoothbore gun
  • Secondary armament: 12.7mm and 7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 37mph on road
  • Weight: 41 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver)
BMP-1

BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (4 variants)

Primary infantry carrier for the Syrian Mechanized units.
  • Primary armament: 73mm smoothbore gun
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun, and AT-4/AT-5 anti-tank missile launcher
  • Speed: 40mph on road
  • Weight: 15 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver) 8 passengers
BMP-2

BMP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (2 variants)

Primary infantry carrier for the Syrian Republican Guard.
  • Primary armament: 30mm autocannon
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun, and AT-4/AT-5 anti-tank missile launcher
  • Speed: 40mph on road
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Crew: 3 (commander, gunner, driver) 8 passengers
BTR-60

BTR-60PB Armored Personnel Carrier (2 variants)

Primary infantry carrier for the Syrian Reserve Motorized units.
  • Primary armament: 14.5mm heavy machinegun
  • Secondary armament: 2x7.62mm machineguns
  • Speed: 50 mph on road
  • Weight: 11 tons
  • Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver) 8 passengers
BRDM-2

BRDM-2 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle (2 variants)

Armored reconnaissance vehicle employed by all branches of the Syrian Army.
  • Primary armament: 14.5mm heavy machinegun
  • Secondary armament: 7.62mm machinegun
  • Speed: 60 mph on road
  • Weight: 8 tons
  • Crew: 4 (commander, gunner, driver, co-driver)
BRDM-2 ATGM

BRDM-2 ATGM Anti-Tank Guided Missile Launch Vehicle

BRDM-2 variant equiped with an AT-3 anti-tank missile launcher.
  • Primary armament: AT-3 anti-tank missile launcher
  • Speed: 60 mph on road
  • Weight: 8 tons
  • Crew: 2 (commander/gunner, driver)
UAZ-42

UAZ-42 Light Utility Vehicle

Light utility vehicle employed by all branches of the Syrian Army.
  • Speed: 60 mph on road
  • Weight: 1.6 tons
  • Crew: 1 (driver) 7 passengers

Syrian Unconventional Fighters:

Two 'technicals' and a taxi car

Compact Pickup Truck Improvised Fighting Vehicle (3 variants)

A 'technical' armed with medium or heavy machine guns, or an SPG-9 recoilless rifle

Compact Pickup Truck Light Utility Vehicle

Compact Sedan Light Utility Vehicle

Various Improvised Explosive Devices

Off-map Air and Artillery Support included:

US Army:

  • M224 60mm Mortar
  • M252 81mm Mortar
  • M120 120mm Mortar
  • M198 155mm Howitzer
  • M109A6 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer
  • M1937 82mm Mortar
  • M1943 120mm Mortar
  • A-10
  • F-15
  • F-16
  • OH-58
  • AH-64

Syrian Army:

  • Type 63 107mm Rocket Launcher
  • BM21 122mm Rocket Launcher
  • D30 122mm Howitzer
  • 2S1 122mm Self Propelled Howitzer
  • M46 133mm Field Gun

System requirements:

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP

Processor: Pentium 4 @ 2.6 GHz

Memory: 512 MB

Hard Drive: 1 GB Free

Video Memory: 128 MB (GeForce 5700/ATI Radeon 9600)

Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

DirectX: 9.0c

Keyboard & Mouse

CD/DVD Rom Drive (not needed for downloaded version)

Recommended System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP

Processor: Pentium 4 @ 3.2 GHz

Memory: 1 GB

Hard Drive: 1 GB Free

Video Memory: 256 MB (GeForce 6800/ATI Radeon x850)

Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

DirectX: 9.0c

Keyboard & Mouse

CD/DVD Rom Drive (not needed for downloaded version)

Add-on Modules

CM:SF - Marines

The first expansion module for CM:SF bring the U.S. Marines into the fight. Aside from new units, the module included a new, much more popular campaign and a number of standalone scenarios. The campaign follows the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) as they land on the beaches and fight their way to Damascus.

CM:SF - British Forces

The second expansion module for CM:SF features the British Army. The new British campaign and scenarios were also highly popular with the fanbase. Furthermore, CM:SF-BF added the U.S. Army Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) forces into the game as an added bonus for purchasers.

CM:SF - NATO

The third and final planned expansion module for CM:SF will introduce elements of the German, Dutch, and Canadian armies into CM:SF. The NATO module has been officially announced on 13 May 2010.

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