Command Ops 2

Command Ops 2

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Basic Guide for Command Ops 2
By Bie
If you just picked up Command Ops 2 I recommend taking a look at my Quickstart Guide first.
 
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Setting up your game
To start off with I'm going to look at some assorted things like the general user interface and the counters on the map. Off we go then...

User interface
It might not look like it, but the UI is remarkably customizable. Every dialog box can be placed anywhere on the screen and in some cases multiple boxes of the same type can be opened up in order to compare units.

This screen is just an example of how I like to place my dialog boxes and set up my game in general. Please zoom in twice to get a good view as this is quite an elaborate screenshot.

When opening new dialog boxes, they all pop up in the top left corner. It is advisable to keep the boxes you frequently use open and in fixed places. Less frequented dialog boxes can still be opened up and closed at will ofcourse. Keeping your map tidy and structured will help you on your way to better understand the game. In the end deciding what to place where all comes down to personal taste. So, experiment and see what works for you.

There are also a couple of options concerning how the game shows you its counters. This is how I set up my options for playing the game:
As you can see, I also turn on the Auto-scale option. Notice that when zoomed out smaller units like platoons will also be shown with smaller counters. If you zoom out enough, this will also happen with companies. And if you zoom out all the way only higher level HQ's will be shown in full. This is a handy feature to keep your map clear and uncluttered.

Counters
Ah, the humble counter. A small package with a lot of information. To get a better grasp what is going on in the battlefield it is important to understand what you are looking at. With some familiarization you should be able to "read" them in an instant, leaving more time to focus on the bigger picture.
Counters have specific background and text colours. They not only indicate what country the counter belongs to, in some cases it shows which branch or service it is from. In some scenarios it is possible you'll have different coloured counters at your disposal.

Generally for the mayor nations the following colour sheme is applied:
  • British Army: Light brown background and dark red text
  • German Army: Grey background and black text
  • United States Army: Olive background and black text
Different services and branches of these nations will have their own colour code though. As evident in the next example.
Notice the unit Type Symbols for K Squadron and the 10th Company. Both have the Armour symbol, but K Squad has an AT symbol mixed with it and 10th Company an infantry symbol. It is a refinement of the basic symbols from above, resulting in an Armoured AT platoon and an Armoured Infantry company. There are quite a bit of units type symbols then. I've limited myself to showing the most used ones ingame. Check out the manual[forums.lnlpublishing.com] for a more detailed list.
Finding the enemy - Intel and Line of Sight
Central to any conflict is the fact that two sides are opposing eachother. In order to come out on top, you'll need to actually find out where the enemy is and who you're fighting.

Intel Reports
Command Ops 2 doesn't have fog of war. Emerging troops are shown as intel reports. If an enemy unit gets spotted it gets put on the map. If your units keep contact its position will constantly be updated. Once the enemy unit goes out of sight, the game keeps the last known location of that unit on the map, leaving its counter at that location.

In the taskbar at the bottom of the map you can cycle through some filter settings:
The use of the Intel Filter button will quickly let you get a clear grasp on what units are present and what units have moved on.

Knowing the location of the enemy is one thing, knowing who they are is another. Let's take another look at those enemy units from earlier. Notice that one counter has a name: "HQ.20". This means that our forces have such a good view on it that have completely identified it. In this case the information about its position and composition will be very accurate. Other counters have no name, but still might be identified quite well, just not good enough to specifically say which unit it is. The reliability depends on the weather and how far away your units are in relation to the enemy units. It is entirely possible that a unit gets vaguely spotted and gets identified as an armoured car company. But when getting closer your troops get a better look at it and it might turn out to be a unit of heavy tanks.

Once your units get close enough to an Intel Report two things might happen. First the enemy unit is spotted again in the vicinity and the position of its counter will be updated. Or the unit is nowhere to be seen, at which point the counter will be removed from the map.

Bottom line is: Be wary of basing your plans on vague and old Intel Reports!

Line of Sight
On to Line of Sight as it is something closely tied to spotting the enemy and recieving Intel Reports. In Command Ops sight degrades over distance and is affected by weather as well as terrain features like woods and urban areas. The LOS tools can be found in the Tools dialog box. There are two ways of measuring visibility, namely the LOS Tool itself and the LOS Area Tool.
The difference is obvious. One tool uses a line, the other uses an overlay. Most of the time I prefer the LOS Area Tool as it gives a nice overview of the overal visibility of a position. I'll explain this in more detail in the following example.

Simply put: Looking out of woods doesn't obstruct your view as much as looking into them. As you can see, Command Ops 2 emulates this very well.
Fighting the enemy - Units and orders
Now that we can see the enemy and have identified his forces. Let's take a closer look at our own troops and delve deeper into what we have at our disposal.

The Force dialog
To start off with we click on a unit on the map and then click on the "1FD" button on the taskbar. The Force dialog box will open up, giving us all the information we need about the selected unit. Keeping the Forces dialog box opened up while selecting other units will allow you to quickly get a look at their stats as the dialog box will automatically refresh each time a new unit is selected.
Notice that the Force dialog box itself has a couple of tabs. Clicking these will give you even more information. Default the "Gen" (General) tab is open. It will give you a nice overview of the unit and its capabilities. The "E&S" (Equipment and Supplies) tab shows in detail what equipment a unit has. It is useful to keep track of what is still left of your equipment, especially if you are commanding Mechanized or Armoured companies.
All in all A Company 3 Parachute Battalion in our example above has seen better days, but it is still in decent fighting shape. Morale is still quite high and cohesion is excellent. Its Vickers machineguns might have been destroyed but the rest of its equipment is in good working order.

Note that the company is equiped with three mortars, yet it does not have a bombardement value in the General tab. This is because these mortars are solely used within the company. The unit will use them during the engagement of the enemy but you can't explicitely order it to bombard as it is not a desgingated artillery unit.

Now let's turn our attention to A Company's battalion HQ. Clicking on an HQ unit and looking at its state in the Force dialog box is basically the same as any other unit. It does show a bit more information about its command though.

As a last example let's take a look at an intel report of an enemy armoured company. In this example we take a look at the 2nd Company of the 506th Heavy Panzer Battalion. Note that the Dynamic Indicator Bars are quite low. This company must have taken a beating as Personnel, Equipment and Cohesion are all low. Morale on the other hand is still very high, so watch out as this unit might still be surpirsingly effective. Also note that none of the bars have any dark blue parts. As this is an enemy unit we are not sure what the normal capacity of this unit is. Hence no dark blue bars.
Much as is the case with your own units, you can check the Equipment and Supplies tab of enemy units. Here will be shown what kind of equipment your forces have spotted, or thought to have spotted as this might not always be correct. In this example the Intel Report is probably quite accurate as intel is rated as Excellent. As you can see above our forces have spotted three Tiger II tanks, so caution is still advised! To get a complete picture of the effectiveness of an enemy company it is also important to take a look at its equipment, especially when dealing with armoured companies.

In the end if you want to have any chance in defeating your opponent you have to keep your units in fighting shape as best as you can. The trick is keeping your Dynamic Indicator Bars in good order, while disrupting them for the enemy's side. Easier said than done though, but with enough familiarization and practice you'll get there I'm sure.

Orders
How can we exploit all this new knowledge? Simple, we should displace or destroy the enemy's units. And we do this by giving our own units orders. Giving orders allows us to manipulate the flow on the battlefield, to hopefully sway the tides of war to our advantage. Wheter things go our way is largely dependent on giving correct orders.

Orders are given through the Orders dialog box. Just click on the "Ord" button on the taskbar and It will pop up. Each order can be given through shortcut, but it is alway nice to have the dialog box tucked away somewhere.
Notice that two orders are greyed out in the Orders dialog box. Those are the Construct Bridge and Exit orders. They are both only usefull in very rare and specific cases. The two middle orders which I didn't highlight are the Delay and Withdraw orders. I rarely use them and won't go into any detail with them in this guide.
Translating orders to the battlefield
First example: Night-time assault on an AA Battery
German Forces have invaded Crete. You have command of a Glider Borne company that is tasked with the elimination of a couple of British AA Batteries. The unit is operating deep in enemy territory and can't count on any reinforcements. At the end of the first day though the company has already eliminated one emplacement. The rest is still to follow.

As you can see, even a seemingly simple attack can be quite involving and complex. On to the next example.

Second example: Capturing and unpriming a bridge
Operation Market Garden is upon us. Commanding a battalion of US Paratroopers it is up to you to capture a couple of vital bridges. The bridges will probably be guarded and are assumed to be primed for destruction. A quick assault is needed to seize them. Once this has been achieved a company of Engineers will be available to help unprime the captured bridges. The battalion will need to deploy in defence of this.

Let's slow down for a moment and take a look at our situation. We have about two hours of daylight left, but one last bridge eludes us. One last attack should do it. Up until now all of the crossing points have been taken without opposition. The last one is defended though.


All in all the plan worked like a charm. Our battalion is deployed at the bridges and the operation can continue unabated. Keep in mind that attacking primed defended bridges is always a gamble. Yet most of the you time don't really have any other choice but to attack them. You can however sway the odds to your advantage by keeping the defender's heads down and making their life as miserable as possible. Do this by bombarding them or shelling them from long range. The enemy will only try to blow the bridge when you are assaulting the crossing. So when that finally happens the likelyhood of them blowing a bridge are quite low.

Notice that during this example I use a mixture of Attack orders with the Secure Crossing option and Secure Crossing orders in itself. The reason for this is that the Secure Crossing order should only be used if you are certain that the target location is safe. Units that have been given this order will not be ready to attack the enemy. The advantage of this order though is that your units will not tire themselves out as much and will not lose as much Cohesion as compared giving them an Attack order.

Claiming victory - Scenario objectives
Fighting and destroying the enemy isn't necessary the road to victory in Command Ops 2. Each scenario has objectives that need to be achieved. Most of the time you are tasked to seize or defend a vitally important position. The various objectives in the scenario reflect this. In some cases you'll be hard pressed to accomplish all of your objectives. Therefore it is up to you to prioritize and formulate a plan to achieve overall victory.

It is advisable to review you objectives before actually starting to play through the scenario. Taking a look at the objectives and the scenario briefing will give you a general feel of what needs to be accomplished and will help you in planning ahead. The "Obj" button on the taskbar opens up the Objectives dialog box and the "Brf" opens up the Briefing dialog box.

The Objective dialog box lists all of the scenario's objectives and shows you how important each one of them is, as evident by the values next to them. Clicking on an objective in the list will show more details, like its duration and what you need to do to achieve it. When an objective is selected in the list it will highlight itself on the map and its radius will also be shown.

A couple of the most recurring objectives are:
  • "Destroy the Enemy":
    Quite straightforward, you need to destroy a percentage of the opposing side. Do this by eliminating Personnel or Equipment or just by wiping out entire units. Victory points are awarded depending on how much you destruction you cause.

  • Secure objectives:
    These most of the time have both a Occupation and Completion parts. Occupation victory points are gained by keeping units in the objective radius during the start and end times. The longer you retain the objective the more points you will recieve. Completion victory points are awarded in full if you hold the objective at the end of the scenario.
    These objectives can be contested though. In which case you'll need a 10-1 superiority in combat power to actually claim the objective. So beware as one lone enemy unit can keep you from securing your objective.

  • Exit objective:
    Any unit that goes through an Exit objective will give you victory points. These units will leave the map, so be carefull you won't be able to use them any more. Just moving your units to an Exit objective is not enough though. An Exit order needs to be given for them.

So how do you know how well you are doing during the game?
A part of the Controls dialog box shows the sway of the battle. If the needle is pointing straight upward it is a draw. If it is pointing to the right you are winning, to the left you are losing. The amount of deviation from the center accounts for how much you are winning or losing. Don't be fooled though, it is the outlook of the battle at that very moment. Given enough time this can still change quite a bit. So don't focus to much on this while playing through the scenario.

One more thing to remember is that your side's objectives don't always match the enemy side's objectives. While it is possible that both sides have objectives on the same location it doesn't necessarily need to be so. And as you can only see your own objectives, you are left guessing as to what the opponent's objectives are.
Assorted tips
Here are some assorted tips that will make your life easier while playing the game:
  • Pause the game:
    Yes, I know this is a real-time wargame, but pausing the game to issue orders or survey the map won't make you less of a commander. If things get to hectic, slow down or pause the game. In bigger scenarios with multiple fronts this is almost a necessity. Pressing the Spacebar will pause the game, pressing it again will let the game resume again.

  • Opening a second Force Data dialog box:
    It is possible to open a second Force Data dialog box. This will enable you to quickly compare two units. Just select a unit, then shift-right-click that unit, choose "Force Data" from the dropdown menu and a new dialog box will pop up.

  • Keep Cohesion and Fatigue in check:
    Doing anything other that standing still will result in Cohesion loss and Fatigue gain. Cohesion is fickle and can both be lost as well as gained pretty quickly. Fatigue on the other hand tends to build up quite slowly, but will stick around for longer. Not resting your troops enough is generally a bad thing to do.

  • Make use of "blanket orders":
    At the end of the day I tend to reattach most of my units, especially the ones that I'm not going to use throughout the night. If you reattach units to their superior HQ's they will probably scoot off to places you don't want them to go to. To stop them from doing this I give the superior HQ an order with the "In-situ" formation. This means that units will execute the order in their current locations. This is what we call giving a "blanket order". If your superior HQ has a In-situ rest order for example any reattached unit will take a rest on the spot.
Closing notes
Here we are again at the end of another guide. Together with the quickstart guide you should now have a definite foundation to play Command Ops 2. Be wary though that the game still has quite some intricacies left in it. Like the supply chain, reinforcements, using ad-hoc groups and much more...

But I'm confident that with some perseverance most of you will be able to find your way in Command Ops without to much trouble by now. So what are you waiting for? Fight your way through the North African desert, head into the Greek hills or cut your way through the Ardennes forest.

Some useful links:
The Command Ops 2 manual[forums.lnlpublishing.com] - All details concerning the game can be found in the manual. It is a hefty tome, but it explains just about everything of the game.

The official Command Ops 2 forums[forums.lnlpublishing.com] - Feel like discussing the ins and outs of the game? This forum is full of veteran wargamers. Don't let their grizzled appearance fool you, they're actually really nice people ;)
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7 Comments
Txema Mar 9 @ 8:38pm 
Another vote for a PDF edition !

Anyway, great guide, thank you very much !!!
bazjak Feb 27 @ 4:58pm 
Realy great
Thanks
Pity you couldnt do this as a PDF
Sgt. Steiner Jan 1 @ 9:32pm 
Also interesting that you can use Aggro with max ROF to get in close before firing. Pretty subtle orders are possible.
Sgt. Steiner Jan 1 @ 9:27pm 
Thanks. I thought prioritizing Ammo/Fuel/Basic supply for a unit gave them freedom to use assets to the max. Don't know why I thought this. But thanks for the clarification.
Law&Order Jan 1 @ 9:51am 
great stuff, also for returning players, thanks!
Mowgli Dec 28, 2017 @ 1:42am 
Really awesome work, Bie! I can hardly fathom how much time and work went into these pictures. You're really cutting down on the complexity that new players are facing, making the game much more accessible.
tommy.w Dec 27, 2017 @ 5:59pm 
Fantastic as usual... Thanks Bie