The Maxim in Long Range Covering Fire subject logo: MILGAM
Posted by: badanov

One of the things that you will find in Combat Mission is that sound infantry tactics really do work well even if you prefer push around Soviet troops such as what we do.

Tactics such as a cover advance formation where a small element of a rifle platoon will find a generally well concealed firing position and then cover an arc where the rest of the unit will advance, loaded and aimed downrange ready to provide covering fire for exposed comrades.

The best types of weapons for providing covering fire are the DP/DPM machine gun, which will provide a strong burst of automatic fire in case the rest of the platoon comes under fire. The DP/DPM is a good choice in an advance primarily because it is light and moves as fast the any rifle squad.

Obviously with its great weight and the sheer size of the crew ( 4-6 ) the Maxim is ill-suited to cover a rapid infantry advance, because it is lumberingly slow, plus it takes the crew about 35 seconds to setup.

Set up on the Maxim means finding a good place to set the gun up, getting it set in the ground, getting the gun layer to search for targets, the porters and the feeder working to get the belt ammo fed in, locked and loaded, to say noting of the spotter scanning for targets and directing fire after the crew chief gives the order.

In an advance where your only cover may be a wheat field or low bursh, that crew is vulnerable, and likely to take severe hits before even firing. And add to that that the Maxim will jam at least once during a scenario, you have a lousy candidate for covering fire in an infantry advance.

All this is not to say the Maxim has no role in an infantry adavnce, it does assuming the crew has enough line of sight.

Historical Soviet doctrine says the Maxim's optimum range is 150 to 400 paces, between 250 and 600 meters. In Combat Mission the max range for any rifle unit is about 460 meters, while the Maxim can range out to about 800 meters.

The Maxim is not there to do tremendous damage although when the 7.62x54(r)mm round hits it is bound to hurt, but rather to keep opposing units alert to their very mortality should they decide to open up on Soviet infantry.

The DP/DPM is not a good choice at these ranges because it's max range is about 460 meters, thus making the Maxim a good ( but, not the only ) choice in covering an advance.

In clear weather, about 600 meters is the optimum range for the Maxim. From that range, it can hit, but it is immune to most counterfire except for the German MG43 7.92mm crew-served machine gun. A Soviet rifle squad that is pinned down by German fire can recover enough morale to safely seek cover if the Maxim can cause the troops firing on the rifle squad to duck. That is usually all it takes.

The Maxim will not move with the troops. The Soviet player shold find a good firing position and keep the Maxim there. the Maxim will attract enough attention with its own tactics, but it is never a good idea to move the weapon once a decent firing position has been found. Let the DP/DPM crews advance with the troops.

An additional tactic that works well in an adavnce is for the Maxim to fire on towed anti-tank guns. German players like to use an anti-tank gun such as the venerable PAK40 (75mm ) to fire on advancing Soviet infantry. If a Maxim crew can pick up the gun in the early parts of the game, it can pick off crewmen one by one until the gun is abandoned.

Yes, there is a chance the PAK will find the Maxim and initiate counterfire, but the PAK usually also has even biggger problems in dealing with advancing Soviet infantry, and Soviet armor.

So, don't disregard the Maxim as a choice in any advancing scenario. It ain't fast but it does have reach and it does provide the enemy with dead Kammeraden. And that's the whole idea.

If you have something to add, Fire Away!

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