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.

Unit Choice

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.

Short-75 Rule
Included Excluded
M5A1 Stuart 37/884 M4A3(75)w+ 75/619 armor
M4 75/619 M4A1(76)w 76/793 gun
M4 Crocodile 75/619 M4A1(76)w+ 76/793 both
M4(105) 105/473 M4A3(76)w 76/793 gun
M4A1 75/619 M4A3(76)w Easy 8 76/793 gun
M4A2 (French) 75/619 M4A3(76)w+ 76/793 both
M4A3 75/619 M4A3(76)w+ Easy 8 76/793 both
M4A3(105) 105/473 M4A3E2 Jumbo 75/619 armor
M4A3(75)w 75/619 M4A3E2(76) Jumbo 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
M36 Jackson 90/810 gun
M36B1 Jackson 90/810 gun

Short-75 Rule
Included Excluded
Tank Gun Tank Gun Reason
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
Sherman V 75/619 Challenger 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
Cromwell VI 95/503 Comet 76/792 gun
Cromwell VII 75/619 Wolverine 76/793 gun
Cromwell VIII 95/503 Achilles 76/884 gun
Churchill VI 75/619 Archer 76/884 gun
Churchill AVRE 290/48 Sexton 88/610 gun

Short-75 Rule
Included Excluded
Tank Gun Tank Gun Reason
H39 Hotchkiss 37/705 Tiger 88/773 both
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
Panzer IVJ 75/790 PantherA 75/925 both
Wespe 105/496 PantherG 75/925 both
Marder II 75/790 PantherG late 75/925 both
Ostwind 37/820 JagdPanzer IV 75/790 armor
Wirbelwind 20/780 JagdPanzer IV skirt 75/790 armor
Hummel 150/460 Nashorn 88/1018 gun
Marder III late 75/790 PanzerIV/70(V) 75/925 both
StuH42 105/496 JagdTiger 128/920 both
StuH42 late 105/496 JagdPanther 88/1018 both
StuG IIIG 75/790 Flammpanzer - armor
StuG IIIG late 75/790 Hetzer 38t 75/790 armor
StuG IV 75/790

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.

Panther-76 Rule
Included Excluded
M5A1 Stuart 37/884 M26 Pershing 90/854 both
M4 75/619 T26E4 Super Pershing 90/97 both
M4 Crocodile 75/619
M4(105) 105/473
M4A1 75/619
M4A1(76)w 76/793
M4A1(76)w+ 76/793
M4A2 (French) 75/619
M4A3 75/619
M4A3(105) 105/473
M4A3(75)w 75/619
M4A3(75)w+ 75/619
M4A3(76)w 76/793
M4A3(76)w Easy 8 76/793
M4A3(76)w+ 76/793
M4A3(76)w+ Easy 8 76/793
M7 Priest 105/473
M7A1 Priest 105/473
M8 HMC 75/381
M10 TD 76/793
M18 Hellcat 76/793
M24 Chaffee 75/619
M4A3E2 Jumbo 75/619
M4A3E2(76) Jumbo 76/793
M36 Jackson 90/810
M36B1 Jackson 90/810

Panther-76 Rule
Included Excluded
Tank Gun Tank Gun Reason
Stuart V 37/884 none - -
Sherman II 75/619
Sherman IIA 76/793
Sherman IIC Firefly 76/884
Sherman III 75/619
Sherman V 75/619
Sherman VC Firefly 76/884
Badger (Canadian) -
Centaur IV 95/503
Cromwell IV 75/619
Cromwell VI 95/503
Cromwell VII 75/619
Cromwell VIII 95/503
Challenger 76/884
Churchill VI 75/619
Churchill VII 75/619
Churchill Crocodile 75/619
Churchill VIII 95/503
Comet 76/792
Wolverine 76/793
Achilles 76/884
Archer 76/884
Sexton 88/610
Churchill AVRE 290/48

Panther-76 Rule
Included Excluded
Tank Gun Tank Gun Reason
H39 Hotchkiss 37/705 King Tiger 88/1018 armor
Lynx (Pz IIL) 20/780 King Tiger Porsche 88/1018 armor
Panzer IVG 75/790 JagdTiger 128/920 both
Panzer IVH 75/790 JagdPanther 88/1018 armor
Panzer IVJ 75/790
Panther A 75/925
Panther G 75/925
Panther G late 75/925
Wespe 105/496
Marder II 75/790
Ostwind 37/820
Wirbelwind 20/780
Hummel 150/460
JagdPanzer IV 75/790
JagdPanzer IV skirt 75/790
Flammpanzer -
Hetzer 38t 75/790
Marder III late 75/790
StuH42 105/496
StuH42 late 105/496
StuG IIIG 75/790
StuG IIIG late 75/790
StuG IV 75/790
Tiger 88/773
Tiger late 88/773
Nashorn 88/1018
Panzer IV/70(V) 75/925

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)

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