Monday, July 13, 2009

ArmA 2: Meet the USMC Fire Team (Part 3)

Summing up the situation at hand:
  • The insurgents at Kamenyy are 3-4 men strong and they have one DShK. This heavy machine gun packs a lot of punch for both its ground and anti-aircraft role.
  • Under my command, a USMC fire team.
  • Our mission: neutralize the defenders at Kamenyy
In the map below (make sure to click it for a better view), the courses of action (CoAs) I came up with.

  • (Arrow labelled 1 in the map) This is a "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle" type of frontal assault. I tried it a couple of times and all I achieved is getting my Marines chopped to pieces by the DShK. My attempts to move the AR into a position from which he could suppress the enemy position always ended in him being spotted and killed. Without the fire support of the AR, moving down with the AAR and R as a sort of assault buddy-pair was impossible.
  • (Arrow labelled 2 in the map) The insurgent enemy position has an inviting dead space provided by the high ground on its south flank. I managed to get my fire team as close as tens of meters of the enemy position by using this covered and concealed approach. But I lacked the commanding skills to surprise the enemy: every time they spotted us, the situation degenerated into a chaos fueled by minimal ranges of fire, the insurgents' unintended tactical savvy of not staying put when their position is under fire and that damned DShK which can shoot through flesh, sheds and un-clever plans.
The two plans above were conceptually flawed. Although my fire team has the guns and the guts, four men fire teams rarely can provide themselves with enough security and support for an assault. That's why fire teams are not really intended for independent assault. The real Marines know well about the fire team shortcomings and they sometimes cannibalize some fire teams to provide extra guns to another. There are even advocates for six-men fire teams within the Corps.

  • (Arrow labelled 3 in the map) Put some distance from the enemy position and attack by fire. No frills, no thrills, just get the enemy position out. Please check below for more details about how it worked out.
I pulled back my fire team and moved NW, hidden from the enemy by a steep hill that crests at a dirt road. Then we pivoted NE and stopped just short of the hill's crest.

The uphill battle is actually on the other side of the hill, Marines! Click the image for an expanded view.

I ordered the fire team to hit the dirt, hold fire and wait behind me. I crawled forward to get a visual on the enemy position.

Not getting noticed. The enemy position is behind those bushes. Image is clickeable.

There is something funny in ArmA 2: even when your physical eyes cannot see something up front, your virtual eyes can. It is slightly disturbing to hear your virtual character say "Enemy man at Kamenny" when actually you cannot see it in the monitor with your own eyes. I like to call these spottings "faith-based" (thou who believe without seeing ...) but I'm not complaining about them because they are loaded straight into your fire team's list of targets. Which is great given what I discussed in a previous entry: your responsibility as a fire team leader is to control the fires of your team. The Marines deem fire control drill to such importance that they gave it its own tongue-twister: ADDRAC.
  1. Alert, prepares the crew to receive and execute a fire mission
  2. Direction, when it is not obvious
  3. Description, what is the target
  4. Range in meters
  5. Assignement, who fires what onto which target
  6. Control, when to start firing
Besides not being in the receiving end of a real DShK, we virtual Marines have an advantage over the real life Marines: most of the ADDRACing is done automatically by the computer. Of the list above, only 1, 2 (to a certain extent), 5 and 6 need real input from us. Once your virtual character declares a target, all the info about it is automatically available to the other fire team members. "Faith-based" spotting turned out to be a blessing.

Back to the battlefield, I was prone in the crest of the hill with all the targets spotted. I was really thrilled that the enemy was not aware of my presence. Putting some distance between the enemy and us appeared to be paying off. I alerted my fire team on the other side of the hill ("all, danger"), gave them a direction ("all, look in that direction") and ordered them to hold fire so they wouldn't give away our position. I ordered the fire team to crawl forward ("all, stay low") and assigned each fire team member with a target. The AR and the AAR were assigned the DShK (just to make sure) and the R got one insurgent. When the fire team came back to me with their "target acquired" messages, I felt a mixture of joy (for the fire team working as a well oiled machine) and fearful anticipation (what would happen if our volley fails? It was good to be far from the enemy, but we were still in the open!)

Got ADDRAC? Image is clickeable

I then gave the "open fire" order to the fire team. A USMC fire team worth of hot lead headed down the hill. Unscatched by the first few rounds, the DShK turned towards us sputtering some rounds which fell short of our position. I could see the SAW rounds peltering around the DShK until destiny catched up with the soul manning it. The enemy heavy machine was gone and finally I could breathe with ease. The insurgents around the DShK tried to move away, but were cut down by our fire. One of them took refuge behind a metal shed and never came out of it. I'd bet he was shot-through by the SAW.

Being a FTL doesn't mean you can't have fun. Do some shooting! Image is clickeable

Fireteam rush down the hill. Mission accomplished.

It all happened in a matter of seconds and in certain ways felt like sucker-punching. Who said wars were supposed to be fair, anyway?


UPDATE: I left one image out in the original post. Added now.
UPDATE 2: I miss-named an arrow. Corrected now. Thanks Greg!


Todd said...

Excellent AAR! Thanks for sharing.

Michael Llaneza said...

Fair fights are for suckers and television.

JC said...

Todd: Thanks for the kind words. Really appreciate your feedback and I still owe you switchining the pics of the AAR/R in a previous entry.

Michael: Thanks for your comment. Spot on!

Cheers and thanks again,

GregP said...

I think you mean "Arrow labeled 3 in the map" in your third bullet, right?

JC said...


Thanks for your comment.

Indeed! Crap I need more coffee.