Monday, February 8, 2010

Tank-Infantry Teams in ARMA 2: Securing a Foothold in an Urban Area (Part 1)

This is a brief after action report (AAR) of a USMC tank section-infantry squad team tasked with  securing a foothold in the port town of Chernogorsk.

In a previous entry I mentioned how the USMC never uses tank-infantry teams in open areas where tank-pure formations can perform best. I also mentioned that the Marines are more likely to use tank-infantry teams in urban terrain. This is a story of what happens at the interface between both types of terrain.

The mission: secure a foothold into Chernogorsk. I'm in command of a tank-infantry team composed of a 2 M1 tanks and one rifle squad.

  • In more military-specific terms, the mission is to "secure" the crossroad labeled with a circle in the image above. At  any field manual of your liking, you will find that "secure" involves not only preventing the enemy from occupying the objective but also preventing the enemy from observing and firing into it. Pop quiz! Is this a terrain-oriented mission or an enemy-oriented mission? Grab any real Marine and ask him, and he will lecture you for hours about this. :) But I'm digressing ...
  • The enemy strength is likely an infantry platoon reinforced with a tank platoon, heavy machine guns (HMGs) and probably some anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).
  • Taking into consideration that I have less resources than the enemy, I will execute this mission in two steps. 
    • Step 1, "the flanks business": scout the flanks, try to force contact and stabilize them (make sure our flanks are no longer threatened, "1" labels in the image above). This is more an AI exploit than anything else and I am not sure if it would be valid in real life. ARMA 2's AI have this feature (?) of not staying put once it makes contact. So, I'm expecting the enemy infantry to start moving towards us after the first contact. The other enemy assets (tanks, ATGMs and HMGs) are stationary defenses, though.
    • Step 2, advance towards the objective. Through the most direct avenue of approach. It's not fancy, it is dangerous and in the end it killed me.
  • The target reference points (TRPs) in the image above are actually to help the readers' orientation through the narrative. However, in my limited online experience, setting TRPs beforehand helps a lot in coop matches if you play "mucho macho" (no map allowed) style like I do.
Stay tunned for the second installment.



Anonymous said...

Once again, excellent writing. I look forward to Part 2.

Have you ever done any tactical decision game scenarios?

Semper Fi,

Phaeden [USMC]

Anonymous said...

Also very much looking forward to Part 2.

Pls hurry !

Rgds, Koen

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, Phaeden and Koen.

Part 2 is up. I have to warn you, the end of this story is very anti-climactic!

@ Phaeden: spot on, I have some of those in my sight. So many things, so little time! :)