Saturday, September 24, 2011

ArmA 2 Operation Arrowhead - Dead Space Can and Will Kill You (Part 2)

This is a continuation of a previous entry. Today, how I set up the fields of fire of my team and why it didn't work.

All the way back to ancient times, if there is a thing that has been taken face value in tactical warfare that is high ground. However, even the most simple and widespread accepted principles of tactical combat need to be taken within a context. High ground is advantageous for the defender only if he holds fire superiority against the targets below. It's simple geometry: from high ground you have wider fields of fire and you can acquire a lot of targets ... But you can be targeted from a lot of places too!

In that line of thought, I placed my team in the high ground but I positioned every man in a way that would avoid them to be targeted by massed enemy fire.

Machinegunner. He can acquire targets in the kill zone (note the road in the distance) but the rocks protect him from fires coming from enemy forces away from it.

Marksman. With this one I went overboard: his field of fire is way too narrow.
Our assault specialist has grabbed an AT weapon in all the haste of our departure from FOB Georgia. Again, his field of fire is purposely cut by the rocks. He can target the kill zone but can be shot at from enemies to his left.

I positioned myself where I could see the enemy advancing. Everybody in my team was holding fire. We wanted the enemy to be into the kill zone before giving away our location.

The kill zone ... And the killing. One insurgent is falling victim to a headshot.

Tactical ebb and flow: some insurgents were pulling back and others were determined to continue pushing towards the village. I decided that we would greet the second wave in the same way like we did with the first.
Four minutes into the firefight ... Turkey shoot so far. Then a few timid tracers flying over our heads. A crescendo of rock pieces lifted from the natural walls in front of us. Then the realization that the enemy had already many rifle muzzles pointing at us, and that they were getting hot. We were not suppressed, hell no. We were being shot back, and even when this was the natural way these transactions of violence work, I felt something was out of place.

And that thing was my lack of attention towards our left and blind flank. I was supposed to cover that and any correction by now turned out to be too little and too late.

This is me trying to get a grip on our left flank. Enemy fire was now more intense and moving along has become trickier. Note how I am blind to anything moving in the left reverse slope of our position.

Deep tactical caca, gentlemen ... We are outflanked.
Shooting back to the enemy in our rear. A firefight that ended up taking my life.
Unable to coordinate the fires of his team, SGT JC dies by the swift sword of close combat. Hectic moments followed up in the hill,  one more SOF men dead. The two remaining men in the team managed to withdraw towards the village.

The glaring error of not keeping good security on a defensive position aside, there was also something that the team leader has failed to keep track on: enemy fire. I will not argue that there is such a thing like a language of tactical combat, but I maintain that a good team leader needs not only to hear the enemy shots but listen to them. There is a meaning in the volume of enemy fire ... Suppressed ... Firing with only what was left of the fireteam  ... Great base of fire deployed, we will start maneuvering ... The US team leader knew that his position was easy to flank if he couldn't get 100% of the enemy forces into the kill zone and once the enemy is firing at you, they are unlikely to move into your weapon's optics.



Mike said...

Good lesson learned.

The importance of mutually supporting teams...or lack thereof.

Every time you do one of these tactical vignettes, I get the urge to fire up ArmA AH. Then I realize how much I dislike the game - poor game controls, sluggish movement, the insane amount of micromanagement involved.

I wish ArmA had the command system of Steel Beasts. Much more tactics, with better control over elements and easier to give orders

glaterza said...

Really Good Post! Mike is right, two fire teams with interlocking fields of fire would do.

Or, anyway, being a lone 4 man team with a block/delay task, you can engage and then withdraw to a secondary, wider position.
maybe you can´t block, but you´ll delay, make the enemy prematurely deploy, and your higher gets to know what´s going on! :)

Jin said...

Looks like you were more likely to run out of ammunition in that scenario, JC. Mind giving us the enemy force composition? I might want to replicate this.

It's a tough situation, however. Small-scale kill zones/fire sacks are tough when you lack anything to confine their movement. Especially situations where your enemy outnumbers you and leads with a forward team as cannon fodder.

Keep up the good work, JC!

Kiwi said...

good job, but apparently the enemy commander did better. :)
I think when there is so much disparity in numbers must be assumed that we will be flanked. And our deployment has to try to force the enemy flank to where we want.

You use any voice command software?
I am currently using PiLfIuS!
It has its limitations but is simpler to use the keyboard to command.

- Google translator FTW! -

hola JC
buen trabajo, aunque al parecer el comandante enemigo lo hizo mejor. :)
creo que cuando hay tanta diferencia numérica hay que asumir que vamos a ser flanqueados. Y nuestro despliegue tiene que tratar de forzar el flanqueo enemigo hacia donde queremos.

Usas algun software de comando de voz?
Actualmente estoy usando PiLfIuS!
Tiene sus limitaciones pero es mas simple que usar el teclado para comandar.