Thursday, October 4, 2012

ArmA 2 - How Much I Hate Reverse Slopes!

I am having a great time with James McKenzie-Smith's British Army Platoon. It is a mission he kindly shared with me and it features his impressive ArmA 2 mission editing know how. This mission includes an British AI platoon, support units (mortars, close air support and heliborne transport) and a quick command menu that allows to dynamically establish  rally points, stop and resume units' movement towards a waypoint ... and more.

A lot of people to command in this mission and not all are pictured here ... My forces are actually a Plt(-) of 4 fire teams (2 sections), a 2 man medic team, marksman and spotter plus a GPMG with a crew of 2. I have indirect fire support and 2 A-10 circling around but I will not call them today.

The mission for today is to clear the village of Sultansafe, which is under the control of insurgents. 

A mission like this could use an extra platoon. There are many tasks to perform, the first one being isolating the objective. I am a bit short in man and fire power, so I decided to waive that and put all my men into the assault task. The approach route was chosen because the hills offer some defile in case the tactical march goes awry, the vegetation west of Sultansafe provides some modicum of concealment and enough space for 30+ men in the assault position. Moving directly north would mean an early assault through 500+ meters of relatively open terrain. A right flank approach would have been good too, in my opinion. But I always choose left when in doubt!

The tactical approach march was mostly uneventful. We could spot some hostiles approaching from the NW but they quickly got out of sight into the village. A missed opportunity to catch some insurgents in the open ... That's why you isolate the objective, I guess.

Once in the assault position, some 200 meters west of Sultansafe we started to assemble for the assault into the town. We were interrupted by enemy fire coming from the village. Another folder for the lessons learned cabinet: an assault position with just good concealment is prone to both kill plans and men. Assault positions need good cover.

Fortunately, by the time we got fired upon, my men were already deployed and they quickly dispatched the insurgents.

Moving ahead for the assault on the village. One insurgent position could not be neutralized and I was forced to use some smoke to deploy the GPMG. 
That guy with the GPMG is Cpl. Martin. You may argue that he was a tad exposed, but he had an excellent field of fire. There is a fire team already moving forward on our left (blue and white icon).
A map view of the assault. Each circle is either a fire team, the GPMG team, the sniper team (located in the hill west of the town) or the medic team. Note how I divided my assault force in two (two fire teams north and two fire teams south). I was trying to avoid the open terrain in the crossroads. Also shown here the way points for each team. These can be plotted, deleted with two keystrokes and a click. But most importantly, its is as easy to have your teams to move or stop on their planned route. This thing James did is just incredible!

My two fire teams in our left (north) flank were wrecking havoc among the insurgents, so I let them loose beyond the crossroad (up to their way points 2). Not so for my two fire teams on our right (south) flank. Multiple enemies engaged ... I could see them moving away (southeast) from us.

Redeploying the GPMG towards our right (south) flank. Always remember that suppression is a full time job and must be provided by weapons not involved in the assault (i.e. the two fire teams right behind me).
Under the careful watch of the GPMG, I advanced along the two right (south) flank fire teams toward the western edge of the village. We killed an insurgent that was just withdrawing towards the west.

With just a toehold on the village, me and the right flank of the assault forces were still on the west side of the road that bisects the village from south to north (see map above, way points 2 and 4). The terrain on the other side of the road quickly sinks in a relatively steep slope. As we advanced and descended through that terrain feature our luck went also downhill.

Intended or not (the insurgents were slowly retreating after all), the enemy caught us emerging from the road piecemeal and with not enough muzzles to counter our poor odds. As if we were cresting a hill towards a reverse slope. I had to rely on smoke grenades to buy us some time. I got the last shot ...
... But unfortunately, LCpl Murphy (on my left) got shot and killed. Screenshot taken after completing the mission.
This screenshot is to show how the terrain slopes down east of the road. Screenshot taken after completing the mission.

That smoke grenade I threw after the shit hit the fan should have been used a few minutes earlier at the critical point of showing ourselves to the bad guys down the hill.



Anthony "Desdinova" Mercando said...

Did you consider using the houses on the south side of the hamlet to form a base of fire? During a nasty firefight we took shelter there once, wasn't too bad. Decent sight lines if I recall.

Nonetheless, nice job clearing it out. About how many insurgents did you have holding down the settlement?

davidei said...

Very cool, thanks for the write-up. Did James make this mission available anywhere else, like on the Bohemia Interactive forums or

Jayson Ng said...

Hi. Is this easy to port to other missions and use with a different platoon?

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, gents.

Desdinova: I haven't tried that and I will. I am a bit scared of doing that because all my troops are AI and you know how that goes in built-up areas. I counted 7 enemy KIA (mission features random numbers of enemy hombres).

davidei: I don't know if this particular one is out there. I will ask James.

Jomni: it is easy to cut and paste into other map/mission. But changing the platoon itself I haven't tried. I will have James to answer this one too.


Anthony "Desdinova" Mercando said...

Should be as simple as changing the unit from BAF to USMC or US Army or whatever. Should you want to do a REDFOR or INDEPENDENT platoon, you should be able to copy the init lines over. Or the unit names (Not the descriptions, the box above and right of the init field)

kylania said...

Sure hope this mission comes up for download somewhere. It looks great.

JC said...

Hello and thanks for your comments.

James told me this will be available in the near future. Link will be provided. I'll certainly let you know.

I will try what Tony said.