Thursday, June 20, 2013

ArmA 2 - The Infantry's Fight in Mechanized Warfare

The last Steel Beasts ProPE scenario ("Flank Attack") I played and blogged about left me thinking about how intimidating the mechanized warfare battlefield has to be for the infantry.  Do you remember how as a tank commander I had to abandon a great fighting position because of enemy infantry remnants were taking shots at us? Eventually, the enemy infantry was evicted by two platoons of panzer grenadiers.

In this custom-made single player ArmA 2 scenario, I command a platoon of US troopers (cavalry scouts on M2A3s) against the remnants of a Takistani Army mechanized platoon. Pretty much like in the Steel Beasts ProPE scenario, the Takistany Army unit has lost its vehicles to a combination of direct tank fire and indirect artillery fire. The US Cavalry tanks have moved away, weary of the enemy infantry remnants who have fired ATGMs at them. It is our task to clean up the enemy infantry from their position ... This is the desert, the terrain can't be more open.

The enemy position is now defended by infantry. Plenty of MGs and, more worrisome, ATGMs.

These men have nowhere to go and are determined to put up a fight.
Our line of departure, the Bradleys will stay in an over watch position. The AI gunners of the Bradleys can't shoot their way out of a paper bag ... The range to the enemy position is around 1,200 meters, but the AI gunners can't see any target. If humans would be aiming those auto cannons, the story would be different.
In the open, completely exposed, advancing towards the enemy. We started this as a frontal movement towards the enemy but a few minutes into this, we found out small folds in the terrain that would provide us a modicum of cover and concealment. So, I veered towards our left with my squad as point and pretty much every other asset over watching us.
With my as point, my squad eventually makes it within 350 meter or so from the enemy position (hill with destroyed vehicles, background). Not a single shot has been fired yet.
The enemy is split in two positions, each one a hill. The one shown here is a secondary position. My proximity is relatively good, I can now make individual enemy weapon systems.
I move forward my best shot (the MGunner, background) and we both start picking enemy targets. We give priority to enemy MGs, ATGM crews and RPG-holding infantry. The enemy fires back, sometimes with lots of determination. But our gunnery devastates the enemy.
Enemy infantry fleeing from the secondary position towards the main position.
The main enemy position has plenty of targets, which we engage easily. It's a nasty cleanup on the exposed slope.
Regrouped and moving ahead with my squad. All other assets of my platoon (blue icons) are way back by now (background).
Even in open terrain, I find it very useful to keep my infantry in column formation. In this screenshot, we are advancing towards the exposed slope of the main enemy position. I can hear enemy troops on the reverse slope.
Note the enemy in the reverse slope, around the destroyed BMP-2.
After trying to destroy the enemy with a couple of grenades, I order the two squads that were providing cover to maneuver towards our left and deal with the enemy infantry. They succeeded, but there were a couple of scary moments when the enemy fired rockets against my men.

My squad and me continue to move on the exposed slope, keeping our ears open for noises giving away any enemy remnants.

And we find them! An enemy team (red icons) is on the reverse slope, hidden by the hulls of a destroyed BMP-2. My squad (green diamonds) is the closest to the enemy. The two other two US squads (blue icons) are on the other side of the hill. They don't have a good angle to engage the enemy right now.
And this is the last screenshot before I started moving up to the crest of the hill and got my head shot off from below my helmet. Instant death. An enemy infantry man was just changing positions and got a lucky shot. I will never know what happened to my men, I guess.

And that's how it ended for me. For the US side, no casualties but me. The enemy in real bad shape.

It was nice to try the weapons in open terrain. The targeting systems of the US have a serious edge and that showed up when we shot the enemy from the distance. I didn't even try to use the Bradleys. The ATGMs that the Takistanis have in this mission are deadly at ranges up to 900 meters or so.

I was surprised how at the mission start and from a distance, I didn't see terrain features like folds which, although not very big, were significant. I also was surprised at how close you can get to the AI enemy, open terrain and all, and take advantage of your side's better gunnery.

Now, if a platoon of Takistani T-72s would have appeared somewhere ... I think I would have crapped my pants!



badanov said...

Arma 2 is such as cool game.

Nice AAR!

Gowan James Ditchburn said...

well done. although you died I think your pals would have dealt to your killers.

it would be interesting to see what a military strategist would have done. what you did was smart but its hard to know if it would have really worked. the Bradelys should have fired but hey thats a problem with the games coding and cannot be changed (though perhaps its can... not sure)

and if some T-72's turned but your best hope is that you could have ran back to your Bradleys before they T-72's got to that hill (assuming they came the opposite direction to what you did).

its a little known fact that the Bradley's antitank capabilities are excellent (though not sure for the game as I mostly use British and Czech stuff)

Colin Coulter said...

I would be reluctant to move in a straight column where the enemy could have MG's.

Its a pity the AI AFV gunners cant be ordered to "area fire" or given "suppression" orders.

Getting a better firing position would have been easier if the enemy had their heads down.

Marco said...

Good AAR, count that you were fighting takis with bad training, put some russians and the result could be more bloody for blue force, but not too hard although in front of good blue mech inf. It was a good flanking maneuver, it's nice to find in a seemed perfectly plain desert that there is some imperfections that make vital cover.

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, fellows.
Ditto to Gowan on the Bradley's AT capabilities. Dude! You need to see that on Steel Beasts ProPE! When you need to reload the TOW tubes, you may think differently, though! :)

@ Colin: I agree with you. I just was scared of my subordinates wondering on the crest of the hill.

@Marco: LOL. That would be great. I tried to do this with Russians as the OPFOR,but the stock maps were too close ... Do you know of a map that offers at least 2 km of LOS without being a desert?


Carlos Cavalcanti said...

Wow! Amazing AAR, JC! I enjoyed even more the fact that you played an honest game. You died, you died, even though you had a perfect mission so far. I became an instant fan, and hope to play with you in the future. Cheers mate! Keep it up!