Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ArmA 3 - Modern Peltasts, a Tale of Infantry Hunting Tanks - AAR

A peltast was a type of Greek light infantry that fought in open ranks and in a skirmish role. According to Archer Jones' famous classification of ancient combat arms, the peltast was one of the three types of "missile infantry" the Greeks had at their disposal. The peltasts would throw javelins at the compact heavy infantry formations and disrupt their cohesion. At the sign of any trouble, the peltasts would flee at high speed without the hindrance of heavy armor equipment. Centuries later, a NATO anti-tank infantry team finds itself sharing the same strengths and weaknesses of the warriors of ancient times.

This is the debrief for a custom-made single player ArmA 3 mission. I made every member of my team playable, to increase enjoyment and control over my forces. I used this old trick to be in charge no matter which position I was playing. For more details about this mission, please check my previous blog entry.

#1 (foreground) and #2 depart towards the road that connects Dorida and Chalkeia. The objective is to reconnoiter the terrain ahead. #3 and #4 are left near the vehicle.
#1 and #2, concealed at a tree line near the road. An enemy wheeled vehicle can be heard in the distance, possibly an enemy patrol.
The enemy vehicle (to the left, moving through the paved road) turns out to be a Marid on a patrol route. To the left, #1 can be seen hiding. The enemy vehicle quickly moved out of the team's line of fire.
As the enemy Marid armored vehicle appeared to be the only patrol blocking the movement towards the objective area #1 and #2 shadowed it on foot, sometimes coming too close to its path (note the paved road on the left). The terrain didn't cooperate sometimes, like this rocky cut in the hills.

Besides gaining information about enemy patrols, #1 and #2 had also the task of observing the terrain to be used in the movement towards the objective area. The enemy tanks are supposedly moving behind that hill in the far background. To the whole group's dismay, the majority of the terrain is open, offering little cover and concealment against the enemy attack helicopter. A patch of wooded terrain on the left was chosen as an assembly area from which to choose an ambush position. From this vantage point, #1 and #2 can observe the attack helicopter (to the right, in the far background; you may need to right click and open this picture in a new window to see in full size).

From the ad hoc observation post, it was possible to destroy the enemy patrol vehicle. This is #2 firing a Titan AT missile, which destroyed the Marid instantly. The firing position, although in the open, has a great cut in the terrain that offers plenty of cover and can be used for a quick withdrawal.  The enemy made the crucial mistake of patrolling with the infantry mounted, which resulted in the total loss of their patrol.

#1 and #2, observing the attack helicopter (far background, near the coast line). At this point it was decided that the attack helicopter would have to be under constant observation in order to provide early warning for an assault team.

The attack helicopter was found to be cycling a series of waypoints along the enemy tank's path. The few minutes that the helicopter spent with its sights on the wrong place were relayed to #3 and #4, who dully used them to creep the Warrior armored vehicle to the wooded patch mentioned before. The decision to move forward with the armored vehicle was carefully debated among the team members and it was concluded that the HMG would come in handy to fight off the enemy infantry if they decided to pursue us.
The spotting of #1 and #2 allowed #3 and #4 to move unobserved. The Warrior vehicle was placed in good cover and concealment. #3 and #4 now face the difficult task of engaging the enemy tanks by themselves. Unaware of the location of the targets and forced to move on foot, they suffer the same lack of speed issues #1 and #2 had to catch up with the enemy patrol.
#1 deploys a Darter UAV to gain the required intel about the targets.
This is the view from the controls of the UAV. 

This is the view from the target acquisition/turret position of the UAV. The road likely to be used by the enemy on its way towards Dorida is the one in the middle background, right above the targeting cross.

The UAV has an FLIR mode which is quite sensitive. This is the Warrior vehicle viewed from it.

The UAV quickly finds the enemy tanks. They had already moved up and are taking positions near Dorida.
Another view from the UAV, without FLIR.

Thanks to the UAV intel, #3 and #4 move in for the kill. All of the sudden the concealment of the trees ends. The open terrain is bad news for these guys and they request a quick confirmation of the whereabouts of enemy infantry.

#3 and #4, as seen from the UAV.

Bad news. Enemy infantry is joining the tanks. The destruction of the enemy tanks will require some very tight shooting.

Other enemy infantry squads are also observed in the distance. They are too far to interfere.
By this time, the UAV is running out of batteries and is recalled back to #1's position. Note #1 and #2 on the right of this image.

#1 landing and recovering the UAV.

#1 finishing up the packing of the UAV.

Some kilometers away, #3 and #4 move in for the kill. That town in the background is Dorida ... They are too close to it.

With just a couple of feet open in the line of fire, #3 fires up a Titan. The enemy responds with fire within seconds. 
The enemy fire severely disrupts the team cohesion. Withdrawal routes are forgotten and #3 and #4 get separated. #3 runs with an enemy infantry patrol on his heels.  In this picture he found a patch of vegetation and he gets ready to check a map. This is the last thing he will ever do.
#4 finds his fallen comrade and fights off an enemy two man patrol. He grabs the Titan launcher and decides to carry on, unsupported.
A few minutes later, #4 manages to approach the enemy's rear. He fires an AT missile, which flies in between the pine trees and impacts a T-100 enemy tank.
The enemy tank blows up. Chaos ensues among the enemy infantry.
Although #4 tried his best at withdrawing right away,  an enemy wheeled vehicle unleashed cannon fire which injured our man. In this picture, #4 withdrawing towards the Warrior vehicle. Note the smoke billow in the background. That's the enemy T-100 #4 just destroyed.
With great effort, #4 reaches the Warrior vehicle. He will drive his own ambulance: #1 and #2 are still half way to his position (remember they are on foot).

#4 asks the other team members to stop moving towards his position and requests a last check on the attack helicopter. The helicopter has left the area when the tanks reached their destination at Dorida. With the area apparently clear, #4 drives the Warrior like he stole it. 

#4, now in the safety of friendly-controlled territory, waiting for #1 and #2 to rejoin.
#2 (foreground) and #1 (big backpack is the UAV), walking back towards the departure line.
What a mission! Although we didn't achieve the two-tank kills required and we suffered one casualty, I am writing this one off as a win. As many have commented in my previous post, this mission was a long shot and maybe I was just too lucky.



Filippo said...

Thank you for posting such a well done AAR!

Carlos Ribeiro said...

What a mission, indeed.
I said u would need luck ;)
The mounted infantry and a totally useless helicopter were important in your victory.
I did not know you have a UAV, great asset.
But you have balls to get so close to two enemy tanks and stay cool.
The use of the warrior was a nice touch.

Gowan James Ditchburn said...

I think this is a victory. four guys manage to destroy an apc (is it an apc?) and a tank lose only one of their own and avoid destruction by a helicopter certainly a victory. destroying both tanks may have been too much of an ask.

but by the sounds of it the AI in arma 3 is not as ridiculously accurate or intelligent (well when it comes to figuring out where you are) as those in ArmA2. is this the case do you think?

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, folks.

Gowan, I don't see any improvement or worsening of the AI from ArmA 2 to ArmA 3.


JC said...

Thanks for your comments, folks.

Gowan, I don't see any improvement or worsening of the AI from ArmA 2 to ArmA 3.