Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Move, Strike, Protect - ArmA 2 AAR

In what is likely the most compact description of combat, J. F. C. Fuller distinguished three essentials in fighting: move, strike and protect.

It is when one of the essentials is missing that you value it. And adapt to the shortcoming.

This is a short AAR from a custom-made, single player ArmA 2 British Armed Forces (vanilla version) scenario. One Jackal vehicle has been destroyed by an IED. The crew of the second Jackal is under my command. Our mission was to secure the wreckage until the arrival of a QRF. We failed to achieve the mission's objective and barely made it alive.

The wreckage of the Jackal hit by an IED. At this point we received specific orders to secure the wreckage from incoming insurgents moving dismounted and on technical vehicles.

I immediately order my crew to mount our Jackal and I place the vehicle protected by the defile provided by a house. Note how the HMG on top has a view on the road to our left.

Another view from our first position, this one from the driver's seat. Just to show the wreck we have to secure (to the right, mid background).

Engaging the first insurgents worked fine for the first few rounds, but then their fire became more intense. Despite the great rate of fire of the .50 cal on top of the Jackal, our staying power is very limited because we lack protection.

We had to move due to the enemy fire and their continuous flanking attempts. From this particular firing position, we neutralized a few insurgents. But yet again it was time to move. We just could not spot or shoot back at many of them. I make the decision to pull back from our objective and try to approach it from a different angle.

Cruising around narrow streets in any vehicle with no infantry support is a bad idea.

But the occasional keyhole position offered some very profitable fields of fire. In this screenshot, the .50 kills a recoilless rifle technical vehicle and some infantry supporting it. As it has become the norm, the insurgents fire back forcing us to pull back.

The shouting and the noise of at least one insurgent vehicle nearby forces us to stay low. I leave two men in the Jackal to man the light MG and .50 cal and I take one man with me. We dismount and start to reconnoiter our way back to the objective area.
That's the point where the scenario's timer goes up. We failed to secure the objective until the arrival of the QRF.

In the context of Fuller's move-strike-protect essentials the Jackal vehicle is great to showcase an asset that packs a lot of strike power (the .50 cal) and mobility (lightweight, agile and fast). It severely lacks in the protect aspect (lightly armored, leaves some men too exposed).

Far from resigning ourselves to our lack of protection, we created some implicit one by relying in a combination of mobility and firepower. By moving around, we negated the enemy's ability to fire back and to flank us (their move and strike capabilities).

Our implicit protection almost vanished when we started to move through the streets. This was due to the limited and shorter fields of fire and the hampered mobility (choke points, limited speeds, etc).



badanov said...

Actually, close combat can be done to your advantage. Once you drop two or more in an insurgent squad, they tend to become risk adverse.

Also, whenever the AI experiences a sharp reverse, at least one member of the enemy squad goes into hiding and becomes a sniper.

Your response at that point should be to stop and let the remainder of the squad come to you, then begin the sniper hunt... by yourself.

Great AAR, BTW.

Gibsonm said...

Dare I ask ....

Since its the "British Armed Forces (vanilla version)", why are the Sergeant's chevrons upside down?

NW said...

Gibsonm: BIS's quality control has become steadily worse and worse to the current point where it is essentially nonexistent. The chevrons at bottom left of the screen are simply an icon indicating that the group commander is an NCO - which has no function in game, other than they decided to add it to the officers and NCOs because they had already added useful icons indicating who was a dedicated antitank specialist, machinegunner, or medic. Not a lot of thought went into it - so upside down chevrons are symptomatic.

Johan said...

The chevrons are not upside down, that is just the icon for the team leader, it's not specifically British, the same icon is always used to indicate the team leader.

And I don't know how anyone can claim that BIS's quality control is now "nonexistent". BIS is a whole lot better than most other game developers when it comes to listening to player feedback.

And the new early access mode of development adopted for Arma 3 has ensured that once the official release is reached, it is a lot more polished than would have been possible without this feedback.

Gibsonm said...

"The chevrons are not upside down, that is just the icon for the team leader, it's not specifically British, the same icon is always used to indicate the team leader."

Oh. I just would have thought that a "British Armed Forces" version would have them the "right way up" for British NCOs and SNCOs (that is, the reverse of the US system).

So "British" but not totally British?

Johan said...

It's not really an indication of NCO/SNCOs. Anyone that is in charge of a group will have this icon, regardless of rank (or lack of rank, if the team leader is a civilian).

That icon is just part of the general UI, showing information about the roles of team members (sniper, team leader, medic, MG, AT, driver, gunner (for vehicles) and so on).

These icons are always the same, regardless of which units are currently being used.

RangerX3X said...

Nice write-up. Interesting to see you dip back into ArmA 2 after your involvement in 3... Regarding the third screen capture from the top, where the Jackal is effectively in a hull down position using the wall as cover and concealment, could the weapon (if AI controlled) actually fire at a target on the other side of the wall? I remember there being an age-old issue with BIS and the inability for infantry to fire over sandbags (of all things) and wondered if it manifested itself in a somewhat similar situation.