Monday, January 18, 2016

More on "Turning the Time Flank" - ArmA 3

One year and a half back, I introduced you to the Robert Leonhard's concept of the so-called "temporal flank", which can be turned by attacking the enemy at a time when he is not fully deployed to engage. In this blog entry I explore the concept at the lowest tactical level.

These screenshots are from plain vanilla ArmA 3, using custom made missions.

Repeating from that blog entry, in Fighting by Minutes (page 6), there is a summary of the premise of the "time flank"

An Army's lines extend only so far to the right and left. It has a certain finite depth as well. But an Army also has temporal limits that define its influence: an army is not always strong. There is a period of time before the army is ready to fight, and there is a period of time after it is no longer ready to fight. These boundaries in time represent the army's "time flank". The commander who learns to "turn the time flank", so to speak, will consistently overturn enemy defenses.

Let's start by ourselves. Don't get your time flank turned by getting caught not deployed/ready for immediate engagement.

Weapon up! Everything you watch at can be shot at immediately.
In this scenario, I'm a lone operator engaging 4 CSAT special forces patrolling a built up area. The amount of cover is enormous and offer plenty of opportunity to engage just one enemy at a time. In this case, the rear enemy operator is about to get it. After I kill him, the rest of the patrol can't shoot back at me.

Still figuring out a better position to shoot at me, this CSAT operator is not deployed to engage me. Another kill.

A third CSAT operator comes back towards my position but I have my weapon at the ready and I can shoot at him faster than he can do anything. The remaining CSAT operator runs away and I never fin him.

In the above example, thanks to the terrain, I could avoid being confronted with a fully deployed enemy patrol. I've turned their time flank, by not letting them deploy as a fully functional unit.

In open terrain, chances are that the enemy will be able to deploy at once against me. There is a modicum of cover provided by some rocks here and there.
In real life, a good idea for a first strike would be the officer in charge and leave the enemy force without a leader. In ArmA 3, as soon as I kill the leader, the second in command takes over immediately.
Off course, as soon as I dispatched the enemy officer, the full remaining patrollers delivered volley after volley onto the rocks in which I was taking cover. Despite being deployed to engage me, they were focused in my last known position. So I moved out of their sights to the other side of the hill and gained a slight advantage out of them aiming at my old location. It was neither nice nor easy. Yet it worked.

In this second example, I could not avoid being confronted with a fully deployed enemy patrol. But I took an infinitesimal advantage of their original deployment and turned their time flank again.



Anonymous said...

This is an interesting concept at this level being the smallest possible unit size. I think at this level it's fairly synonymous with the element of surprise. A well trained squad out in the bush (or urban area) needs to be well-trained in their quick reaction drills. They should be constantly aware of possible ambush points and angles.

One offshoot of this idea, could be that you might also gain the same "time flank" advantage by an attacking enemy. Attacking units will often have their eyes on the prize and will be pushing toward their objective and leaving cover. This may leave them susceptible to counter-attacks, especially to their flanks... or wherever their guns are not pointing. Multi-unit cohesion is essential for success!

I think it's really cool how you tried to illustrate this concept! It got my tactical juices flowing, JC!


Anonymous said...

...and I forgot the mention the importance of a formation in these circumstances! The proper formation can drastically minimize the disadvantage a unit(s) may be in.

badanov said...

My target priorities when I have enough time to make them are: machine gunners, grenadiers, medics, snipers and riflemen, then leaders.

You consider formation, but you must also consider how, and from what direction to attack what formation. A straight up flanking attack at 90 degrees to column formation route of advance works, but it has its dangers since the patrol can deploy as they are and effect their counterfire as a broadside, if you will.

Hitting a patrol head on or in the rear, or 0 degrees to its route of travel yields benefits in that the elements cannot readily deploy to bring all their weapons to bear. It is also harder to prepare the fight in you are attacking.

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, fellows. I am thrilled that my entry triggers some nice discussion. You are spot on.