Sunday, November 25, 2012

Insurgency in the North Caucasian Federal District - War Stories From the Front Lines: # 6 Improvised Building Top Entry by Russian Vityaz

Vadim Obukhov, a Captain of the 604th Red Banner Special Purpose Center explains how his 4-men team stormed a building with an improvised top entry.

This story is from game play of an ArmA 2 Operation Arrowhead custom-made mission. This mission takes the very lacking indoors combat capabilities of ArmA 2 to the extreme. I made every man of the team playable to get them and move them inside buildings. In addition, after much effort I couldn't figure out how the hell to have a mortar to drop smoke at a specific location. So I had to fake/script smoke deployment with a trigger (an Alpha radio call).

The insurgents were either few or very elusive. A couple of previous cordon and search operations resulted in just very scared civilians. The insurgents' posture seemed very bold a few weeks before -they have set
roadblocks in a couple of locations- but at the time of this operation we could barely catch up with them. In that sense, finding them was a victory itself. Corralling them in one building, like that day a few policemen and a detachment of Army infantry did in Novopavlovsk was an amazing feat. By that time, we thought that our deployment to Mineralnye Vody was intended as a facility security issue. Everybody in my team has served in infrastructure security deployments at various units of the MVD. Finding out that we were there for more than watching the perimeter of an airbase was very exciting.

We were transported by helicopter from Mineralnye Vody to Novopavlovsk. After our arrival and a very animated discussion with the local police chief, it was agreed to entrust me the command of the inner perimeter of the building where the insurgents had barricaded. We discussed the matter in our usual Russian way: loudly, and with threats of boss-phone-calling flying back and forth. I guess we had a boss that was higher in the food chain. I don't hold any bitterness to the police chief, he and his men proved their worth holding up against serious firepower ... Same goes for the Army captain who arrived half and hour after the police shootout. The Army soldiers had deployed an outer perimeter and were on the watch to avoid any of the insurgents escaping.

The insurgents were located in the last building of a row of multi-story, Soviet-era housing project. The entrance of the target building is just in front of that car in the background.
I conducted a thorough scouting of the target area to confirm the police and Army observations. In this picture, the target building  is the first one across the street. I did observe an insurgent MG position in the second floor and that the front entrance was rigged with explosives. During one of my movements I was fired upon and the tracers had quite an angle, like coming from the roof. Unfortunately, the buildings and trees blocked most of my attempts to observe the roof of the target building.

I sent the sniper to the nearby hills and from his position he did observe movement on the roof of the target area (just below the green aim marker point in the screenshot, right-click and open on a new window for a better view).
The view through the sniper's scope. The roof of the building had scattered debris (metal pipes) and the heads of at least two insurgents were seen. The two insurgents were well covered by the pipes and taking them out from the distance was deemed not feasible.
We had no explosive ordnance disposal personnel at the time of the mission and the possibility of all the first floor entrances being rigged too was very likely. The presence of insurgents in the roof convinced me that it was not likely that the roof access point has been primed with explosives. So I decided to enter and clear the target building from the top.

The plan was to clear the roof of the target building with fire from our machine gunner (fire support "team") and then access the target building from the rooftop entrance and clear it (assault team, a rifleman and me). Both teams were to perform their missions from the same row of housing project.

The entry plan, first part. The target building is numbered 1.  The MGunner was to eliminate the insurgents by fire from the roof of building 3. The smoke was to be provided by an Army mortar.
The entry plan, second part. With all insurgents likely eliminated from the roof of building 1, the assault team was to move from building 2 and enter the target through the top.

The roof tops of these buildings are very flat and lack any type of cover. Except the one of the target building -Murphy's laws of combat apply-. In this picture, the machine gunner gains access to the roof of building 3. Note the smoke on the roof of building 1.
The view from the MGunner's scope. The shadow of an insurgent can be seen within the smoke. Note the zeroing of the gun (100 meters), just to make sure that the tracer-less rounds are falling onto the barely visible targets. 

The assault team, inside building 2, waiting for the clear signal from the MGunner.

There was no shooting back from building 1, the smoke cover was quite effective.

After the MGunner's signal, I moved with the assault team to the roof of building 2. The roof appeared to be clear, but I got fired upon by an insurgent in the top floor. Fire came through that top-floor window. One of the rounds made it through the wall and  hit me in the chest.
We threw smoke and fired with the hope of getting this insurgent out of the top floor. Unfortunately, we didn't seem to get him.
My team mate was ordered forward into building 1. To move across the void between the two buildings we had to improvise. We used a sturdy metal plank that was scavenged by a police officer from a nearby children playground. I was left behind (background) because of my injuries.
Not in the original plan, but the MGunner was called forward onto the roof of building 2 to provide the very much needed manpower for the final assault.
The MG, with its higher caliber rounds, provided better firepower to deal with the insurgent in the top floor.
The view from the MGunner's position on the metal plank. One more insurgent down.
The newly assembled assault team at the entry point of building 1. They lobbed some grenades through the hole but everything was very quiet.
Clearing the building was extremely slow. This is the MGunner checking out the insurgent he likely took out from the plank.
Although his weapon was cumbersome to carry through this close quarters environment, the MGunner was kept on point. Firepower rules.
The last insurgent was found and dealt with at the second floor.
The building was cleared within an hour and a half after our arrival to the scene. I was treated for my injuries at the spot. The ordnance disposal team arrived early in the evening and neutralized the insurgents handy work with little problem.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a pretty cool mission. Will you be posting it somewhere?

Max said...

Thanks a lot for this. Can you tell me if your used any particular script to make the AI better inside building. I ve seen on BI forums and Armaholic that many have been done to make the AI better move inside building and patrol and search houses.... And yes I'd also like that sometime you could post a link so that the reader of this great blog can play some of the exciting Missions or Scenarios you develop... Cheers, Max

Unknown said...

Max: Try UPSMON scripts first, or install ASR_AI (I'll drop the links)

UPSMON runs however you want it to (It overrides player commands in-game, however) and has options to fortify positions in buildings, set up ambushes, patrol, and a bunch of other useful things for mission makers.

ASR_AI is an overhaul that scales unit efficiency in the field based on values it assigns so that SF troops are way tougher than Takiban militiamen in combat. They'll search houses and set up in them if they feel it'd be useful. They'll rearm from ammoboxes and deploy smokescreens effectively.

As for the mission, I posted a comment last night but I seem to have failed to click publish.

All in all, good thinking on how to make this work, as most players would've just relegated themselves to losing a man entering the front door or something. I'm really digging this series and I look forward to seeing the next one.

As for the smoke screen, I do think I have a mapclick barrage script somewhere. If I find it, I'll e-mail it to you.

Unknown said...

Good stuff Anthony.....thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wrt mortars firing smoke missions: Arma2 doesn't feature any smoke rounds for the AI-crewed M252 81mm and 2B14 82mm mortars. The mortars can fire HE, WP and ILLUM.
For smoke, use the M109 or D30 howitzers.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As you play the scenarios do you just play in the leader character or do you hop into the other guys to make sure theyre positioned properly?

JC said...

Thanks for your comments and pointers. Anthony, that's great stuff. I am definitively checking it out!
Sorry I can't post this stuff anywhere ... I don't like releasing stuff without some sort of minimum guidelines and playtesting.

I played this moving from character to character on the Russian side. I used that script line that James McKenzie posted a while ago. Search for "be every soldier in the squad" on this blog. LMK if you want a link to that blog post.