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Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

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  • [AAR] Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

    After some heavy fighting at Crossroads Watchtower on Indar, I inherited the platoon lead from MisterCris (hope I've got that right). What followed was a lot of fun.

    We had two squads that were about 80% TG members for the entire night, with Vhaelun and MrJengles as Alpha and Bravo lead, respectively. It started off with a frantic defense of Xenotech labs against a big TR zerg, followed by Regent Rock garrison. They brought roughly the same amount of troops to the fight, but had access to substantially better vehicle assets and were able to use them to overtake us at Regent Rock. Alpha squad focused their efforts on A point to stall for time, and Jengles took bravo squad back to the warpgate to pull air assets. Jengles' rapid switch to air allowed his squad to rapidly clear away the tanks and sunderers the TR were using to press their advantage, and with that gone we quickly drove them off.

    Bravo squad, with most of their air assets down, then switched back into an infantry squad, and we loaded up into two Sunderers to assist the friendly zerg in retaking Xenotech. Alpha pressed in on the point while Bravo set up a firing position northwest to cover us from the expected armour push. Noticing the limited field of view in that terrain (those trees block everything) we decided to send Bravo up to the big rock on the northeast of Xenotech to provide fire support from on high. Using a galaxy brought from warpgate, they were up there along with their MAX assets within a couple minutes, and would proceed to provide fantastic fire support for the ensuing fight. The only hangup was when enemy air was able to unroot them from there, but another gal drop with burster MAXes in tow solved that issue. Alpha took up a forward position and would be sparring with the TR there for some time before a TR ghost cap on Regent Rock would divide our attention again.

    Alpha continued to hold that front line while Bravo redeployed to stop the back-cap. Once that was dealt with, Bravo came back around with the intent of setting up in advance of a push on Broken Arch. However, someone noticed that the TR were massing at TI Alloys, and we quickly redeployed to the hills at the south to deal with them. Bravo arrived first and destroyed the 3 or 4 vehicles that were pushing along with a considerable wave of infantry, and then proceeded to suppress the enemy. Alpha soon arrived and I ordered them to push on the suppressed enemy positions while Bravo supported them. We then leapfrogged the squads forward towards TI Alloys alongside the zerg.

    The fight at TI Alloys was hectic and brutal, like it usually is. Seeing that the zerg was well entrenched from the southwest, I had Alpha creep up along the east side of the base while Brave flanked far to the north so that we could get the fight going from three sides. We closed in on them, but the TR were putting up a hell of a fight and it took five or ten minutes to finally breach the control room and lock them into their spawn. They weren't done yet, though. Prowlers and infantry were firing from the cliffs of the Crown, and an armour push came across the bridge. We repelled the armour push easily, and I put Alpha and Bravo into firing positions south of TI Alloys to cover the bridge. We then moved to take the hill south of the Crown, with Alpha moving under overwatch from Bravo, and the Bravo moving in with overwatch from Alpha.

    While I initially intended to take the Crown, a quick look at the map revealed that the Zerg had that well in hand, but that the TR were pushing hard on Crossroads. Indeed, we could see massed enemy infantry, with sunderer and armour support, on the hill to our southwest, overlooking the Crossroads Watchtower. What followed next is probably my favourite moment from Planetside 2 so far.

    I ordered Bravo to advance on the hill while Alpha provided covering fire. Bravo started plowing through the enemy opposition as soon as they took the hill, and I ordered Alpha to break from their supporting position and join us as we pushed east along the hill. We swept over it in a wave, taking out tanks, infantry, and sunderers in short order, until we'd completely cleared the hill of the one or two enemy squads in front of us. Then, with a secure grasp on the high ground, we turned to our south to look down the Broken Arch canyon. The TR were making a heavy armour push through there.

    We were in the right place, at the right time, with the right people and the right equipment. Cohesion was perfect, and we turned every anti vehicle weapon we had to the south. The result was pure carnage. We wiped out squad after squad of TR vehicles. Tanks, harassers, sunderers, you name it, we blew it up. And they just kept COMING, to our collective delight. They never made it past the big rock that they have to turn past to get to Crossroads. It was just a withering wall of AV MANA turrets, Raven MAXes, and heavy assault missiles. We must have taken out four squads of TR armour right there. The TR weren't happy about it, either... at one point BWC sent a full Galaxy to drop right on top of us in hopes of catching us off guard and retaking the high ground, but we saw it coming and both squads reacted quickly and effectively, and they barely made a dent. We continued to push up towards Broken Arch as the zerg finally showed up. Alpha took point and pushed into the main base while Bravo provided cover fire from the eastern hills and stopped the TR from taking the high ground.

    And it continued to get better. Bravo squad continued along that eastern hill until they'd reached the rocky cliff overlooking both the Tawrich Depot that the zerg was going to have to punch through AND the Tawrich tower. They then spent the next thirty minutes or so causing hell for any TR unlucky enough to be riding in armour. The position was perfect, and they rained down death and destruction on an enemy armour column caught in the open. And again, they just kept coming, and many certs were had. The TR made several attempts to unroot Bravo using drop pods and snipers, but nothing stuck.

    At the same time, Alpha was ordered to pull back from the Zerg and attack Gravel Pass, which had become a viable target via the other rush lane. E-male would be familiar with the path they took to assault the base, using the somewhat hidden path through the mountains between Gravel Pass and Broken Arch. They took Gravel Pass without much trouble from the TR, and then pushed in towards Blackshard Iridium Mine. My hope was that we could take the Tawrich Depot and Tower, and in conjunction with the southeastern Tawrich satellite that other NC units had opened up, surround the Tech Plant on three sides. Alpha ran into stiff resistance at Blackshard in the form of a TR armour squad, but made a steady effort and eventually took control of the base.

    Unfortunately, the TR gathered their strength and pushed back on us hard. Alpha squad at Blackshard was pushed back by an enemy platoon and Bravo's murderous anti-tank position was demolished by a squad of six Mosquitos, in the absence of any significant AA or friendly air support. It was time to regroup.

    We started by retaking the high ground around Broken Arch, which was now under heavy TR attack from the south. Knowing that the armour from the platoon that took Blackshard would soon be rolling in to Gravel Pass, we took up an advantageous position on the cliffs to the west of the base. Right on cue, the armour rolled through the canyon, and once again we ripped them apart from above. This time, however, we did not have a significant infantry presence on the ground below and what was there was overrun by the infantry that managed to survive our ambush. We briefly considered finding our way down the cliff to stop them, but Broken Arch was falling, and we figured that to be the higher priority.

    We made our way back to Broken Arch on foot and made a fighting retreat back to the hills northeast of Crossroads Watchtower that had served us so well earlier. We planned to take their new assault head on in the exact same way. This time, though, the TR were reluctant to push. I'd like to say that we'd intimidated them with our relentless vehicle destruction, but the truth of the matter is that the zerg had set up an armour blockade further up the road and they were unwilling to push their luck too far. We still killed a few vehicles from here, but we needed to push in further to really engage with them. We shadowed the zerg on its way in, and this got us involved in probably the hairiest fight of the night.

    The TR were deeply entrenched in Broken Arch. They had armour backing them from the south road, sunderer support, and a platoon or two of people crammed into that tiny base. We had roughly equal population, but it was brutal close quarters combat and the cliff walls prevented our armour from surrounding and containing them. It took a long time to push through, with our initial attempt on the capture point successful only to be overtaken in a massive TR counterattack. Eventually, though, we did push through and take the base, and the battle never stopped as the same TR fell back to Tawrich Depot, then to the canyons and gullies to the south and west of the depot, and then finally to the Tech Plant itself. It was an utterly fantastic, messy fight. Then I realized that it was 1:00am (3:00am for all you East Coasters!) and went ahead and folded up the platoon for the night... after such an epic and hard-fought victory, I think I'd be hard pressed to find a better note to end it on!

    There was also an awesome personal combat moment for me in there I feel compelled to share. During the assault on Broken Arch, I drop podded just around the corner of a building. When I ran around the corner, there were some five TR there, with medics healing and topping off other soldiers. I threw a sticky grenade onto one of the medics and hid back around the corner. After it went off, I rushed back around and took out the four remaining people there with my Warden and--after my battle rifle had run out of ammo--my pistol. It could only have been more awesome if the last kill had been with my knife after my pistol had run out of ammo.

    Even though, as the Platoon Leader, I was spending a lot of time looking at the map and scoping out positions rather than firing on the enemy, I ended up with a 60-22 kill-death ratio by the end of the night, even AFTER having crashed midway through taking TI-Alloys! I can only imagine how high the scores must have been amongst the SLs and squad members who were more actively focused on fighting the enemy. I think we must have taken out between 100 and 200 vehicles, all told.

    • Squads with a high percentage of TG members are super coordinated and effective. Who'd have thought!
    • Taking high ground with a clear field of fire is so much of an advantage it's utterly amazing. I'm no stranger to using the terrain to get an edge over the enemy, but I was still shocked at how good use of the terrain allowed our small, 24 man platoon to absolutely and utterly wreck large forces of armour.
    • Being willing to rapidly change the role, position, and transportation method of a squad is a significant tactical advantage. Jengles turning his infantry squad into a one-shot air squad comes to mind, since it was so effective at nullifying the enemy's overwhelming armour advantage. MrJengles did a fantastic job of getting Bravo into tricky spots or into wildly different specialist roles as needed, and it gave our small platoon a lot of added flexibility.
    • Remember to bring AA when you're operating away from the main group. We got burned on this two separate times when our anti-armour overwatch was taken out by enemy air because they didn't have anything to deter them with.
    • In a lot of instances tonight we were having the two squads use bounding overwatch to move or assault, and it worked really well (hey, I guess those military guys actually do know what they're talking about. Weird.) It's a basic tactic, but very effective and fairly easy to get people to work with on the fly. Move with one element, cover with the other.

    It was a fun, if absurdly long, night of Planetside 2, and easily one of my favourites. A big shout-out to Vhaelun and MrJengles for their excellent squad leading. I only wish I'd remembered to take video.

    I'm always looking for ways to improve myself as a leader, so if you have any comments, suggestions or criticisms, let me have it!

  • #2
    Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

    Nice AAR!
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw


    • #3
      Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

      This was extremely high on the fun meter. Pretty much pegged it out at 100. Sustained action, very tough battles, infantry, tanks, pretty much the whole ball of wax. And to top it all off, we succeeded in taking point after point. Probably should go on one of my highlight reels in my tenure playing PS2.

      Very nice job StarStriker.


      • #4
        Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

        Yup we opened a great can of whoop a$$ on them, that I doubt they will forget for some itme to come.

        On a funny note...(I still smile about it) I shot a VS sniper twice while she was chasing FineStyle around on a rock..........and I mean chasing too, out there in front of God and everyone. That boy has a way with the women.


        • #5
          Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

          It was a good night to be in TG, for sure. The battle at Broken Arch was the bloodiest fight I've ever had in PS2. Every room, every street was carnage... both sides clawing for every scrap of land with blood and sweat until we broke their last sundy and climbed to victory 5 minutes later.

          Personally, the only thing better than dropping 100 tanks is stalking a prowler in a dual falcon MAX surrounded by the song of bullet/rocket fire.

          Kudos to Starstriker, Jengles and all the squaddies.


          • #6
            Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

            Glad to hear you guys enjoyed it as much as I did! Anyone have any specific feedback on my platoon leading? What worked, what didn't?


            • #7
              Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

              Well written AAR and sound tactical stuff!


              • #8
                Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

                Great write-up Star. Excellent performance from leadership and squad members alike, you all made it a heck of a lot of fun! Sorry I didn't get around to posting at the time; luckily I made notes and it was very memorable anyhow. The OP covers all the macro events, so I'll just pick some areas to expand on.

                There were only 2 minutes left on the clock when we spotted the TR ghost cap on Regent Rock and it took about 30 seconds to mention it, decide, and get everyone to redeploy*. We grabbed A and B about the same time, then had a bit of a run in with a ZoE MAX after stacking up at the doorway to C :(. Someone reported the enemy Sunderer behind C, one squad beacon and an order to drop-pod on the waypoint later, it exploded and we mopped up the area.

                *Apparently Star missed my confirmation over proxy / I wasn't clear and he was shocked to see everyone drop dead around him.

                At TI Alloys my squad, Bravo, flanked North-West and tried to hide a Sunderer in a ditch (it was later destroyed, so we relied on revives and my beacon). Since the enemy spawn room is on the North-West, initially my plan was to cover their exit and prevent them from getting to the objective. However, they were putting up a barrage of gun fire and we ended up taking cover under the staircase leading up to A.

                We held there for a while, taking what shots we could but mainly trying to stay alive - medics were on form, as they were throughout the night. Realising both sides were denying eachother use of the staircase, I decided to leave the North front and quickly rush A to overwhelm the defense before they could react. My squad grouped up and followed me around to the South-East where we entered the building.

                We were presented with a few blueberry Maxes near the top of another staircase, and a good squad or 2 of infantry trying to fire over them. The enemy were bunkered down in the A point room and neither side seemed willing to move. Without breaking stride I barreled past the blueberries, yelling "CHARGE!" over proxy. I killed a TR in the doorway and paused to reload on the opposite end of the hallway, then sprinted in and leveled my gun at the first enemy I saw.

                When I died, I was surprised to see it wasn't from the room full of TR, but 100% friendly fire :( Oh well. The important thing is it seemed like our numbers had tipped the balance, as well as given the NC the confidence to rush in. After much gunfire around my corpse, I was revived and the room secured. Bravo then held the North doorways and the staircase we had previously been at, while Alpha held the lower doors. For the rest of the fight I stayed at the back, healing and reviving until we'd won.

                On to Crossroads Watchtower. "What followed next is probably my favourite moment from Planetside 2 so far." I'm not sure what my favourite is, but this is certainly up there for me as well.

                Vhaelun had Alpha clearly set up in a firing line, while Bravo caught up and gathered next to them. Star ordered us to charge under Alpha's covering fire, so we leapfrogged and sprinted up a sizeable hill. I don't think any of us got hit on the way up, since most of the TR were probably focused on Crossroads Watchtower rather than looking North and the few that had been backed away from the edge to take cover from Alpha.

                As I was the first to crest the hill, the enemy I came face to face with didn't have time to react. Slowly, steadily we marched forward while putting out a constant hail of gunfire. Alpha joined us during our progress along the highest part of the hill and we made a push to wipe out those that had huddled at a tree and backed down the other side slightly to break line-of-sight.

                Even multiple enemies showing themselves were quickly and simultaniously dispatched. A couple times I spun to my right or left in response to a new target, only to watch them be gunned down by teammates on either side of me, so I just trusted them and focused on clearing the path directly ahead of me. I called out a red dot that appeared slightly down the hill to the North, and a blue dot pounced, then confirmed the kill (exactly what I like to see).

                Cohesion was superb, with firepower spread equally between the center and flanks, resulting in few deaths compared to the enemy. Medics stayed nicely at the back and those that died were quickly revived. I only wish I could have seen it from the enemy's point-of-view!

                Star ordered us to take a breather, then we swept further down East to finish off the few stragglers, which left us directly North of Broken Arch and the perfect spot for our anti-vehicle heavy loadouts. Both that gunfight and the vehicle destruction afterwards were glorious (the OP covers that well).

                I love that this had made us important enough targets for BWC to drop infantry on us. The Galaxy came in low to the East but was spotted by a squadmate, I repeated it on proxy, then Star voiced it on platoon comms. That small warning was all we needed for everyone to immediately turn and revert to infantry combat. Essentially, the enemy dropped into a killing field with little if any cover.

                As we moved beyond Broken Arch, Bravo found that the high cliff was out of effective range. Thus, we moved lower down to a portion that juts out and overlooks Tawrich Depot and the tower. I knew you could get there as I'd used it to snipe from before. My squad followed my exact path and we were ready and waiting by the time the enemy began moving in vehicle assets.

                Bravo really outdid themselves here. We no longer had the backup of another squad and, given most were anti-vehicle, we only had 1 to 2 Medics, plus a beacon. Every time we heard infantry drop pod in our midst, a cloak or sniper shot behind us, or when we died, it was called out and everyone stopped what they were doing, turned around and searched for the target. Again, the Medics stayed alive and kept us alive; I even saw squadmates right next to the Medics, protecting them as they revived downed players.

                Most of the time, though, we were busy firing rocket after rocket at the armor. Some tried to pull from Tawrich Depot but that was right in front of us and they barely made it off the pad. Many tried to drive through the choke point right beneath us and either died on the way in or took cover at the base of the rock, at a hard angle to hit, yet unable to move out.

                "The battle never stopped as the same TR fell back to Tawrich Depot, then to the canyons and gullies to the south and west of the depot, and then finally to the Tech Plant itself. It was an utterly fantastic, messy fight."

                Oh yeah, that little fight in the gullies was fun. By that time we had a ton of NC with us so, not only did we make it to the Tech Plant, we captured it.

                Thanks guys! Having a squad that I can rely on, follows nearby and keeps up with my whims and positioning helped make that night awesome. Likewise for nice coordination with Alpha. As usual, very enjoyable SLing for you Star - sound tactics and always receptive to suggestions.

                On that note, I never mind being told we won't try something (as SM or SL), it's the consideration and acknowledgement that matter. Of course, these things happen a bit more if the leadership styles mesh well.


                TG-heavy squads - Agreed, we should continue to maintain this.

                Bounding overwatch - Loved it. I'd also like to add that it was swift. Squads didn't move as fast as possible, nor slow any longer than neccessary, they moved at just the right speed looking for the earliest opening and taking it. The enemy can't have time to form a defense or it's a stalemate.

                Infantry vs vehicle squad - We don't always have a dedicated air or armor squad but most players are willing (or even enjoy) switching to something different now and then. There are 2 reasons I thought swapping to Air would work: it's difficult to get out of a spawn camped tower to the 2 objectives outside, so falling back and counter attacking works well; and the enemy had about as many players as us, but so much armor and infantry it seemed unlikely they had significant AA (they didn't). If the enemy don't seem to have the right tools, switch and take advantage of it!

                Infantry kits - I generally don't see too much assigning of kits as it can be complicated, takes time and SLs want to let people play what they like unless they need something. However, I think SLs should, at the very least, actively advise kits as standard practice. Sometimes I expect to be fighting CQC at a base, only for our squad to be set to overwatch etc. As SL its my job to know what role our squad will be playing and to let others know what to expect. You don't have to go into weapon details, just advise long/mid/close range, anti-infantry / vehicles / air.

                Although, if you have time there are some specifics to keep in mind, such as Engy AV turrets have much better range than lock-on rockets but sometimes can't be placed on rocky terrain, making MAX Ravens particularly useful.

                Anti-Air - This is something to keep in mind but you can only do so many things effectively with few players, especially since Bravo was operating away from Alpha both times. The first occasion armor targets were light and there weren't many planes bothering us, so we were confident to come back with 1 or 2 bursters. The second occassion an entire air squad hit us and there was nothing we could have done without a full AA squad (not that it mattered, we'd already destroyed all the armor :D ) The trick will be predicting which is likely.

                |TG-Irr| MrJengles - You know you want to say it out loud.


                • #9
                  Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

                  Great write-up Jengles. Those must have been some fantastic notes to be able to add this much detail more than two months later! :)

                  I agree regarding AA and "only so many things we can do". On reflection, I think the fact that we had some very focused anti-vehicle and anti-infantry compositions were big contributors to our success, and were what allowed us to punch so far above our weight. Like I said, "right place, at the right time, with the right people and the right equipment".

                  Also, with that position over Tawrich Depot I wonder if there's anything we could have done even with a pair of Burster MAXes, as it was wide open with absolutely no cover from above.


                  • #10
                    Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

                    Lol, only 1 month later. More than notes, I basically wrote the whole thing right after reading your post but in detail only, so it was just connecting the dots with sentences.

                    Perhaps. You could scare off 6 fighters that happen to be in the area, it's just that was a squad that hit us at the same time so I doubt it.

                    |TG-Irr| MrJengles - You know you want to say it out loud.


                    • #11
                      Re: Blowing up ALL of the tanks. (July 13th, 2013)

                      Derp, I totally can read a calendar, derp.




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