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February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

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  • [AAR] February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

    I signed on around 9pm EST tonight and joined MisterCris's squad that was managing AA at Quartz Ridge versus an enormous Vanu air presence at Indar Excavation. After a short time, MisterCris had to leave and I volunteered for squad lead.

    The initial minutes were spent continuing the task Cris had started. We massed AA and coordinated our fire on priority targets, including several inbound galaxies that never made it close enough to make their drops. While their considerable air force wasn't able to attack Quartz Ridge, however, the enemy soon rolled in a significant armour and Sunderer contingent and we were poorly equipped to deal with it. We switched to infantry and started to repel the attack, starting by securing the vehicle shield and destroying the hacked vehicle terminal and all the Sunderers that were spawned in it. After that, we pushed hard into the northern towers and retook the fortifications.

    What followed was a massive back and forth battle between Quartz and Indar Ex that I struggle to remember in chronological detail, even with it fresh in my mind! Inspired by the format of Garthra's AAR, I'm going to bounce between a few highlights and takeaways.

    Let the zerg handle the main fight and the objectives, deal with the angles the zerg isn't

    This was my main strategy throughout the night. The zerg will gravitate directly towards the meat grinder, enemy sunderers, control points, and anywhere where certs and a fight may be had. Especially as a single squad, there's not much you can add to the zerg by following those same parameters. Instead, focus on the less glamorous or obvious tasks and enable the zerg by removing their main obstacles and covering for their vulnerabilities.

    The main way we did this was to take defensive and offensive positions away from the main fight, both setting up a crossfire and focusing rocket fire on enemy armour. Our primary goal was to prevent the enemy from flanking the zerg and causing havoc, and where possible to flank the enemy ourselves and let the main force crush them. We aggressively bounded between the rocks and coral that make up the Quartz->Indar Ex battlefield, deliberately placing ourselves to a flank of the main force instead of moving with the herd. This made it difficult for the enemy to advance and gave us opportunities to do a lot of damage to enemy assets.

    As a result, the enemy put a lot of effort into wiping us, specifically, out.

    Armour is really good at flanking and shutting down firing positions on flat terrain.

    This was easily our biggest issue all night. Our position allowed us to do a lot of damage to enemy armour head on and to favourably trade blows with enemy infantry, but the area provides almost nothing in terms of high ground. While the rocks we hid behind gave us good cover from one or two directions, we were vulnerable to the west and south. Enemy armour very often rushed us in large numbers and engaged us at close range on the open side, which led to a few squad wipes (and usually the zerg getting wiped shortly thereafter). We also had issues with tanks in that direction using the wide open terrain of the Indar desert to continually pelt us from out of the 300m rocket range our Heavy Assaults were limited by.

    I'm not sure there's a lot we could have done about it with the assets we had. If I had another squad, I'd have wanted to put them further out on the flank and a little bit behind so that they could cover the forward element. An armour element of our own would also have done the trick.

    Snipers make for very good suppression

    This was our second biggest problem. There were a lot of snipers, and they did a very good job of disrupting our firing position by knocking people down temporarily. Our medics were on the ball (big shout out to MechanicalYeti!) so we were able to recover fairly well, but they were a huge annoyance, and I'm pretty sure there weren't all that many of them.

    Sometimes the enemy serves you certs on a platter. Who are YOU to deny them?

    Favourite moment of the night was after we got hit hard on the midfield and were forced back to the fortifications at Quartz Ridge. I took my squad further west onto the high hills overlooking the desert and the western flank, hoping to be able to provide anti-tank fire support. Instead, we found the enemy had nestled a Sunderer right up to the mountain and was charging several squads of infantry up the near-vertical goat path towards our position. I rallied our guys and had them put as much fire as possible down the main chokepoint.

    We held that area with nothing but our squad and a few blues against a force that looked to be twice our size. The enemy got close to cresting the ridge a few times, and a couple light assaults caused trouble, including setting up a squad beacon close to us, but were able to beat it all back and generally had a commanding advantage (again, huge thanks to our medics for being on the ball). This was actually where the snipers proved most disruptive to us: in order to abuse our terrain advantage and shoot the guys trying to do mountain climbing in a warzone we had to crest the hill and completely expose ourselves to the snipers placed further back.

    This actually suggests a tactic for our own use: if you've got to charge up a hill against an entrenched enemy, sniper support is a huge boon. Conversely, if you're planning to hold off an infantry attack using high ground, you need to realize that the act of doing so can make you exceptionally vulnerable to enemy fire support and suppression from a less steep angle.

    I actually ended up telling my guys NOT to actively attempt to kill the Sunderer. This wasn't a case of cert farming at the expense of the battle, though... I figured that if the enemy wanted to charge a large portion of their force through wildly unfavourable terrain where a numerically inferior force could thrash them, then they were welcome to do that instead of something more productive. As Napoleon said: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."

    Don't always follow the same patterns and habits.

    The first two times we pushed out of Quartz towards Indar Ex, I took my squad along the western flank where there was periodic cover, but which was vulnerable to attacks from the east. Both times, armour that swung around from that direction was able to unroot us, and there wasn't much we could do to stop them. The third time, I took us along the eastern flank instead, hoping to use the high ground of the mountain to prevent flanks and give us a more stable position to work from.

    In doing so, I noticed a fresh opportunity to tilt the battle. The new building between Indar Ex and Quartz Ridge drastically changed the battle flow, creating an interesting piece of ground (with no control points!) that attackers from either direction must secure and deal with if they want to move on. The Vanu had consistently parked a Sunderer on the north side on a covered platform that very difficult to reach without slugging through the close quarters combat of the building, and the zerg was stalemated inside trying to get to it. I spotted a small piece of bone at the very bottom of the eastern mountain that would provide a forward position that could view that Sunderer. It was barely enough to hide a squad behind and there was a huge open area that the Vanu snipers in the area would be able to see us in as we charged across open desert, but I had my squad make the dash anyways. When we got there we had a beautiful view of the Sundy, but were under fire from a few people nearer to Indar Ex. I had all missile carrying individuals in the squad focus on the Sunderer while everyone else suppressed the people to our north, and our target melted under our combined fire. The zerg soon overran the building and were able to start hitting Indar Ex proper.

    A good squad makes it possible

    Seriously, big shoutout to everyone who participated. Cohesion was great, communication was solid, and the squad was response, and it allowed us to focus fire, make aggressive manuevers, and generally be a huge thorn in the Vanu's side despite our small force. Thanks for making that squad a pleasure to lead!

  • #2
    Re: February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

    Sounds like it was a fun fight and I wish I had been awake enough to join in! Well done guys.

    You touch upon a couple points that I'd like to see expanded upon when we're only able to field a squad or two.

    First, letting the zerg do the lemming rush into the meatgrinder and us doing flanking and harassment maneuvers. If, as you describe in your AAR starstriker1, we're able to force the enemy to divert enough manpower to deal with the threat we pose, it should allow the zerg to advance to the next objective/area of hard cover. This should work well in the larger 48+ v 48+ battles between bases.

    Your section "Don't always follow the same patterns and habits" is the second point that I'd like to see more of. Kind of like in boxing or MMA, toss that left jab out until the enemy is focused on countering it. Once they've committed to defending against your jab, bring in the right cross for the knockout. Garthra touches upon this in his most recent AAR, where he describes a classic flanking maneuver versus an entrenched enemy line. ie. switch up tactics and catch the enemy off guard.

    I have to say, I'm pleased as punch to see our experienced SL/PL's experimenting with different tactics and strategies. Keep up the great work!



    • #3
      Re: February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

      Thanks, Mindkill!

      The zerg is great in that it's actually pretty predictable. They follow the crumb trail of certs and directions that the designers have put down to guide them, which means they go where there's an immediate fight or an objective. This is a great article on the subject. For my own part, that means I don't have my squad running around flipping points most of the time, since I can feel pretty secure that the zerg will deal with it eventually. That frees us up to grab tactically dominant ground or to respond to more organized enemy action.

      In terms of following old patterns, I think this particular fight was a perfect test case for trying different things, since we went back and forth over the same ground three or more times (and got to be pretty familiar with some of those rocks, to boot).

      As an aside, that new building and coral in between Indar Ex and Quartz REALLY changes things up! It ends up forming a strategic objective that isn't explicitly stated with a hard spawn or control point, which in my opinion the game needs a lot more of!


      • #4
        Re: February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

        Hey, Starstriker, thanks for the shoutout! Had a blast playing in your squad last night.

        I remember thinking at the time that your idea of letting the Vanu charge up the slope at us was great. We were definitely able to keep a good chunk of them occupied with about 10-12 people. And yeah, we got really familiar with those clifftops :P. In fact, now that I recall it, I think that gave us a further advantage. We had charged up the northern slope before and spent time at the top already, so not only did we know our way around the clifftop terrain, we knew which paths the Vanu had to take in order to reach us. I'm not sure if this could be deliberately used in the future, though.

        Anyway, with the squad in such good form we were able to accomplish a lot last night. And you did a great job leading! Looking forward to next time.


        • #5
          Re: February 2nd, 2014 from 9pm EST - Infantry squad

          I wish I had been there for this. Sounds like it was awesome and very well organized!
          The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"




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