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Saturday March 8th Air Squad

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  • [AAR] Saturday March 8th Air Squad

    Tonight we ran a four man A2G strike team, consisting of Assault9 as our infiltrator spotter (with SL, to mark waypoints, though I think I was effectively squad leading), and Llamar, Mackahan, and myself running Reavers with various air to ground armaments. We ran in a single squad, with assault marking targets from the front lines, and reavers regrouping in friendly territory for coordinated strikes (followed by getting the heck out of dodge before AA got nasty). We racked up a lot of kills and were able to support fights effectively despite our small size.

    Much like previous CAS squads, we were able to last a long time even in the presence of flak and enemy aircraft without running out of resources and were able to keep three bricks up for most of the night. Near the end resources started to become a problem, due to the low resource tick rate on Indar where we were operating during an Alert, and we occasionally had to fight in air resource bases to top it off, but given the density of AA fire and the huge number of Scythes in the air tonight I think we did pretty well!

    Big takeaways from the op:
    • Stalker cloak is great for spotters. No surprise there
    • Three Reavers were more than enough for targeting single vehicles. We could consistently take out magriders in a single pass, and Sunderers often went down as well. We weren't all packing breaker rockets, which negatively impacted us there, so we could have been hitting harder with those numbers. I think I'd still like a fourth Reaver for more reliable kills, more assists during air-to-air fights, and being better able to operate even when one of the Reavers went down, but it was gratifying to see that we can effectively run CAS squads with small groups of people.
    • As previous ops like this have shown, a hit-and-run CAS squad is fairly resistant to local AA
    • Platoon structure wasn't necessary for us operating at this size. Assault could guide us in and feed in target data while I organized the strike itself.
    • TL;DR: We can operate CAS squads with small groups in single squads.

    I think we should be more open to having small CAS squads within regular platoons. The organizational requirement are less strict than we might have previously thought.

    Alternatively, if we've got 9-13 people willing to run it, we could have 2-3 squads of four Reavers and one squad with PL spotting targets, and just chain those flights together for rapid fire CAS. Send in flight one, while they're reforming use flight 2 for next target, etc... could be fun!

  • #2
    Re: Saturday March 8th Air Squad

    Excellent AAR! Thank you starstriker!
    I have been behind the desk and practicing with 031's to develop some sort of SOP for that exact task and came up with similar conclusions. Four Reavers per flight is a bliss for Close Air Support, hit and run is the key, and so on.

    ("Did you feel like it would have been an improvement if you had" / "Did you") (place selection here) define something that would resemble to "cooldown airspace", "engagement airspace", "strike airspace", "denied airspace"; break maneuver and stuff like that?


    • #3
      Re: Saturday March 8th Air Squad

      I'm not totally sure I understand that last question, so my answer is going to be a little ramble-y:

      Our treatment of the airspace was to generally consider the target area a "no loiter" zone that we'd hit and run from. Our muster point was always well behind the threatened areas, often at a landing pad two lattice links back. Attack routes (ie, where the flight leader led his wingmen en route to the target) were generally chosen to minimize flak vulnerability and in retrospect should have been specifying escape routes as well. Generally speaking, we only engaged enemy aircraft over friendly airspace.

      Our usual cycle looked like this:
      • Repair and rearm at muster point
      • Regroup at flight ceiling at muster point. Flight leader signals to spotter that we're ready for a target.
      • Spotter calls target, flight leader heads out with wingmen following at flight ceiling
      • Flight leader flies into marker, spotting and calling out target as they go in
      • All Reavers hit the target with everything they can during a single run without stopping to hover. If that means not firing some rockets or breaking off upon getting hit with flak, that's okay, that's why multiple reavers are involved
      • Break off immediately after the pass (or after being engaged by enemy G2A/A2A), using afterburners to clear into friendly territory
      • If pursued, peel back to shake enemy fighters off your wingmen. Preferably over local AA or near friendly air.

      If you're looking for more reference on this kind of tactic, check out this AAR where we tried it with a larger squad and a separate spotter element with multiple spotters. Video is included!


      • #4
        Re: Saturday March 8th Air Squad

        Great AAR. Curious to see how would this look if you were running a full squad of 12? Sticking with Reavers? Add liberators/galaxy to the mix?

        My thoughts on a full out air squad.
        Air Combat Controller - 1 Infiltrator
        3 Dalton Liberators - 6 Engineers (2/3 crew)
        3 Reavers A2G focus - 3 Engineers
        2 Reavers A2A focus - 2 Engineers
        Total Persons 12
        Total Air Assets 9

        1. Our ACC calls the targets and priority. This should continue throughout the engagement based on the ACC's assessment. Key thing is target location and priority.
        2. Liberators make their pass. Their purpose is to hit the target area hard and draw the ground fire and enemy out fighters into view.
        3. A2G Reavers make their pass focusing on the original target. They can re-direct to hitting G2A threats if the target is gone and the ACC doesn't designate a new target
        3.1 In the presence of significant enemy air (3+ IMO) the A2G Reavers should focus on air targets first then move the ground targets
        4. A2A Reavers are to engage enemy air threats which threaten the formation (think weapons Yellow). Avoid giving chase and straying too far. This is why I think using Tomcats (I know not everyone is a fan) is better for these guys. Avoid getting caught in a bad position and stick with the formation. A lot of air can be as good as a deterrent as having friendly AA below you.
        4.1. When there are no air threats, A2A Reavers can double as recon. Spotting targets of opportunity and forwarding this onward. Everyone can technically double as recon, but our A2G assets should be focused on hitting their targets with high efficiency.

        General kind of things
        - We could totally substitute one of the liberator and one Reaver with a Battle Galaxy. This gives our AAC a re-spawn point and the ability to drop him into hot zones quietly. Excellent bullet soak and decent A2A/A2G ability.

        - I have not thought of a withdrawal strategy. Aircraft that do not need rearm/repair should stick with the formation to provide cover. Besides that I haven't thought of anything.

        -Our A2A flyers seem to have a pretty boring job most of the time. But the overall formation is safer if you had two pairs of eyes on the sky. The ability to engage targets earlier at range by using lock-ons gives us time to shift our focus if necessary. I am kind of limiting their freedom to chase. A running pilot is almost good as dead one. The threat is gone and both sides have time to recover. If they opposing side comes back in force, we are still ready to face down the threat since we have presumably had some time to repair/rearm as well.

        -Ground attackers should coordinate their attack runs as much as they can. The airspace above the target will be pretty crowded with just our formation in the air. Coordination will help bring down the risk of friendly fire and collisions.

        -In the event friendly air are in a head on collision course. BREAK RIGHT!


        • #5
          Re: Saturday March 8th Air Squad

          If you want to see what it looks like in a bigger squad, check out the AAR linked in the post above yours. :)

          I'm hesitant to add Liberators to the equation. Reavers are well suited to hit-and-run, whereas Liberators are built for loitering over a fight and dishing out sustained damage. They're useful in very different sorts of fights, whereas this hit and run strategy is good for hitting big fights by minimizing flak exposure and either giving the enemy little incentive to pull the massed AA required to counter us effectively (ie, we get to keep doing attack runs) or scaring them into pulling that AA and reducing their force strength as a result.

          If I wanted to do this with Liberators, I'd scrap the spotters and go for overwhelming force. Hit a big fight with a ton of liberators, clear it out, and then get away whenever massed AA is pulled. With Liberators it would be less of a precision strike and more "shock and awe".




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