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FNF June 26, 2015

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  • [AAR] FNF June 26, 2015

    I led FNF as platoon leader for the better part of 5 hours on Friday. Over the course of the night, we had as much as four full squads and operated primarily as airborne infantry both on the tail end of an Indar alert and during a massive Amerish alert. I'm not going to give a blow by blow this time; I just don't REMEMBER most of it, it was a crazy night and we were all over the place. Instead, I'd like to solicit your guys stories and feedback, and focus my own AAR on some of the strategic operations and decisions, particularly on the Amerish alert.

    The first thing I'd like to touch on is the early mistakes that set the tone for the rest of the night.

    Amerish was set up with us in the NW corner, the TR to the NE, and the Vanu in the southern warpgate. The NC had a solid territory hold, and I set about having us secure as much of that as we could. We dropped on the NC Arsenal and helped the cap on that critical defensive foothold go through, followed by resecuring the equally vital Auraxicom network hub (after overestimating how quickly our blue-heavy squads were able to pivot and get Galaxy mobile again, delaying too long and allowing the initial cap to go through).

    At this point I made the first early mistake: I pushed us forward to Crux Headquarters. My thinking was that we could take a highly defensible base with a prominent position on the lattice, AND cut off the TR from Mekala. We secured the base after a bit of a scuffle, then I split the squads out to secure the surrounding bases and build up a buffer in anticipation of the alert.

    What I failed to consider was how capturing this would set up the board. With Crux gone and Mekala soon to fall to the VS, we'd just cut the TR off from one of two lanes that they could possibly engage the VS from in their backed up position. This meant that the Vanu needed to cap several bases before they'd even engage us at Crux, and the TR would only be able to attack us through that lane until they did. There was therefore only one major fight between the Vanu and TR the entire alert, and the rest of the TR's not insubstantial population was arrayed against us along with the Vanu, making it a 2 on 1 even though the Vanu had a clear population and territory advantage.

    The other mistake here was not paying attention to West Pass Watchtower on the other side of the map. There was a MASSIVE brawl with multiple platoons on each side going on that base, and the NC was only slightly undermanned. If I'd abandoned the ill-advised attack on Crux and its adjacent bases, regrouped the platoon and swept in, we'd have been able to save the base. As it was, I waited too long and while in flight the Vanu took the third capture point and rapidly accelerated the capture, finishing the fight before we could arrive. Losing that base, with its big territory percentage, 3 lattice links, and IMMENSE defensibility was a huge loss on its own, but the bigger problem is that the Vanu zerg never dissipated or split, and just kept rolling like an irresistable force toward Heyoka, a dynamic that became more pronounced the more lopsided the continental populations became. We could have held that monster there, but I failed to realize the threat in time and spent time in a diversion that did more strategic harm than good.

    Some other scattered observations:
    • Once we failed to drop in time on West Pass, I redirected us to try and become a distraction for the Vanu. We harassed a bunch of their bases in the center of the map to draw disproportionate resecure responses. Its tough to say how much we really distracted the Vanu, but I think it was a net win in terms of distraction.
    • Splitting the squads and hitting multiple territories at once was effective for demanding a response, but very ineffective for taking territory. Those holds almost always ended with a reasonably organized enemy force dropping in that could prevent the capture with a proportional response. I'm guessing the more organized Vanu outfits were on fire fighting duty during the alert.

    • Bringing the platoon together gave us critical mass to take bases. Around three squads was where it started to really work.

    • Staggered drop strategy was the most effective way to take lightly defended bases. A proportional Vanu response would arrive in short order, but we'd be able to escalate it again almost immediately, preventing their organized outfits from being able to wear our logistically isolated and largely unsupported forces off the point by continuous escalation.

    • Redeployside isn't quite dead, just mitigated. I think the redeploy and reinforce tactics are still in use and effective, they're just not able to get overwhelming numbers into the hex. The enemy can still quickly move an equivalent force in and, if they do so with an organized, high skill group, this can be very effective. However, overall it seemed like large forces weren't hopping around nearly as much, and proper Galaxy drops and convoys were far more prevalent.

    • Many times we engaged and held against forces larger than ourselves. Holding up in those scenarios is something our members and SLs should be proud of, but from my perspective as a PL I noticed a troubling quality of those fights: we lose all strategic and tactical control over the fight. Even when squads can manage to stay cohesive in the melee, it's too frantic and the only way to get useful command and control back from a strategic level is to get a squad out of the fight to regroup and re-engage on your terms. In a fight where pulling troops out would cause the defense to collapse, those forces are effectively pinned down and useless. When our entire platoon was locked down in the desperate defense of Heyoka against almost twice our number (with 96+ on the NC side, no less!) I had almost no levers by which to attempt to manipulate the fight, beyond trying to control some of the moment to moment tactical details.

    • Conversely, when we had a force in reserve I couldn't have been happier as a PL. An undeployed, gal-mobile infantry squad is an enormous strategic asset that can harry an undefended base, drop behind an enemy force, or provide support when it's most needed. Even a squad that's deployed, but at the periphery and either not in contact or able to easily break contact is an enormous asset. When we were taking Crux, Bravo stayed in reserve taking an overwatch position in a southern building. When any of the three points were under threat or a squad was in danger of wiping, I was able to commit the reserves quickly and effectively. Essentially, as PL I had control of the Crux fight.

    I hope some of that was interesting! I'd love to hear your guys stories from the night, and any feedback (positive or negative) that you might have for my PLing.



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