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Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

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  • Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

    Okay, about time I put my money where my mouth was and ran this thing.

    On Thursday, Sept. 19th at 6:00pm Mountain Time (8:00 EDT) I'll be running a slapdash, experimental trial in heavy interceptor tactics (see http://www.tacticalgamer.com/planets...erceptors.html for additional details). We'll be experimenting with ways to intercept Liberators and Galaxies in the time between them leaving the warpgate and arriving at their destination.

    Obviously, pilots are wanted! We'll be running Reavers and Liberators. Liberator pilots are advised to unlock the tank buster nose gun (100 certs) as that will likely be our primary method of downing enemy aircraft. I'll try to get things started with outfit pilots, and then open it up to the public after we've got it going.

    My initial thoughts are a single squad of three Liberators and six Reavers, where one Reaver is a forward scout that guides the rest of the squad in and the Reavers are supplimentary fire support/escort for the Liberators, which will be doing the majority of the demolition work. From there, we'll experiment with other squad setups and organizations based on previous trial runs.

    Anyone interested?




  • #2
    Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

    Of course!

    In the first run, will the Libs and Reavers target different Gals at all or just kill them one by one, closest first?



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

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

      I think that starting off with full squad focus fire is the simplest way to begin, yes. Further elaborations and experimentation from there!

      I just thought of another thing. I'll try to remember to do video capture, but it'd be nice if someone else could as well for a post mortem. Also, anyone have suggestions about that? I've used OpenBroadcaster in the past and I'm going to experiment with that tonight to see if it's viable, but if anyone has a good (free) video capture utility they can suggest I'm all ears.



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      • #4
        Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

        I'll pitch in, but be warned my Lib flying is nowhere near my Gal flying abilities. And a Reaver... forget about it. lol

        But I am wiling to drop 100 certs on the Tank Buster.
        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

          Thats fine! I know I'm calling for pilots, but it'd also be nice to figure out how doable it is with people who haven't dumped a whole lot of practise or certs into it. I've dumped well over a thousand certs into my lib to turn it into a workable dogfighting platform, but that's not going to be common even amongst dedicated pilots. On top of that, it'd be nice if we had the flexibility to temporarily convert an infantry squad (who have tons of air resources and no real concern about losing their rides) into a heavy interception group instead of having something dedicated to it. I'd prefer to have a squad that can reliably interdict traffic coming out of the enemy warp gate, but the surge defense drops that this is meant to counter are rare and being able to pull one on the spot would be a nice tool to have.



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

            I dunno man, I am afraid that there is a learning curve to flying effectively. Plus, those who don't fly usually haven't certed much (if anything) into their aircraft.

            And I wouldn't say AA Libs are rare at all, we run into them all of the time in organized enemy air squads, often times one or two Libs working together, sometimes with a few additional ESFs. The Libs usually come straight for my Gal. Based on that fact (and my experience in just how fast a Lib who gets the jump on me can destroy me), I think you may be on to something here.

            You know what I always say, as a Gal pilot, Libs are the second most things I am afraid of in the skies...
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

              I don't know how common they'd be in our squads, though. I don't even know if the NC on Matterson has an equivalent to The Great White Whales in the TR.



              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                I might hop in for a while, depending on whats happening irl.
                my reaver isn't certed, but i can fly. I'll def. drop 100 certs for that gun
                |TG-Irr| di1lweed1212

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                  Default reaver nosegun is great on liberators, awesome spread and speed + sooo much ammo muhahahaha

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                    Going to call that a success! We never got either the full squad or large galaxy formation I was hoping for, but we ambushed a whole lot of Galaxies and Liberators tonight and did fairly well for ourselves, even in an alert!

                    Big lessons:
                    * You want dedicated pilots, not infantrymen. Infantrymen can man Liberator belly guns, but you really need reaver pilots who can hold their own in a dogfight in order to maintain air superiority.
                    * Having a full squad counts for a lot. Fighting under-strength left us vulnerable to attrition and at risk when enemy air superiority elements showed up and engaged us. A pair of TGWW liberators (RUN AWAAAAAY!!!!) tore us to shreds when we started camping out near the Vanu warpgate
                    * We actually had a fairly low rate of attrition, which I'd say is comparable to a typical air superiority squadron. While we were constrained by resources, we weren't crippled by them until the very end.
                    * Some terrain/continents are just not well suited to it. The southwest corner of Indar is claustrophobic and busy, so there was nowhere to hide the interception squad. On the other hand, the northern deserts were perfect for it (large, lots of "dead" zones where we were fairly low profile), and I suspect that most of the warpgates on Esamir and Amerish would make suitable targets.
                    * Having a liberator heavy squad is crucial. Liberators shred larger craft in a way that reavers are too fragile and too under-armed to do.
                    * Having a substantial escort is also critical. Liberators are vulnerable to enemy ESFs unless the crew is at the TGWW level, so a solid escort is required to keep the liberators undisturbed
                    * The forward observer is indispensible, and should probably be the squad lead. Without one, you'll have almost no ability to actually catch your targets. Fortunately, most warpgates have a decent observation point where you can stash a Reaver and get a good look at the inside. If the squad leader is managing the forward observation, they can set markers to aid the squad in hitting the target.
                    * The actual interception isn't the challenging part of running this, that's usually pretty straightforward. The real challenge is in keeping the interception squadron alive and out of contact between interceptions. A proper air superiority squad acting as escorts would do wonders here.
                    * We were reasonably effective at disrupting enemy drops on a constant basis, which could be an alternate usage of the tactic and not just a training tool. While the original intent was to disrupt enemy surge defenses (IE, disrupt a one-off drop) knocking off enemy liberators and galaxies as they come out in ones and twos might be effective (if perhaps not the most efficient use of manpower).
                    * Liberator crews indicated that they used a mix of Tank buster noseguns and the belly gun on enemy targets, often alternating between them as they loaded. This indicates to me that fully crewed Liberators are definitely effective. We didn't get an opportunity to test single-man liberators as an alternative.
                    * Liberator gunners mentioned that Shredders felt really good for engaging enemy aircraft. They've got equivalent DPS but a fast projectile speed and can be walked onto a target.

                    I've got about three hours of video footage, but I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to parse and edit it, so no guarantees it'll see the light of day in the near term.

                    Still: tonight was a success, and I think this is a very solid tactic for interrupting enemy logistics.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                      I agree that this strategy worked pretty well, even when I had occasion to gun in a bone stock Liberator.

                      Some of my observations:

                      - Having the Lib pilot and gunner coordinate their firing and reloading (pilot firing at target until reload, then placing belly on target for gunner till his/her reload, rinse, repeat) really shredded enemy air assets
                      - Using the belly gun works well against enemy galaxies and liberators, not so much on ESF's. Unless they are danger-close, switching to the tail gun is the better option.
                      - Using the SL as the scout and using waypoints to guide in the interceptors worked really well
                      - There is a little bit of a communications problem for pilot/gunner teams.. If squad VoIP is used, comms can get EXTREMELY cluttered when on a run (this wasn't a big problem in the test due to low squad count and only having 1 or 2 targets on a run. It will get worse with a full squad and multiple contacts). Using proximity VoIP works well when stationary but, when flying at attack speed, the VoIP origination point seems to be well behind the aircraft and makes communication very difficult. If this strategy gains traction, we may have to look at using TeamSpeak or custom VoIP channels to increase our communication efficiency. I'm not a fan of either solution so, we might have to work on our discipline first.


                      When we got busted up by TGWW at the VS warpgate, I think it was more our mistake and bad positioning that caused us to get pwned.. If I remember correctly, we were pretty close to the deck (~100-200M), had no spotter/scout, no Reaver escort, and they came at us from above in a staggered formation. I think that if we had been at or near the flight ceiling, had a spotter, and ESF coverage, we would have fared better. Or at least seen them coming and had a chance to defend ourselves.

                      Another thing to consider, of the times our liberators were downed, it was usually from enemy ESF's. I think that this problem arose because the reaver escort was also targeting and engaging the enemy galaxies and liberators instead of covering the liberators. Perhaps they should be restricted to engaging only enemy ESF's. Or, at the very least, assigning our best reaver pilots to providing enemy ESF suppression.

                      I look forward to more testing, hopefully with a full squad! So, everyone dust off your flying skills (or learn some, if you have none ;)) and try this strat out.

                      On a related note, perhaps we could have our reaver pilots offer training to those willing to learn. What'd be even better, is to have said reaver pilots become TGU instructors and offer classes!

                      sigpic


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                      • #12
                        Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                        Definitely a success for testing purposes.

                        Originally posted by Mindkill View Post
                        When we got busted up by TGWW at the VS warpgate, I think it was more our mistake and bad positioning that caused us to get pwned.. If I remember correctly, we were pretty close to the deck (~100-200M), had no spotter/scout, no Reaver escort, and they came at us from above in a staggered formation. I think that if we had been at or near the flight ceiling, had a spotter, and ESF coverage, we would have fared better. Or at least seen them coming and had a chance to defend ourselves.

                        Another thing to consider, of the times our liberators were downed, it was usually from enemy ESF's. I think that this problem arose because the reaver escort was also targeting and engaging the enemy galaxies and liberators instead of covering the liberators. Perhaps they should be restricted to engaging only enemy ESF's. Or, at the very least, assigning our best reaver pilots to providing enemy ESF suppression.
                        Nose-gun on the way in, then lift up for belly gun was my method. Sometimes I tipped down and used the nose gun again if the target didn't die quickly.

                        Our air squads have encountered the VOIP issue and the only alternative I can think of is to separate the Reavers from the Liberators and maybe keep as few Libs in each squad as possible. Obviously, this would require an Air platoon setup.

                        I entirely agree with the last two. Towards the end a Liberator died that I know I could've helped. We just didn't have the numbers for Reavers to target fighters and to assist against Galaxies. I would like to note that protecting the assets becomes less important if you only intend to use the tactic once and if the Galaxies die quickly (the setup I had in mind from the Heavy Interceptor strategy thread was intended to destroy 2 Gals per pass).

                        Originally posted by starstriker1 View Post
                        Big lessons:
                        * You want dedicated pilots, not infantrymen. Infantrymen can man Liberator belly guns, but you really need reaver pilots who can hold their own in a dogfight in order to maintain air superiority.
                        * Having a full squad counts for a lot. Fighting under-strength left us vulnerable to attrition and at risk when enemy air superiority elements showed up and engaged us. A pair of TGWW liberators (RUN AWAAAAAY!!!!) tore us to shreds when we started camping out near the Vanu warpgate
                        * We actually had a fairly low rate of attrition, which I'd say is comparable to a typical air superiority squadron. While we were constrained by resources, we weren't crippled by them until the very end.
                        * Some terrain/continents are just not well suited to it. The southwest corner of Indar is claustrophobic and busy, so there was nowhere to hide the interception squad. On the other hand, the northern deserts were perfect for it (large, lots of "dead" zones where we were fairly low profile), and I suspect that most of the warpgates on Esamir and Amerish would make suitable targets.
                        * Having a liberator heavy squad is crucial. Liberators shred larger craft in a way that reavers are too fragile and too under-armed to do.
                        * Having a substantial escort is also critical. Liberators are vulnerable to enemy ESFs unless the crew is at the TGWW level, so a solid escort is required to keep the liberators undisturbed
                        * The forward observer is indispensible, and should probably be the squad lead. Without one, you'll have almost no ability to actually catch your targets. Fortunately, most warpgates have a decent observation point where you can stash a Reaver and get a good look at the inside. If the squad leader is managing the forward observation, they can set markers to aid the squad in hitting the target.
                        * The actual interception isn't the challenging part of running this, that's usually pretty straightforward. The real challenge is in keeping the interception squadron alive and out of contact between interceptions. A proper air superiority squad acting as escorts would do wonders here.
                        * We were reasonably effective at disrupting enemy drops on a constant basis, which could be an alternate usage of the tactic and not just a training tool. While the original intent was to disrupt enemy surge defenses (IE, disrupt a one-off drop) knocking off enemy liberators and galaxies as they come out in ones and twos might be effective (if perhaps not the most efficient use of manpower).
                        * Liberator crews indicated that they used a mix of Tank buster noseguns and the belly gun on enemy targets, often alternating between them as they loaded. This indicates to me that fully crewed Liberators are definitely effective. We didn't get an opportunity to test single-man liberators as an alternative.
                        * Liberator gunners mentioned that Shredders felt really good for engaging enemy aircraft. They've got equivalent DPS but a fast projectile speed and can be walked onto a target.
                        Actually, if it's a Dalton I'd say another lesson was you will need someone who has practiced with it. Therefore, infantryman could use a Shredder or fill out the ranks of Reavers. They could possibly add to the Lib pilots as well if you only intend to use the tactic once (so only targeting Galaxies).

                        Shredder vs Dalton DPS should be looked at to determine which is better and by how much. Perhaps the Dalton is not worth it even for people who can use it well, due to fighting other Libs and fighters which are harder to hit.

                        On the forward observer, I thought it proved both a hassle and sometimes hazardous for him to also fill the role of pilot, engage with everyone else, then try to fly back to his old position without being spotted (and who knows what juicy targets may be missed in the mean time). Although it would be boring, I'm beginning to think we'd be better off with a dedicated infiltrator spotter, no aircraft. We could always rotate when they get bored.

                        For waypoints, you generally used them as a good direction indicator and rough distance estimate, which could be done from the ground. Alternatively, for a separate air platoon, the spotter could be PL and place a general platoon WP, then the SL guides everyone in.


                        I'm seeing a bit of a conflict arising here between the original use - to down as many Gals as possible in one go - and the new tactic of camping the enemy Warpgate. Liberators and infantry squads were proposed for the first tactic, although dedicated Air squads could assist or fill the role as well. Experienced pilots, many Reavers and air superiority, in which you want as many to survive each run as possible, are now being suggested for the second.

                        If you are attempting air superiority near the enemy warpgate with experienced pilots then the use of multiple Liberators against solo Galaxies and Libs becomes redundant; a good Reaver squad will destroy them easily.

                        In my opinion we need to distinguish between these roles. Your goal should always be clear: air superiority, mass Galaxy interception, or both (which now requires multiple squads where before it was a back up).



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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                          As far as gunner/pilot coordination and comm overload, there are a few options there:
                          1) Develop and drill a concise comms procedure for the job similar to the one we've got for ESF air superiority ops
                          2) Crank up the prox volume to make it more viable at speed (not so sure how that'd work)
                          3) Split it all up into a platoon, stick the liberators on one squad and the Reavers on another

                          I think TGWW would have shredded us even if we were ready for them. Those guys are SCARY good at what they do, I pretty much just avoid them if I'm in a Reaver unless I'm taking potshots at range or have a numerical advantage. Ultimately, though, that's just a very glaring case of having our interceptors hunted down prior to an actual interception job, and we'll need to figure out how to address it. Stealth is nice where you can get it, but places like the VS warpgate aren't conducive to it and we need to be prepared to hold our own against enemy air units.

                          I think you're right as far as the Reaver escort. Across the night I saw a lot of ESF pilots roaming around away from the muster point, and I suspect a lot of them were either out of position or tangled up in a fight/shot down when the liberators needed assistance. The supplimentary damage is nice, and so is the way Reavers can pre-engage/track down targets, but escorting should take priority I think.



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                            Other thoughts:

                            - Auto-repair proved very useful for my Liberator, given multiple attacks.
                            - I used the Mustang for my Reaver as it has considerably more ammo. I'd love to know how anyone with the Vortek faired.


                            As we are operating behind enemy lines, how about having the infiltrator SL hack an Air terminal near to the enemy Warpgate and place a beacon? Then we can all use that to pull our Aircraft without ever having to cross the front line. Although, this would only work if the front line is sufficiently far from the enemy Warpgate.



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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Heavy Interceptor trial runs (Sept. 19th)

                              StraightRaider crunched the numbers in the original thread. DPS wise, the Shredder is a little bit behind the other belly turret options versus a Galaxy. That might be outweighed by the ability to walk to a target and higher projectile velocity, but I'd be inclined to leave that to gunner preference.

                              I think the spotter should be flying. They need to be able to say more than just initial direction (which can be difficult from the very edge of the warpgate) but also any course corrections, height, and they need to keep it continuously spotted. They have to shadow the target out of the warpgate, essentially. I think a ground based spotter could WORK, but you're losing a lot.

                              General purpose interdiction of the warpgate is interesting. I only intended to use it as an easier proof-of-concept for the more challenging aspects of keeping an intercept team in the clear and spotting/guiding them onto a target, but it seems like a viable disruption technique on its own. We ended up catching a few multiple-galaxy drops that way, as you'll recall.

                              I'm seeing a bit of a conflict arising here between the original use - to down as many Gals as possible in one go - and the new tactic of camping the enemy Warpgate. Liberators and infantry squads were proposed for the first tactic, although dedicated Air squads could assist or fill the role as well. Experienced pilots, many Reavers and air superiority, in which you want as many to survive each run as possible, are now being suggested for the second.

                              If you are attempting air superiority near the enemy warpgate with experienced pilots then the use of multiple Liberators against solo Galaxies and Libs becomes redundant; a good Reaver squad will destroy them easily.

                              In my opinion we need to distinguish between these roles. Your goal should always be clear, air superiority, mass Galaxy interception, or both (which now requires multiple squads where before it was a back up).
                              I don't really see a conflict here. Interdicting the enemy warpgate requires the same skillset and equipment as intercepting the rare-but-dangerous mass Galaxy drop.

                              At this point I'm not sure Infantry run squads are viable for this due to the skill and equipment involved. The main argument in their favour before was that an air squad's vehicles and air resources needed to be maintained, but the infantry forces didn't need those resources and were therefore expendable. This was based on the assumption of a high attrition rate, which I don't think is the case. Even with our short-handed squad we had comparable attrition to a standard air superiority squad, so this tactic ISN'T going to drain those precious resources any faster. Maybe less, even given the lower time spent in contact with the enemy.

                              Also, we weren't doing air superiority near the enemy warpgate, we were cherry picking our targets and doing our best to avoid getting engaged by flights of enemy aircraft. We wanted air superiority local to the muster point, which is a much less onerous requirement! Also, an experienced Reaver squad would STILL have issues bringing down Galaxies in time. They're pretty hardy, and those guns present a hazard that Reavers can't ignore the same way Liberators do.

                              We'd definitely need a heftier Reaver contingent to operate in a place like Indar SW, though. Without a way to stay out of contact like in the desert, we'd HAVE to be ready for a straight-up fight.

                              Ultimately, though, the point is to disrupt those big drops. Hitting smaller targets out of the warpgate is decent disruption and good training, but not as high value. An alternative use of the squad during that time is CAS, but the more air superiority we have the more flexibility we'll have, period.



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