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  • Close Air support squads

    Okay, so about 10 days ago, I was running a Delta CAS squad with an armor platoon. Well, the PL granted us full autonomy to do as we needed. That's great and all if we were a fighter squad, even fighters running ground pound. Now, we weren't. I had us all in liberators running fire support from the air assisting the armor. The problem is that, even talking to the armor squad lead, we were having difficulties actually assisting the armor. What it really boiled down to was us being in the general vicinity and picking off whatever armor we could. What PLs and SLs should take away is: please do not hesitate to request fire support if you have a lib squad rolling in your platoon. If I'm leading it, all I need is our PL squad waypoint on the target. I know I'll definitely be trying to get PLs I fly under to take advantage of any CAS squads I run. They are too powerful as support assets to just cut them loose all the time.




    That little comment aside, I wanted to open up some theorycrafting about CAS squads, their makeup, and all kinds of other things.

    One issue I always have is reavers. Reavers only need one pilot while libs can eat up two or three of your squad members per, depending on how the SL decides to split things and on asset availability. I tend to avoid having reavers because 1) they are easily killed compared to libs; 2) they often are lacking in the A2G roll in order to be competent in the A2A roll, which is what I prefer them as anyways; 3) because they often cannot be immediately replaced if they do down quickly; 4) one lib split up spawns 2-3 reavers, which considerably increases the size of our force, increases the potential to get strung out, and increases our likelyhood to become a major target; and 5) the level of awareness you need as a fighter pilot makes being an SL for a fighter squad like herding cats on red bull with ADD. So, is there some magic ratio out there? Is it situational? Or is it a preference of the SL?

    Liberator loadouts. What kinds of loadouts do you find more effective? Or does it come down to gunner preference? It certainly feels like the latter. I prefer gunning a shredder but I can do just as well as people who use a dalton (and the duster is still a piece of crap).
    While the recent auto-repair nerf didn't hurt vehicles too much, who can rely on repair sundys and on engineers, aircraft got the boot with that. I'm not sure if I want to keep certing into that. On the other hand, composite armor seems really good for a lib. Would that now be a viable option for the defense slot or is NAR still a better choice?

    Flight profile. This seems like its exclusively up to the preference of the lib crew and the situation at hand but what is your prefered attack pattern? Do you circle? Do you hover and slowly strafe? Do you do crazy low-alt strafing runs right up the muzzle of a prowler?

    Please add some opinions and thoughts.
    -Sierra

    P.S. Servers have been down for just shy of 14 hours at the time of posting this. That's getting rediculous. I think we deserve a double XP weekend for this (not this next weekend, I'll be outa town). The least they could do is let people know it's taking longer than expected.

  • #2
    Re: Close Air support squads

    Originally posted by SierraSykes View Post
    That little comment aside, I wanted to open up some theorycrafting about CAS squads, their makeup, and all kinds of other things.

    One issue I always have is reavers. Reavers only need one pilot while libs can eat up two or three of your squad members per, depending on how the SL decides to split things and on asset availability. I tend to avoid having reavers because 1) they are easily killed compared to libs; 2) they often are lacking in the A2G roll in order to be competent in the A2A roll, which is what I prefer them as anyways; 3) because they often cannot be immediately replaced if they do down quickly; 4) one lib split up spawns 2-3 reavers, which considerably increases the size of our force, increases the potential to get strung out, and increases our likelyhood to become a major target; and 5) the level of awareness you need as a fighter pilot makes being an SL for a fighter squad like herding cats on red bull with ADD. So, is there some magic ratio out there? Is it situational? Or is it a preference of the SL?

    Liberator loadouts. What kinds of loadouts do you find more effective? Or does it come down to gunner preference? It certainly feels like the latter. I prefer gunning a shredder but I can do just as well as people who use a dalton (and the duster is still a piece of crap).
    While the recent auto-repair nerf didn't hurt vehicles too much, who can rely on repair sundys and on engineers, aircraft got the boot with that. I'm not sure if I want to keep certing into that. On the other hand, composite armor seems really good for a lib. Would that now be a viable option for the defense slot or is NAR still a better choice?

    Flight profile. This seems like its exclusively up to the preference of the lib crew and the situation at hand but what is your prefered attack pattern? Do you circle? Do you hover and slowly strafe? Do you do crazy low-alt strafing runs right up the muzzle of a prowler?
    I disagree with your stance on Reavers. ESF's have one of the highest skill ceiling in the game and players are either going to be bad, or good with little median in between. I think your frustration with them might be dealing with newer pilots.

    I would much rather have 3 ESFs then one full manned crew in every situation other then certain A2G situations. Three competent reavers will eliminate are a much higher threat to air then one Liberator.

    Becoming "strung out" should not be an issue if pilots are aware of surroundings, listen to command, and do not go tunnel vision mode.

    In terms of the Reavers ability in Air-to-Ground I still regard them as highly viable. A little known fact is that 12 rocket pods missles into the back of a Magrider will kill it and a few lower will kill any lightning. Due to the fragility of the Reaver a pilot must be more careful in engaging a target however.

    So in short, in an ideal full squad. I would want to have 6 reavers and two to three liberators.

    In terms of lib flying, I would never suggest hovering as it makes you an easy target to almost all enemies. For infantry to light circles around the base while maintaining a good FOV for your gunner(s). Ground targets, especially MTB or Skyguards, need to be approached with caution. While all situations are different I would suggest tank busting first alone target and leaving clusters of armor to the gunner seats.

    Servers of this size require a substantial amount of work to be put into them. Today's update does not only affect but PS2, but all SOE games. This requires forum, account, and in-game management. I would much rather them get it right the first time then having to put out fix updates all throughout this week and next.

    “Big Brother is Watching You.”
    ― George Orwell, "1984"

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    • #3
      Re: Close Air support squads

      My preferred CAS squad, actually, is around 3-6 Reavers with A2G loadouts and one ground-based infiltrator acting as spotter (and nominal squad lead in order to place waypoints, though there should be a squadron leader that's got overall control).

      The Reavers do not loiter over the target area, and instead muster up in a safe area around maximum altitude after ensuring that everyone has enough ammo and isn't damaged. They inform the spotter when they're ready for a run. Meanwhile, the spotter is scoping out targets, prioritizing Sunderers, armour, problematic clusters of infantry, AA, etc. When both the spotter and squadron are ready, they fly in (usually a dive from high altitude), nuke the target, and then vacate the area with their afterburners on full before AA can get a bead on them. They then lick their wounds, reform, and repeat.

      There are a few advantages of this setup:
      • The spotter ensures rapid, up-to-date target information is available and provides a grounded POV that isn't getting caught up in the moment-to-moment task of flying around
      • The attack run format allows the squad to deliver an alpha strike when the squad is at it's most cohesive, minimizing the problems of wandering off, getting tunnel vision, etc.
      • The CAS squad is resilient to AA because of the surprise attack combined with low loiter time
      • The minimal loiter gives enemy forces less incentive to pull AA, and if they do pull AA they'll be less effective (see above) and they'll be short on targets most of the time, making those units largely a waste of valuable manpower. It's a win either way.
      • A Reaver squad of 3 or more is able to kill most targets fairly efficiently in a single run.
      • Reforming in friendly territory gives better AA support, making it easier to shake enemy fighters in pursuit
      • A squad full of A2G Reavers is able to provide mutual support in case of enemy air superiority fighters getting a bead on them, even if it might not be as comprehensive as a squad with proper interceptor loadouts.
      • With practise and a savvy spotter, this setup allows for fairly rapid destruction of priority targets.


      We've done variations of this in the past and gotten some very promising results!



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      • #4
        Re: Close Air support squads

        My main problem with running CAS is they are not able to get where you need them 80% of the time. (Either because of AA or too far away.) With a Real world Air Force they would be waiting in a standoff position to engage where and when the commander orders. In our Platoons they are quite often trying to keep people from getting bored and going off to die away from the main battle. I think the CAS should be more like tanks that are helping our Platoon. They stay where they are told and come in on a gun run when needed. In their down times they sit still and wait like everyone else, They don't run off to engage some enemy a few hexes over because they are bored! <=== This is not what TG is about.

        Sorry if this sounds like a rant it isn't. Just some observations from a non pilot.

        Todd
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        • #5
          Re: Close Air support squads

          It's that exact reason I prefer the spotter->hit-and-run method of CAS. While having your air squad right over the AO has benefits (in particular, being able to swarm targets when spotted, maintaining air superiority, and being able to provide some pretty heavy suppression) you fairly rapidly kill squad cohesion through constant high-speed maneuevering and it becomes very difficult to orient everyone on the same target or coordinate fire. On top of that, the enemy is more likely to get fed up with you and pull AA, and you'll be an easy target when they do.

          That said, loitering air support is the Liberator or Galaxy Gunship's bread and butter, and it's a reliable way to run air superiority when enemy AA isn't a big factor.



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          • #6
            Re: Close Air support squads

            Originally posted by Toddshooter View Post
            My main problem with running CAS is they are not able to get where you need them 80% of the time. (Either because of AA or too far away.) With a Real world Air Force they would be waiting in a standoff position to engage where and when the commander orders. In our Platoons they are quite often trying to keep people from getting bored and going off to die away from the main battle. I think the CAS should be more like tanks that are helping our Platoon. They stay where they are told and come in on a gun run when needed. In their down times they sit still and wait like everyone else, They don't run off to engage some enemy a few hexes over because they are bored! <=== This is not what TG is about.

            Sorry if this sounds like a rant it isn't. Just some observations from a non pilot.

            Todd
            I was discussing this same topic with Garthra on Monday night. The job of the CAS component is to support the platoon's infantry and armor when those components need the support and not when it's convenient for the CAS squad. If CAS has to safely loiter nearby, waiting for targets, so be it. That's just how it has to be.

            We are not here to farm certs and XP. Speaking generally, people should not be focused so much on score and rank. They need to be focused on doing what needs to be done for their squad or platoon. If that means a little lack of excitement in your gaming time, you just have to buck up and deal with it. Now, if your first thought at that statement is 'well, I'll just fly then, and not participate in CAS for our platoon', you might be in the wrong outfit.




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            • #7
              Re: Close Air support squads

              Originally posted by P.Drona View Post
              If CAS has to safely loiter nearby, waiting for targets, so be it. That's just how it has to be.

              We are not here to farm certs and XP. Speaking generally, people should not be focused so much on score and rank.
              See the fundamental problem here is that people play games for fun, loitering = not fun.
              The best way to handle this, I find, is to have the ground element participate in assisting the air element just as equally. This means; targeting skyguards and burster maxes exclusively at first, hacking/eliminating AA turrets, suppressing/eliminating enemy air supremecy,etc.

              This way, everyone's effective and everyone has fun.
              Downside is, the ground players probably get less kills on tanks and infantry and they push the main objectives less often.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Close Air support squads

                The different components all need to work together, hand in glove, and be mutually supportive. No question there. It's the how of it that folks need to work out.

                My previous statement, Todd's statement and that quote from the Primer sums up the situation that we need to be seeing in game and the attitude we expect of our members.




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                • #9
                  Re: Close Air support squads

                  Originally posted by Zepkron View Post
                  See the fundamental problem here is that people play games for fun, loitering = not fun.
                  The best way to handle this, I find, is to have the ground element participate in assisting the air element just as equally. This means; targeting skyguards and burster maxes exclusively at first, hacking/eliminating AA turrets, suppressing/eliminating enemy air supremecy,etc.
                  I find some of my best and most fun gaming experiences to be when I am doing absolutely nothing for large amounts of time but actually playing as part of my team the whole time. ie: watching a door to the exclusion of all else, Sitting in a tank and only killing one target in an hour but it was the guy that was about to decimate the infantry I am supporting, Gunning in a Gal/Lib in gun three and doing absolutely nothing the whole time.

                  This to me is TG at it's finest. Supporting your Brothers even if it is boring. Boring=Awesome is watching my buddies back so he doesn't need to worry about the other door to a room.

                  TG is not for everyone but it is for the you if this sounds like a good time

                  Todd
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                  • #10
                    Re: Close Air support squads

                    "Tha's tha spirit!"

                    I could not have said it better, Todd!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Close Air support squads

                      Originally posted by Toddshooter View Post
                      I find some of my best and most fun gaming experiences to be when I am doing absolutely nothing for large amounts of time but actually playing as part of my team the whole time. ie: watching a door to the exclusion of all else, Sitting in a tank and only killing one target in an hour but it was the guy that was about to decimate the infantry I am supporting, Gunning in a Gal/Lib in gun three and doing absolutely nothing the whole time.
                      Todd
                      I was actually thinking of loitering as sitting on the ground in the warpgate for 15 minutes staring into space awaiting orders. I'd be perfectly fine with the situations you described. I don't care of the events that occur once actions are taken (ie. Getting kills) so long as an action is actually taken.

                      If I have to sit in the rear gun of a lib and never end up actually ever contributing just because that is what happens, I'm ok with it. However, an extremely limited number of people want to "watch paint dry".


                      I'd also like to add that i'm not trying to argue against either Todd or Drona here. The primer needs to be followed. I'm simply trying to illustrate the perspective that Planetside 2 is a fast paced game. It's a generally to accommodate to planetside 2's nature while also taking a good long look into the primer itself.
                      Last edited by Zepkron; 05-01-2014, 03:13 AM. Reason: Clarification

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                      • #12
                        Re: Close Air support squads

                        If a PL has you sitting in Warpgate for 15 min without a call to take out something troublesome they have forgotten about you. You need to give him a gentle reminder that you are awaiting orders to crush his enemies.:row__584:
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                        • #13
                          Re: Close Air support squads

                          A separate Air platoon with a small, dedicated spotter squad is the way to go. The reasoning for splitting the platoons has been gone over many times and I think the consensus is that specialist squads and slimming the comms is well worth it. Of course, keeping the 2 platoons working together closely is a challenge.

                          The complicated bit we need to work out is standardizing our comms procedures and layout. Looking back on my notes, this is the layout I think we'd need:

                          [Optional] Cross-Outfit Coordination, TS:
                          Ground PL

                          TG Company Channel, TS:
                          Ground PL
                          Ground SLs
                          Air Spotter SL
                          Air SLs (one is flight commander)

                          TG CAS Channel, TS:
                          Ground radiomen, 1 per squad
                          Air Spotter PL (only has PL in order to use the way points)


                          This is all about cutting down on the number of roles each person has to fill and the amount of unnecessary comms you need to hear. For example, the company channel is used for keeping separate platoons working in the same AO and in-depth discussion about orders, so every relevant squad needs to be represented. This requires occasional usage. However, if you start putting calls for CAS in there then a whole load of people hear completely irrelevant details, often and at length.

                          In fact ground SLs are very busy, they shouldn't have to go into detail and guide aircraft in repeatedly. If they want something dead they should just mark it with a squad waypoint AND smoke, then ask a radioman in the squad to call in CAS. The radioman gives the details - grid and keypad reference, plus info on target type and number - straight to the Spotter PL. This avoids trying to line up waypoints exactly, as ANY of the spotters just moves to a vantage point to see the target OR close enough for the smoke to appear (200m right? Or 100m?). Spotter PL marks with abundant use of waypoints (on each tight grouping of enemies) then relays the general details through platoon comms to the Air SL / Flight commander.

                          Obviously the spotter squad should be calling in targets frequently, but they can't be everywhere and if they miss something the ground SLs shouldn't hesitate.
                          Last edited by MrJengles; 05-01-2014, 11:50 AM.



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

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                          • #14
                            Re: Close Air support squads

                            Nice ideas jengles. :)
                            The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Close Air support squads

                              I'm hesitant towards any scheme that REQUIRES Sls to be in teamspeak. There's already a pretty intimidating barrier to getting into squad leading, and that extra organizational/setup burden will discourage people. Yeah, I know we're encouraging people to get into teamspeak anyhow, but it's still not universal.

                              If the ground PL, spotters, and flight commander are in teamspeak I think that's sufficient as a baseline.



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