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Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

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  • [GUIDE] Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

    I have been very excited about this idea for a while now, and after some research, practicing my Gal flying, upgrading my Gal, and finally trying it out a little last night at the squad level to great success and fun (http://www.tacticalgamer.com/planets...ops-randy.html), I would like to propose expanding my ideas to the platoon level. I had originally started out to reply with only a few thoughts in that thread, but by the time I got done writing this I realized I had created something much more than just a few thoughts. :) So I created this thread, I would like to welcome you all to my first stab at:


    Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)


    I think that this manner of air assault would mesh well with our play style here at TG, as we seem to focus on the peripheral/flank fights and/or back capping a lot of times, instead of getting bogged down in multi-platoon meat grinders at huge bases. I don't think this would work well for that (too many enemy guns/AA shooting at us). I would love to see us do this in "prime time" with the full platoon or more. I don't think it would be that hard to implement, and would really only require changing one squad from what we usually do. I think (with a full platoon, and once we develop proficiency) that we could successfully engage up to "squads" level of enemies with these tactics (or tip the scales in a large tower battle by inserting at the right moment, see below).


    Background

    Some of my main innovations here (treetop level flying, staying on station to provide CAS), originally came from the following thread, which contains a guide and a really cool video. Please read it if you are interested in background and/or the justifications for flying low, as opposed to what we usually do now (i.e., load up, leave warpgate, fly high in Gals, drop and ditch):

    How to fly like a P4nda

    If you haven't seen the video in that other thread yet, please take a moment and watch it as it sets the correct mood and is a good demonstration of what I am about to lay out:




    Setup

    My father was a German engineer (machine designer by trade) who frequently told me, in regards to planning and designing things, "K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple, Stupid." I believe that in a game such as PS2, when you are running a platoon that may be half or more full of pubbies, that this is the best approach. Employing just enough tactics to gain an advantage, while still being simple enough to communicate easily in a short amount of time, and/or be readily apparent to the participants. I have read a few outlines here on the forums of various ideas that fail this test by being overly complicated and therefore impossible to really implement in game. I have tried to keep this relatively simple, although along the way there are a few critical points that must be adhered to, in order to insure success. I have bolded and italicized those critical points.

    I propose setting up Delta squad with the flyboys and those who have upgraded aircraft as the CAS / transport squad. Alpha and Bravo (and possibly Charlie) would remain as regular infantry squads, Infantry SLs must have squad beacons. Delta (air) squad would be set up as follows (in order of importance):

    (1-3) Galaxies, each with a pilot and only one or two gunners, who would remain in the Gal after dropping the infantry to provide CAS. The Gals would need wingtip mortars, other helpful upgrades would also be the nanite repair Xen mentioned and maybe one of the precision airframes. Start with one Gal, when Bravo is full of infantrty and we start Charlie infantry squad, scale up to 2 Gals. Xen, Mordona, GrickleGrass and I each have decently upgraded Gals. I'm sure others probably do as well.

    (2-6) Reavers flying air superiority, who's main job it would be to protect the Gals. Here is where we would need some pilots that are decent in Reavers. We could also change our naming convention for Delta recruiting that night to try and attract some good pilots (see below). Start with 2 Reavers for our first Gal, scale up as we can find pilots or when we start running our second Gal. This might be the most challenging aspect within TG, finding enough good Reaver pilots. But I think it would be a worthwhile, long-term goal in general, to try and increase the number of qualified, well equipped Reavber pilots within TG. I mean, how many times have we been pinned down by enemy air superiority, and therefore unable to function as effective infantry (which I think is our strong suit here at TG)? Look, I am a ground pounder from way back. But how much easier do the battles go for us on the ground when some AACE guys (or others) are around and we enjoy air superiority? Therefore I think that this is something we should work on growing from within the TG community (or recruiting). Only a handful (5-6 maybe?) of good reaver pilots could enable a full airborne infantry platoon of 2 (maybe even 3) squads. Think about the possibilities.

    (0-1) Liberator with 1 pilot and 1 ground gunner providing some anti armor support. I don't think it necessary to have a third guy tied up as tailgunner, if we have enough Reavers (more important) then the Lib shouldn't be bothered anyway, on station a little higher above the battlefield. In the case of the occasional ESF on their tail, the gunner could switch to the tail gun temporarily while calling for fighter support. This is the least important aspect, IMO. First it would be most important to get one Gal up for each infantry squad we were transporting, along with an appropriate number of Reavers flying cover (1-2+ per gal). Only after that, when we had enough Reavers, we could maybe add a Lib as the air squad gets full.


    Tactics

    Each infantry squad (Alpha and Bravo, maybe Charlie) would load into one of the Gals at our warpgate (or upon completion of each objective), making sure to load one squad per Gal, thereby keeping the squads together. Route, final approach direction, and insertion points for each Gal/squad will be discussed and decided upon before lift off. We would take an approach to our target over friendly territory, and avoiding flying over any territories where "squads" or more were present (or where large furballs of air combat were taking place) en route to our target. As demonstrated in the video and guide linked above, the Gals would be flying very close to the ground between objectives, literally at or below treetop level. The reasons for this are many (the above guide explains the reasons for flying low, therefore I will not go into them here) and are one of the main departures from what we currently usually do when employing Gals (i.e., leave warpgate, fly high, drop and ditch Gal). The other departure being of course that the Gals will stay on station after unloading their infantry squads to provide CAS (please read on :)). In between objectives, the Reavers are primarily tasked with protecting the Gals and should be on station behind and to either side, and slightly higher than the Gals they are protecting; see this excellent illustrative photo and comments from BigGaayAl (note however they are protecting a Lib, not a Gal, and are therefore slightly below, instead of above, but you get the idea): http://www.tacticalgamer.com/planets...ml#post1771544.

    Upon arriving at the objective, the infantry squads will be quickly inserted directly on top of buildings (or directly on platforms on towers) by the Gals. It is key to the entire operation that the Gal(s) come in relatively quickly, land (or hover) at their designated point, insert their squad, and then lift back off quickly, because while on the ground or in a hot LZ, a Gal is very vulnerable. It is also important that all Gals arrive at their LZ(s) simultaneously (if we are running more than one). This gives any enemy present more targets to shoot at. If the Gals perform their insertions quickly and simultaneously then they should be able to tank whatever damage a quickly overwhelmed enemy would be able to muster.

    The Gals would then circle (or lift off and hover) and provide CAS very low to the ground (or simply stay on station and camp the enemy spawn building from a couple different angles, or even both on one side of the spawn between the spawn and our infantry on the capture point(s). The Reavers would be slightly higher up, primarily covering the Gals from air threats but also engaging targets of opportunity on the ground. Perhaps assign 2 Reavers per Gal to strictly provide cover, and then let the other Reavers engage targets of opportunity?

    If we were running a full platoon of (3) infantry squads, squad/Gal "A" would usually go to "A" point, "B" to "B", etc. This is why I have designated Delta as the Air Transport / CAS Squad, for simplicities sake. If we were not running (3) full infantry squads, or as conditions dictate, specific insertion points for each Gal/squad would need to be discussed and decided upon before lifting off from the prior objective, in order to reduce the Gal's vulnerable time in a potentially hot LZ.

    It will also be important for the SLs to put down their squad beacons right away upon insertion, due to the lack of traditional sundy spawn point(s). Preferably somewhere difficult for the enemy to reach (eg., on top of the building you are inserted, unreachable from enemy ground troops). On a tower assault, Squad Leads set down your beacon right on the landing pad as soon as you get out of the Gal. It might not stay up long, but at least you will have one round of replacement troops to support your attack. If it requires more that than those two waves, than there are probably too many enemies there for these tactics to be employed successfully anyway. In either case, due to the timer on re-spawning at a squad beacon (instead of a sundy) it will be critical to keep your squad close together, and keep each other alive. This is something I always try to do anyway, but will be even more important in this application, due to the lack of spawn points. Also, it will be important to have the appropriate mix of kits in each squad prior to insertion (see discussion of kit makeups, below).


    Infantry Squads - Kit Makeup

    Will depend on the objective and conditions. As noted in the beginning of the video, be flexible and flow like water to overcome your enemy. But here are a few standard kit makeups:

    Standard Infantry Squad - Mostly heavies / shooters with a few medics and maybe one engineer for ammo.

    Heavy Assault Infantry Squad - 3-5(+?) Maxes, plus (.5?-)1 engineer per max, 2-3 medics to get the engineers and maxes up.

    Squad Infiltrator - As a long time ground pounder, usually I like to run straight rifle squads (as above) and have a disdain for sneaky snipers in leotards. :D However, I will admit the utility of having an Infiltrator attached to the squad. They can not only hack terminals to allow flexibility in changing kit makeups, but can put sensor darts around to help with keeping tabs on the enemy.

    At the end of the day, it will be up to the infantry SLs to decide what is the best makeup for the task at hand. This should be decided before lifting off from the prior objective, so kits can be pulled before loading up. That way you can hit the ground shooting when you reach the next objective.


    Repair / Rearm / Replacement

    All pilots should be engineers, and if possible, have nanite repair enabled. When an individual aircraft takes too much damage, withdraw over a nearby hill or to a safe area and make repairs. But make sure and say so in Alpha squad comms before you do so, so that the other aircraft are aware and can adjust their fires/cover accordingly. The Alpha (air) squad marker should be placed on the closest friendly re-arming / repair landing pad (mostly for re-arming purposes), while the platoon marker is placed on the objective (credit for that idea to BigGaayAl). If we are getting wiped, bug out and try and save our air assets. Sorry, but in a worst-case scenario, there may not be time to pick up all our infantry if everything gets FUBAR. Would never do that IRL of course, but in game it is much easier for an infantryman to re-spawn, rather than wait another 20 mins to pull another Gal... Which brings me to another point. We should have "extra" Gals, Reavers, etc. available (to pull, but not in use). That way, if someone gets shot down too soon, and they are waiting on a timer, or air resources, someone else can step up and pull their aircraft. Also, someone who has an upgraded Reaver for example, but is not that good at flying it yet, could pull it and let a better pilot fly it. Sparhawkxxx graciously offered up his Reaver last night in this way, to the benefit of the squad.

    When, exactly, to decide when to pull out (for an individual aircraft, or the whole platoon) is a careful balance and will be an important decision that may effect the outcome of the battle. Sometimes it will take real nerve to stay on station when you are below 50% damage, but remember, the more guns in the fight, the sooner we can eliminate the threat(s). OTOH, due to the re-spawn times of aircraft, it is also important to preserve our air assets. Sometimes, when you think everything is about to collapse and go straight down the crapper, is when we are just about to turn the tide of the battle. In order for each of us to learn exactly when that moment occurs, will require real practice in game working together as an airborne infantry platoon. The more we practice this, like anything else, the more proficient we will become at it. We may even crash and burn the first time out, but don't lose faith. In time, I think we could become a force to be reckoned with in our server.


    Best Applications

    I think these tactics would work great and enable us to move from point to point and cap much faster than we currently do on the ground in vehicles. Especially in areas with a lot of mountainous terrain, like Southeastern Indar, where we were operating last night. Some of those bases that look like they are right next to each other on the map are really not, due to impassable mountains. I remember when we were operating on the ground, having to drive the sundies way back to the west and around the long way, in order to move one territory to the north. Doing air assault in this way takes the terrain out of the equation.

    I think this would also work really well when assaulting towers, especially with 2 (or 3) Gals full of infantry squads. Land one on each landing pad, all of a sudden we have 20+ guys inside their perimeter on the main tower moving toward A point. Even in a busy battle, with a lot of smurfs around the periphery, I think this could turn the tide on a tower battle. We were very nearly successful at the Crown last night doing this, but we only had a handful of infantry. The Crown (when not too busy) would be perfect for this tactic because of it's high elevation and difficulty to approach / assault via ground. Get a couple squads on the pads and inside at the right time and that could turn the tide of the battle as the outside collapses and then the smurfs could break the stalemate and overwhelm. At minimum, I think we could create much confusion and disarray in the enemy as "zomg, 2 full Gals just dropped right on our landing padz!!1!!11!!!"

    Moving in this way would also afford us the flexibility of hopping around the continent, and capping territories of opportunity (or defending critical ones we are about to lose, such as an important connecting territory), instead of only being able to operate within a certain region of the map due to the limitations of ground transport logistics and speed.


    Suggested naming conventions for the squads:

    TacticalGamer.com - Alpha Indar Airborne Infantry VOIP Teamwork
    TacticalGamer.com - Bravo Indar Airborne Infantry VOIP Teamwork
    TacticalGamer.com - Charlie Indar Airborne Infantry VOIP Teamwork
    TacticalGamer.com - Delta Indar CAS / Transport Squad (Reaver pilots wanted!) <-not sure would fit, but point being be clear about looking for Reaver pilots!

    I would love to discuss these tactics and continue to refine them in-game until we become known in server as a powerful airborne infantry force. :) So, what do you guys think? Also, anyone who has a decently upgraded Gal (or even more importantly, a Reaver) and would like to participate in employing these tactics, please post below!
    Last edited by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL; 04-06-2013, 05:53 PM. Reason: Added Infantry Squad Kit Makeups
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw




  • #2
    AAR 06/04/13 Randy as PL, running Platoon level Air Ops as outlined in above guide

    So, last night I had a chance to apply the tactics I have been formulating at the Platoon level, to some degree of success. I took control of the platoon after prime time, as I sometimes do. This in and of itself has some pros and cons. One the one hand, there are a lot less of the core TG people online that you know you can count on, and a lot more pubbies, which results in less discipline in comms and in general overall. OTOH, the late night crew is a good test bed for my hairbrained schemes (as well as virgin SLs btw ;)), to attempt new things without the pressure of the whole Outfit thinking "zomg, this is a disaster!" :D

    Most of it went pretty much as I had anticipated, however I did learn a few things. Also, Garthra and Sparhawkxx each approached me in private with some of their own observations, which I will also include here. I am just going to get these down in no particular order, one point per paragrapgh. Some of the more important points will again be bolded and italicized, and I will add those points back into the main guide later when I get a chance.

    I tried to focus on easy caps, and stay away from larger fights. With a few exceptions, I don't think our skills (individual flying or platoon operational) are at the level yet to get seriously engaged with a higher skilled force of the same (or larger) size. The couple of times we accidentally ran into a large furball en route to our objective, the results were not good. Similarly, when an alert started on the continent we began our air operations on, I decided to move us to a less busy continent as I felt we were "not ready for prime time."

    Also, as I had said in the original guide, route planning to the objective is important. We need to pull out our maps and make sure we are not flying over any "platoon(s)" on our way to the next objective. I was map checking, as well as doing a bunch of other things, which was probably too much for one person. Which brings me to my next point.

    One of the things Sparhawkxx and Garthra both suggested to me is that I was that I was wearing too many hats. Besides map checking, I was PLing, SLing the Delta air squad, as well as flying Gal doing tight insertions and CAS. And our speed as a unit suffered as a result. It would probably be ideal to have a separate PL and/or possibly a dedicated navigator. However, that PL would need to "buy in" to the tactics I have laid out here, which are a departure from what we have traditionally done. Perhaps that PL should be in a non-flying seat in one of the Gals? Or perhaps folded in to one of the infantry squads? Not sure here. I also felt the need to fly Gal due to the skill level requirements of these particular tactics (i.e. being able to put a squad right on top of a building or onto a tower pad). I do agree that in theory it would be more ideal to separate those roles. However, in practice, until we have more numbers of skilled Gal (and Reaver) pilots, and SLs and PLs who "buy in" and are interested in applying the air tactics as I have laid out, I think it will still be up to me to "grab the bull by the horns" so to speak if I am going to make it happen. I would love it if we could get the whole Outfit doing this during prime time, we sure could use the pilots and the additional discipline (hint, hint ;)).

    One thing I had a problem with as a Gal pilot was I was not always situationally aware of which direction flak / AA was coming from. A couple times I would be hollering at my Reaver pilots for air cover, only to have them tell me it was an AA max or a tower gun shooting at me. Is there some way to get a free look like you can do in the sundy? Or, I guess I could possibly have my gunner tell me where the flak is coming from, and suggest a rock or building to dive behind for cover.

    Another issue, as expected, was lack of organization. There were times when it took an awful long time to get things organized at the warpgate, for guys to decide which vehicle who was pulling, etc. This is where I think we could do much better with a greater number of regular TG members in prime time. A related issue, is cooldown timers and lack of air resources to pull additional replacement aircraft, once shot down. I had expected this, but it turned out to be a greater problem than I anticipated, as some times we found ourselves with only a couple (or zero!) Reaver pilots, and/or, only 1 Gal. :row__738: Personally, I didn't have much of a problem, because I went into it with the idea of being very conservative with my Gal. I innately understood that there is a long cooldown timer (even though I have reduced it substantially by putting certs into it) and that Gals also cost 300+ air resources. I think that some of the pubbies (Reaver and Gal pilots both) were possibly not as conservative with their aircraft, as they seemed to get shot down a lot. Or maybe I was just lucky. But, the point should be stressed to be conservative with air assets, due to their high cost and potentially long cooldown times. And that was just in regards to aircraft at the warp gate. We also had issues with infantry squad organization and speed.

    Another point that must be stressed is for the infantry SLs to have their squads in good order and discipline. The entire point of the air cav / air infantry operation is to move with speed and precision in all areas of the operation, aircraft and infantry alike. Sparhawkxx did a great job of this, he always had his squad where they were supposed to be and together for a quick pickup. After a few drops and pickups he even started marking some of the LZs with smoke, which was really cool and made it easier for me to find them when coming in fast and sometimes under fire. The other squad (Alpha) had some pubbie for an SL. He really was trying, but everyone could plainly see he was not getting the same results as Spar. This resulted in a few times in the entire air wing coming under intense fire while waiting for one or a few guys to get into their Gal. In the future, we can't have this. If individual squadmember(s) are not ready to go, we will need to lift off and they will just have to re-spawn and/or catch up with us at the next point. The air assets are just too valuable.

    Early on in the op, sometimes I would come in on the side of the enemy base that their spawn building was on, or land on top of it. When doing insertions, it is important to know where the spawn building is, before you get there, so you can put your infantry squad on top of a different building. Spar taught me something useful about picking a building to land on. If you zoom in on your map (M key) you can see 6 or 8 tiny blue dots in one of the buildings. That will be their spawn building. Once I learned that, I would put the Platoon marker on that building, so everyone (infantry and pilots alike) knew where the spawn was. I would also instruct the pilots to insert their squads on a different building than the enemy's spawn building.

    I also had a long chat with Garthra, who is apparently a long time ArmA player and also drove a Gal in Planetside 1 doing precision infantry insertions just as we are trying to do here. He had some good comments regarding having a jump master (one person and only one person) say when to drop. This insures that the squad drops together at the appropriate point, instead of getting strewn in a line and spread out across an objective. In our application, I think the Gal pilot should be the drop master. Say (in prox) on approach, "alright guys, hold your drop until I say" or "LZ in 10 seconds, prepare to drop" and then as he gets closer, say "3, 2, 1, DROP DROP DROP" or something like that. The reason I say the Gal pilot, is because he knows where he is going. Sometimes the SL would drop their squad out of my Gal prematurely, when I was going to put them right on top of a building where they could easily put their spawn beacon in a safe location. Instead they dropped early and ended up in a sub-optimal location and/or not all together. Also, if under fire, the Gal pilot knows best how far he thinks he can make it, he should be the one to get the squad as close as he thinks he can and tell them to bail before he has to pull off or blows up.

    DiscoJedi said at one point while we were on station above an objective that we needed an air traffic controller. I think he was half joking, but there is some truth to that. When you have (2-3) Gals + (4-8) Reavers all buzzing around a tower or other objective, not to mention enemy fighters and dogfights, it can get hairy quick. I propose a base air control scheme of the Gals flying in a low circle in a specified direction (lets say, counter-clockwise, just like a real AC-130 :D) with their left wingtip tipped down slightly in order to give the wingtip mortar gunner a good view of the objective. Reaver pilots should be above and to the outside of the Gals. If combat necessitates, you should try to say something in Delta (air) squad comms, i.e. "Disco, I'm coming over you." Sharing comms is one of the reasons all the pilots are in the same squad after all. Also, after two of our Reaver pilots almost crashed into each other going after the same bogie, I also heard Disco advise the fighter pilots to give the lead fighter space to pursue, which I think is also sound advice.

    That is not to mention aircraft running into each other en route. Which, believe it or not did happen. I had one of my Reaver pilots run right into me and kill me, my Gal, and an entire squad of infantry. That should never happen. The Gals should be low to the ground and in front. The Reavers should always be above and slightly behind the Gals, covering and following them. Whether on station over an objective, or en route to target, Reaver pilots should yield the right-of-way to the Gal pilots due to the fact that Reavers have much better visibility and maneuverability that the Gals.

    A related issue regarding combat and navigation at some of the objectives near the edge of the map was going out of bounds. If you were getting chased or in a dogfight, it didn't take long to find yourself out of bounds on some of those objectives at the edges of the map. Just something to be aware of. Also, someone told me be careful about going too low into those deep gorges, as below a certain height (150m?) you can apparently just be killed automatically.

    Now, after reading that I can see how you might think last nights events were somewhat of a disaster. lol But that was really not the case. Although at certain points it was definitely akin to herding cats, lol, once we got up and running, and people started to get the hang of it, it actually worked pretty well. I could definitely see the potential in it once we have more practice at it, recruit/develop greater numbers of skilled pilots, and/or get more regular TG people involved. I don't know about the rest of you who were involved, but I for one had a lot of fun doing it, especially the tight Gal flying was very fun for me personally. A couple of the guys I spoke to also said it was a lot of fun once we got rolling. I also received a few friend requests and some people were interested in joining the Outfit (Spar and I directed them to the website of course). So, we would love to have some of you regulars add your comments and/or join us in our air ops next time you are in the server. :)
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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    • #3
      Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

      Randy I came to the conclusion that a Galaxy isn't part of any grouping. It is a Galaxy. And Armor or Infrantry or Air can use the galaxy in there own squad. Reason being I feel the Platoon waypoint gets used just to direct the Gal and that's not what I want my PL waypoint used for. I need it to guide a much bigger force then just the Gal. It leaves the majority blind and that's never a good thing.

      I think as far as you directing your Air squad a Liberator is the 3 seater comstation your looking for.



      FUN FUN

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      • #4
        Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

        Randy, I think the op went very well, especially considering how hard pressed we were at the warpgate and how many pubbies we had in the squads. The platoon stuck together, the squads hit their objectives, and all the support was on their game. I agree that the PL should not be flying the Galaxy, though. You need to have that map open.

        My suggestions:

        As sparhawk said, Galaxies may be more effective at the squad level, so the SL can coordinate pickups and dropoffs. You are also more likely to find your assigned ride if it's your squad color.

        Also color related - maybe Delta isn't the best squad for air cav, since the default grey/black icons on the minimap are difficult to see, especially on Amerish. Collision avoidance gets easier when your map icons are bright and obvious.

        Airborne infantry can be used to devastating effect across short distances, not just deploying from the warpgate or between distant points. If a squad can be trained to react fast to a "mount up!" call, you can get 10 men from one outlying base to another while facility defenders are still figuring out how to get to the point you just left. You will need upgraded Gals to survive flying through hot zones, though.

        Landing/drop zones matter. Sometimes it works against you to have your entire squad land on top of a defended tower or directly on a capture point. Choosing a nearby LZ as a starting point for a ground attack can be more effective, as it gives you a chance to clear out enemy resistance before having to defend yourself against counterattack. Drop and charge instead of drop and scatter.
        In game handle: Steel Scion
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        • #5
          Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

          Yes, I think we were having issues with the Platoon marker last night, when applying leapfrogging tactics (one squad to one objective, next squad to the next objective in order to cap even faster). Our air Squad only really needs the Platoon Mark to find their objective. Once we are there, the mark could be moved somewhere else (for the next movement of the other half of the air squad with the other infantry squad for example). Once we have completed our movement, you could move the marker as needed. Another thing I was trying to explain is that I try to keep Delta's squad waypoint (green) on the nearest tower or other friendly base with pads, as a re-arming / repair station. I would also further suggest that each infantry squad should be using their own squad beacon to direct their squad on the ground.

          Honestly, I hadn't been doing that (with the Delta squad marker) as much as I was supposed to be doing, prior to last night. So when I started making a point of really doing it, we were able to employ the tower fallback to much greater effect. What I also started doing was to have any pilots on cooldown for Reavers fall back to the tower and defend it and man the AA guns. When we were being chased, we would fall back to the tower where we had a friendly AA bubble. It worked out nicely, as when we had less Reaver pilots, we had more gunners in the tower, and vice versa. So, either way we had everyone in Delta gunning, instead of waiting back at the warpgate for a Reaver, out of the fight. And more guns on the enemy than they have on you = WIN (usually).

          As far as the Gal not being a part of any grouping, I would say that certainly any individual squad can just pull a Gal to get where they need to go. This is mostly what I have seen in the past, where the Gal is used as a throwaway (fall back to warpgate, pull Gals, fly high, drop, and ditch Gal). But what I am trying to do here is something completely different, an integrated airborne infantry platoon, to enable faster speed in moving around the map, Close Air Support (CAS), and other benefits. In order to do that, the Gals need to persist longer than just "get to the objective and ditch." Hence the Reavers, and Gal gunners, etc. who's main purpose are all to protect the Gal's. A Gal is like an albatross all by itself, large, slow moving, and everyone wants to shoot you down!

          So the air operation is intended to be an integrated, complete system just as laid out. I have put a lot of thought into the various elements working together as a whole, although I am certainly open to improvement and I think we have been doing so each night we practice our air ops. Aircraft have some advantages, but they have some weaknesses too. They are fragile and expensive in terms of both resources and cooldown timers. Therefore they must be employed conservatively, IMO. Which reminds me of some of the battles we were getting into last night, and splitting up of the infantry squads.

          I think it is fine to split up the two infantry squads and do some leapfrog capping, especially with very light or no resistance. It speeds up the capping, and speed is one of the reasons for doing the air op in the first place. I suppose I just wasn't ready for that unexpected change in the operation, and I think my pilots were not either. At one point we seemed pretty spread out around the map, and I wasn't sure exactly who was where, how many Gals and Reavers I still had up, etc. Also as previously noted, the Platoon marker usage became an issue. But I do think it valuable to integrate a leapfrogging strategy into our air ops to increase speed.

          Perhaps a better way to do this would be to only move one squad at a time? That way all the Gals and Reavers (Delta squad) stay together and can give fire support to one another (remember, aircraft are fragile and expensive). After dropping a squad at the next objective, and hanging around a few moments to help eliminate enemy aircraft and maybe provide a little CAS, Delta (air) squad could fall back to the previously capped and cleared objective, load up the other infantry squad, and move them up to the next objective in leapfrogging fashion. Rinse and repeat. That way, everyone stays busy, Delta (air) squad stays together as intended, and I think it also makes for easier use of the platoon marker (which is only required at the point in time of infantry squad movement via air transport).

          Actually, now the more I think about it, I think that is the best idea yet. It would allow a pilot and 2 permanent (Delta squad) gunners in each Gal, because we would be transporting only one infantry squad but in 2 Gals. The more gunners the better. The additional gunner could be another Reaver pilot on cooldown (can you tell I am trying to find a use for these guys? I wish they would stop dieing so much! lol).

          Still, even though there was a little confusion and I thought the air squad was spread a little thin, it worked fine as long as the caps were very easy. But as we moved closer and closer to the VS warpgate, and started running into significant resistance, we lost a lot of aircraft which did not surprise me. We must always keep in mind the strengths as well as the limitations or this type of air op, and choose the battles that suit this method. I am reminded of another time we experienced massive failure, we were warpgated and could not even get out. Again, incorrect situation to apply air tactics. Better in that situation to form up an armor zerg and push out. So, my hope is to expand our "bag of tricks" in TG by honing our skills doing air ops, not necessarily to be just doing air ops all of the time. :)

          One additional note from last night, I personally employed a new tactic with my Gal. A couple times, when I saw that we had numerical superiority in the air, the ground cap was not in question, and I felt my Gal was not in danger (and I had a gunner or two) I actually pulled up from the objective to help chase enemy fighters. It worked pretty well actually, given those specific conditions. And I can imagine how shocked those enemy fighter pilots must have been to not only be chased by one or two of our fighters, but also have a Gal coming after them! Talk about turning the tables! :D That sure was a lot of fun.

          But there again, applying the correct tactics is situational. I refer again back to the beginning of the video I posted above:

          Water shapes it's course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows;
          the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing;
          Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, in warfare there are no constant conditions.
          "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

            First, I thank the both of you for taking the time to read my guide and provide feedback. :) I know this may seem like "homework" to some, instead of spending time playing the game, but I believe taking the time to get our underlying theories and tactics in order here in the forums will provide an improvement in real, tangible results in game.

            Originally posted by Steeler View Post
            Randy, I think the op went very well, especially considering how hard pressed we were at the warpgate and how many pubbies we had in the squads. The platoon stuck together, the squads hit their objectives, and all the support was on their game. I agree that the PL should not be flying the Galaxy, though. You need to have that map open.

            My suggestions:

            As sparhawk said, Galaxies may be more effective at the squad level, so the SL can coordinate pickups and dropoffs. You are also more likely to find your assigned ride if it's your squad color.

            Also color related - maybe Delta isn't the best squad for air cav, since the default grey/black icons on the minimap are difficult to see, especially on Amerish. Collision avoidance gets easier when your map icons are bright and obvious.

            Airborne infantry can be used to devastating effect across short distances, not just deploying from the warpgate or between distant points. If a squad can be trained to react fast to a "mount up!" call, you can get 10 men from one outlying base to another while facility defenders are still figuring out how to get to the point you just left. You will need upgraded Gals to survive flying through hot zones, though.

            Landing/drop zones matter. Sometimes it works against you to have your entire squad land on top of a defended tower or directly on a capture point. Choosing a nearby LZ as a starting point for a ground attack can be more effective, as it gives you a chance to clear out enemy resistance before having to defend yourself against counterattack. Drop and charge instead of drop and scatter.
            It did go much better last night, I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we have been doing this a few times now and my air corps especially is getting the hang of it (organizationally and skill wise). Compared to the first night of doing it at the Platoon level, I spent much, much less time getting it all organized at the warpgate before beginning (although it still did take a couple minutes). Another thing that I believed helped was putting out the call to pilots in my Delta squad recruiting message. I think I put something along the lines of:

            TacticalGamer.com - Delta Esamir Air Squad (pilots wanted!)

            Which I believe netted us a couple good pilots. GrickeGrass told me that one guy in particular was very good (sorry but forgot his name, it was the first time I had him in my squad). In fact Grickle was having such a good time shooting down enemy fighters, I think he set a personal record last night, with this new pilot as his wingman. Which reminds me of something; over the course of doing these air ops, I have spoken to a couple pilots that were great assets to the air squad. I usually ask them if they are in an Outfit, and if they do a lot of air ops. This guy last night said that he was in an Outfit, but that they did not do a lot of air ops. I don't know if this is common, but if it is I would love to see TG become known as a place for pilots, sort of like the reputation AACE seems to enjoy currently.

            As for PL + Gal flying, I was not PL last night, Spar actually was. :) Although in general, I do agree with your sentiment in theory. Please refer to my previous comments here (emphasis mine):

            Originally posted by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL View Post
            One of the things Sparhawkxx and Garthra both suggested to me is that I was that I was wearing too many hats. Besides map checking, I was PLing, SLing the Delta air squad, as well as flying Gal doing tight insertions and CAS. And our speed as a unit suffered as a result. It would probably be ideal to have a separate PL and/or possibly a dedicated navigator. However, that PL would need to "buy in" to the tactics I have laid out here, which are a departure from what we have traditionally done. Perhaps that PL should be in a non-flying seat in one of the Gals? Or perhaps folded in to one of the infantry squads? Not sure here. I also felt the need to fly Gal due to the skill level requirements of these particular tactics (i.e. being able to put a squad right on top of a building or onto a tower pad). I do agree that in theory it would be more ideal to separate those roles. However, in practice, until we have more numbers of skilled Gal (and Reaver) pilots, and SLs and PLs who "buy in" and are interested in applying the air tactics as I have laid out, I think it will still be up to me to "grab the bull by the horns" so to speak if I am going to make it happen. I would love it if we could get the whole Outfit doing this during prime time, we sure could use the pilots and the additional discipline (hint, hint ;)).
            I will think some more on what you have said about squad colors and background. I suppose the opposite would be true on Indar. The original reason for Delta being the air squad was so when we become capable enough to assault a larger base, Alpha infantry squad could go to A point, Bravo to B, etc. And also so that Delta could be fixed as "always the air squad" and allow for fluctuation of 1-3 infantry squads as people join and leave the platoon.

            Another thing I learned recently (as a Reaver pilot) is to stay in "outside" view while maneuvering, and only switch to your "interior / crosshair" view when you are close to lining up for a shot. This increases situational awareness as you can see much more around you; important especially as we are employing many aircraft in close proximity. I know that I almost always fly in "outside" view in my Galaxy. I got that idea from this video, there are a few other good tips in there for our Reaver pilots as well:



            I agree with your point in some cases not dropping directly onto buildings, even though that is primarily what we have done thus far (the point being to get the squad beacon in a location not easily accessible to the enemy). Target selection is important, we usually go for lightly defended bases with a squad or two (or less) there, depending of course on how many infantry squads we have. Although part of what we are trying to accomplish is "shock and awe." Can you imagine how you would feel if you were part of a disorganized squad or two (or less) and all of a sudden 2-3 Gals all roll up on you at the same time, seemingly out of nowhere (coming in low), land quickly and smartly on rooftops, discharging 2 or 3 full squads, and then lift off and circle together providing CAS from their wingtip mortars? Not to mention the Reavers... :) Not to brag, but I think that would be an impressive sight to be on the receiving end of, even though it means you lost the base. I am sure we have all had those moments in game, where you lose the battle but you either learn something new and/or are extremely impressed by your enemy's tactic.

            I know thats how I felt earlier last night when eMale was PLing, we had the VS pushed all the way back to their warpgate and had taken the time to set up a nice defense to the west of their warpgate. My squad was occupying the western side of a deep gorge, and had mined the only road to the north at the choke point. We deployed tanks on our side of the gorge, backed up by AA sundies. I even had a guy back in the tower behind us in one of the tower guns, "just in case". It was a sound defense that we had taken the time to set up. eMale had done a great job of deploying us (and Bravo squad to our south) and advising the platoon to be patient and wait for the enemy to engage us on our terms. Then like 5-8 Gals fly right over us and drop right on the tower. I forgot how many there were exactly, as we were all too busy trying to shoot them down. We got a couple / few of them but it was too late. It was, however, a sight to behold.

            Having said that, I do believe that there is a place for the tactic of insertion away from the base itself (ex. when there are more than "squad(s)" present, or when they seem to be a well organized squad(s) and/or have a lot of AA). In fact, now that I think about it we did actually do this already. One night, there were some guys right in the bottom of the map, behind our warpgate. Very close. We loaded up and rolled in as usual, only to get lit up by AA (ex.: 2+ maxes and a sundy maybe). I was able to peel off and duck behind a hill because I always fly low anyway, but I think the other Gal was not so lucky. Or maybe I did get shot down, I don't really recall. But, point being, we reconsidered our approach. After re-grouping, we flew out from the warpgate low and to the east, hooking around in a wide arc and using the terrain for cover. We inserted one or two squads on the ground to the east of the objective in a safe area and let them move in on foot. In that particular case, we did not stay on station and provide CAS, we let the infantry move in and take care of it.
            Last edited by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL; 04-08-2013, 11:40 AM.
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

              With a few changes get ready for calls for a strike. I know Jengles always asks people to spot there target and waypoint them. Now I feel more confident and when I know we have air you better believe my SL/PL is going down on a target. Next I will be using coms to call in the strike. Make sure you have your SL/PL's volume up so you don't have to ask them to repeat these orders when your in an Air squad. Not so much the SM's as the SL's need to do this.

              As leading squads my weakness is getting the armor down fast. The Air is not as much as a problem. I have been fortunate the squads I have been in have grabbed whatever I needed and I'm oh so grateful. Thanks guys.



              FUN FUN

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              • #8
                Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                SL/PL as a pilot should be a no no. A pilot needs to have uninterrupted situational awareness. A gunner as a SL/PL would be better, because unless he's engaged in something, he has time to study the map and lay waypoints. Also, SL's should use the Squad waypoint to direct their Galaxy, which means that each Gal should be imbedded in the squad. Delta squad should be air cover(reaver/Lib) and sunder providers. Lib lands Inf get's out and hacks terminal, pulls Sunder, opens it to squad/platoon, then get's back in Lib and takes off.
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                • #9
                  Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                  Even using the delta sunderer is a problem. You come up against the color code again. Why mess with that its solid. Don't mix the colors you will make a mess :)



                  FUN FUN

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                  • #10
                    Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                    Actually, if you read it, all delta is doing is spawning sunders for the other 3 squads to grab, they will be the color of whatever driver starts driving them. They become white if set to squad/platoon only and no one is in the drivers seat.
                    sigpic




                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                      I don't like the idea of squad embedded Galaxies. I understand that it makes it easier for the infantry squads to find the correct Gal, but that is the only benefit. And there are a lot of downsides.

                      Say for a moment we do squad attached Galaxies, for color coding purposes. Who stays in and guns? Another member of that infantry squad? Now you are 2 men short on the ground on the objective. Or get a dedicated gunner from Delta to stay in each Gal? Now you have comms problems gunner co-ordinating with pilot and pilot communicating with the fighter escorts. If no one stays in and guns, now we have no CAS and, more importantly, no way for the Gal to protect itself should the Reavers be busy with bogies. Or should the pilot get out and join his infantry squad on the ground? If you think that then you really are missing the entire point. Therefore the squad embedded Galaxy seems too much along the lines of a throwaway Galaxy to me, which is exactly NOT what I am trying to do. Again, what I am proposing here is a departure from what we have done in the past.

                      The entire point is for the Delta squad to function as a cohesive transport / air superiority / CAS squad. I understand your concerns about color coding, but I do not think those concerns outweigh the ones I mention, when you look at it from the perspective of an integrated air squad, Gal and air survivability, and an integrated airborne infantry platoon.

                      So maybe we will need to come up with a better way of getting the infantry into the right Gal. I am open to suggestions on this. I like the leapfrogging idea we worked out in the above post when speed capping very lightly or undefended bases. Then we would only need to transport one squad at a time. While that squad caps (and capping seems to take longer now anyway) the air squad moves together and goes back and picks up the other squad and leapfrogs them to the next spot. I thought that was a great idea. But apparently there is a problem we run into when transporting multiple squads at the same time.

                      My personal opinion is that if SLs cannot keep their infantry squads together well enough to all get into the correct Gal, then it is going to be hard for this whole op to work at all because the whole thing relies on speed and precision. SLs should have all their infantry together at or near the LZ before they call for pickup anyway. It should only be a matter of following their SL into the correct Gal. Seems pretty simple to me. Again, going back to my original post, squads should be sticking together anyway in order to maximize the chances of staying alive, especially due to the lack of traditional spawn points and sundies. I think squads should always run this way anyway, but it becomes much more important when employing these tactics.

                      Open your minds guys to different ways of doing things. Again I say this is a clear departure from what has been done in the past. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the various parts of this, and how they all fit together as a whole. And the arguments put forth here have not convinced me that the benefits of the squad embedded Gal outweigh the downsides, when you are looking at it from the perspective of an integrated air assault infantry platoon, survivability of air assets, etc. As with many innovations, sometimes a change in your entire point of view or paradigm is necessary.
                      Last edited by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL; 04-08-2013, 10:47 PM. Reason: change some wording for clarity
                      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                        You need to keep the reavers from crashing into Gal. You have to use your own waypoint if theres more then 1 Gal the PL needs it to send the other squad or squads. You have to allow the reavers to strike at a moments notice.



                        FUN FUN

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                        • #13
                          Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                          Randy thanks for the guide. I enjoyed soaking up the ideas you've put out. I'd like to offer some insight from a guy who loves the grunt game. (granted I'm a planetside 2 noob, but I have played ps 1 extensively, and my playstyle hasn't really changed from 1 to 2. Nor do I speak from experience in running a squad in this game, so please take that into consideration while reading my points.)

                          As a grunt, I love...love...LOVE the idea of a dedicated galaxy pilot being from a different squad. It means more dedicated boots on the ground in my squad :P I also love the fact of dedicated and coordinated troop transport. One of the major complaints I had with PS1 was having to hoof it from one base to the other, and with ps2 having larger maps this is only multiplied several times over. It's ineffective tactically, and more often than not leads to squads getting scattered to hell and beyond.

                          Also having transport on the ready gets the grunts more xp, as we can jump from base to base faster. So thumbs up there.

                          However there is one draw back that I was noticing....especially with how we ran tonight. Your galaxy had a full dedicated gun crew. That took up several spots and several outfit members multiple times were left to find their own means of transport. I think that defeats the purpose of which this well thought out guide was intended to do.

                          I'd like to offer my suggestion as to correct this issue.

                          First off, the simplest answer is to pull another galaxy. However if you fully gun crew 2 galaxies that greatly takes away how many reaver pilots you can have in a dedicated squad. So why not cut back the number of dedicated gunners to 2, to make the galaxy a 3 man job. Just have the gunners Fkey hotswap seats if they need to while in flight.

                          *sidenote I know the more we do this, and the more we practice the better we will be at it, but I'd really be up for a few practice sessions sometime to work on our boarding speed and controlled drops.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                            Joshui,

                            Thanks for taking the time to read the guide and comment. Yes speed is one of the advantages and is of the essence of the op. We are getting better all the time. We keep adding to our skills and it seems that each night we run air ops we incorporate one more thing that we were not doing before. The other night we did a good job of using the fallback tower as a base of operations. Tonight, I focused on having all the Delta pilots pull out there map and have a quick discussion of the next objective, approach direction, heavy enemy concentrations in nearby territories, etc. before pulling out. As a result I think we stayed alive (and therefore on station) a lot more tonight.

                            And as far as having a lot of gunners in Gals, that just sort of happened tonight. The original guide only called for 1 or 2 gunners per Gal. Usually we were running 1. Tonight, a guy had just joined that had pulled a Gal right before he joined us, so we moved him to Delta. With his Gal, plus Mordona's, plus mine we had 3 Gals. And we were only really transporting one squad of infantry. lol So we just loaded up on gunners and used the Gals as gun platforms and I think it worked out very well. I know that I was lucky and had some good gunners and we had a lot of kills on my ship tonight. Also, I stayed alive for long stretches of time at a clip. So, getting back to your point yes we might have only had 8 seats available in each Gal, but we would just transport Bravo squad in 2 Gals. We were all together tonight and only going to one objective at a time anyway, so it worked out.

                            The only time I recall leaving anyone behind was when all of the infantry squad was not at the pickup spot, or was taking too long to get there, and/or we were taking fire. In those cases, we are going to boogie to the next spot and sorry about your luck. Because we can't jeopardize the whole air wing just because a couple infantrymen can't keep up.

                            And as far as setting up an event or a time to practice drops or anything, I would be all for it. I am willing to take the time and train anyone who wants to learn whatever I know. At the moment that would be Gal flying, drops and the like. I wish I knew more about Reaver piloting, I would love to have a class and teach more people that.

                            In the meantime, I would advise anyone who is interested in improving their flying skills to just get into the VR area and do some practice flying. You can go there from any warpgate. I spent a lot of time in there myself before I ever thought about transporting anyone in my Gal. In fact, every time there is a queue, I go to VR first and then get in the queue. Then I practice my flying, or shooting, or whatever while I wait. If you didn't know, you can also equip any certed equipment while you are in VR, even if you don't normally have it, you can also equip any gun, even if you don't own it. I always go in there and test out weapons and other things before I spend my hard earned certs or station cash on them.
                            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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                            • #15
                              Re: Randy's Guide to Airborne Infantry Operations at the Platoon Level (WIP)

                              I would like to point out that I tried to do some practices on Sunday's but no one ever showed to any of them. Getting gunners used to directing the pilot on to targets and whatnot. Also, 2 Gunners are the max needed in a Gal, That will allow you to have AA and AG covered, or allow you to double up on Air. I have found that increasing my nanite repair and using some crazy dogfighting maneuvers, 2 gunners can take down a Mosq or Scythe. Gunners must Q-spot bogeys though, it allows the pilot to be able to angle for gunner shots.
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