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Armor & Fire Support

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  • [GUIDE] Armor & Fire Support

    Armor Guide
    For Knifewise presents your friendly neighborhood Guide to Armor.

    Deployment & Composition

    First of all, each member of a given armor squad should be an engineer and we must have an AMS in the group with Ammo. We cannot sustain fire without those elements.

    Second, we must consider the Lanchester's Square Law, that the relative combat power of a combat unit in contact with each other to the relative combat power of an enemy of a given size, all other factors being equal, is the square of the number of members of that unit:

    One tank obviously has the combat power of one tank. (1² = 1)
    Two tanks have four times the relative combat power of a single tank. (2² = 4)
    11 Tanks would have 121 times the relative combat power of a single tank (112=121)

    Based on this law the greatest firepower will be experienced by the enemy from having the greatest firepower available at all times regardless of target. This means that no matter the target we should be able to commit as much fire as possible to any target whether it is air or ground. Essentially no vehicle can be fully dedicated to air or armor so no more sky-guards.

    The only vehicles that can present 11 vehicles worth of firepower to both air and ground targets would be the Sunderer or the vanguard. The Sunderer is interesting thanks to its ability to arc its fire better and use larger blast radius. The Sunderer also has access to blockade armor which actually allows it to survive 3 c-4 hits. However, the most versatile vehicle for this is the Vanguard since it can move and fire its main weapon with a single person in it. The Idea is fairly simple. We have a bunch of Vanguards manned by a single person each. The Vanguard can have AA on top and the main cannon taking care of ground targets. These means we can in a single squad present a nasty 121 times power hit on anything we can present all our tanks on. With skilled use of seat jumping a single person can serve both ground and air functions fine. In addition, Vanguard takes more hits than a Lightning tank from base and with the addition of the shield presents the most formidable platform available. The speed of harassers and lightings is no use in a situation where you’re trying to assault an entrenched enemy under artillery fire and you would rather have the armor.

    If one could operate the weapons of the Sunderer while driving it would be a different story. Some argument can be made that for a pure artillery function the Sunderer is the better platform. The 11 Sunderer’s lobbing mortar fire in a continuous stream from far out of sight into a base is an attractive option. However, this is an option that should only be considered if the target is either impossible to get an angle on or presents an impossible situation for armor to survive in. IF and only if there is either an open ground position with no cover or such a strong enemy counter fire that the unit has to retreat repair and move forward as one unit to present fire should a repair Sunderer be considered. Either way less than a full radius on the repair Sunderer will not get the job done. This should only be considered if the repair Sunderer has maxed out range on the repair. The logic behind this is that if you have to constantly pull back over your cover to repair you cannot present fire long enough to matter.

    Having established the platforms, the weapons to deploy with are the most critical deployment factor to control. This is because armor is its guns. In fact for the most part you could simply ask for particular guns from each squad member and whether it’s riding on a Sunderer or a vanguard wouldn’t matter all that much.

    As established in the beginning there must be 1 ammo Sunderer with each armor column.
    Each armor squad should be able to present 11 Heat round cannons +1 Bulldog mortar.
    The Same armor squad should also be able to present 12 Walker AA guns on a bandit.

    The Walker does more damage and is less subject to flak armor and has a higher muzzle velocity meaning you don’t have to lead the air as much. If you can get an angle on ground infantry it works fine on them as well. Some argument can be made for the Basic Basilisk as it does even more damage and can hit all targets even heavy armor and deal damage. Unfortunately however it doesn’t have the fire rate or elevation necessary for enemy air.

    The Wolf-Pack Exception: When the armor squad is supporting a friendly platoon under heavy attack is when the Harasser and Lightning finally make their appearance. Fairly quickly any platoon worth its salt is going to push on your artillery position and take it out once they get tired of being shot at from the same spot. See the section on enveloping and charging. This is only to be used if you cannot give up your positions and begin your assault from strength due to the tactical significance of the point. Once your armor has either been pushed back from usefulness or is taken out and everyone’s timers are up it’s time to switch to the wolf pack style of tactics. You will want To either base your pack on Lightnings or Harassers but the speed differences make the two not work together well. Obviously your units will need to be equipped for both Armor and Infantry. In this situation speed is your AA. Your primary goal does not change. Your job is to deny the enemy their spawn points and armor assets. The tactic however becomes much more run and gun and therefore do not lend well to strict leadership.

    In general it is good to form 2 packs and issue specific targets. Then you will follow the tactics outlined in charging to present the most effective fire while taking the least amount of damage. After an extensive course test set up in VR the Sunderer or Vanguard with max speed performance slot equipped both also serve as effective wolf pack tactic vehicles with the Vanguard slowing down too much on hilly terrain but still making it. The Sunderer used in the same manner as the Harasser but equipped with blockade armor is especially terrifying as it can take twice as much C4 damage as the vanguard and is as mobile as the Lightning. A particularly terrifying wolf pack would consist of 3 AP Lightnings and a dual mortar Sunderer (6 people) working together. The Harasser even with composite armor is prone to being destroyed but is very fast and better suited to be paired with the speed chassis lightning. A hyper speedy group of 2 Lightnings and 2 Harassers (6 People) Also works very well. The load outs for these units consist of

    Pack Type 1
    Lightnings: Combat Chassis, Radar (1)/ Smoke, Stealth, & Halberd
    Sunderers: Speed Chassis, Fire Suppression, Blockade Armor, Dual Bulldog Mortars

    Pack Type 2
    Harrassers: Speed Chassis, Turbo, Composite Armor, Halberd
    Lightnings: Speed Chassis, Radar(1)/Smoke, Stealth & AP.

    The other side of the Lanchester’s Square law is that no tank should be off on its own if it can help it. Commanders should never order a couple of armor units here and a couple of armor units over there. The greatest force is achieved through a concentrated armor position. The average enemy armor squad will most likely have 5-6 tanks. There will be a Sunderer a couple of lightings either way the force equivalent is less than half of the armor squad presented here. The well operated armor unit will concentrate its fire on the lead vehicle quickly eliminating it in a single salvo. Done right it would take 5 salvos to eliminate the entire enemy armor squad. The inverse is also true. If they can deliver 5 AP rounds on a single target in one second you’re going to lose a tank. Most enemy units cannot aim or converge fire that well. Remember, an armor unit IS its guns so the more effective the guns the more effective the armor.

    If you’re going to be charging positions repeatedly from your artillery position or really at all at least 2 Vanguards should have Mine Guard and the Mine Guard tanks should lead any such maneuver and the column in general during transport. In general the high speed chassis should be taken if at all possible to create a more difficult target and allow for faster penetration and egress during charges. If you’re working with a Tactical Gamer infantry squad someone who is infantry should be able to supply you with a scout flash. This is a flash with a fully upgraded scout radar giving you 100 meters of warning before any enemy approaches your position. You do not need to bring it yourself as an additional vanguard is more useful but if you have a friendly hide that scout flash under a rock somewhere it increases your survivability by quite a lot. If someone has both scout radar flash and a vanguard you can work it out to have them pull the one then have someone get in the vehicle while they pull their tank making both available to your armor squad.

    Key Formations:

    The Line: Also known as going shoulder to shoulder this formation is the one you take on a ridge-line or cover position to be able to present fire upon the enemy.

    The Column: Also known as a line by those who don’t know better this is when the tanks are one or two abreast following each other.

    The Tabor: Also known as the Laager or Circling the wagons. This is when the tanks form a semi-circle with their fronts facing outward and the Sunderer at their rear protecting themselves from multiple attack angles. It is purely defensive and makes it difficult to form up for a charge or retreat.

    Platoon Leader’s Guide to Using Armor

    Armor has two functions a PL should be prepared to call upon. A cavalry charge with subsequent retreat and artillery fire. Never, should a PL ask an armor unit to sit in and around entrenched enemy positions or near enemy infantry positions. The other end of that dynamic range is that friendly armor should always endeavor to be at the maximum effective range to avoid fire and create opportunities to fire on enemies seeking to silence the guns. In general, armor is more effective helping an assault than defending a point. Try using artillery for assaults and the occasional armor charge for defensive actions. Armor sitting on a hill shelling away is just a sitting duck against an attacking platoon. They can focus on the armor clean them out then shift to the infantry on the point. Charging out before being enveloped and then charging back in at the right time is the hallmark of a brilliant tactician.

    1., Armor is Expensive:
    Armor does not always need to be applied to a situation. Armor is not cheap should be considered valuable and not be risked just because a fight is desperate. If not effective in the current fight armor should only be expended when replacements are obviously available (everyone’s cool down timers are reset and resources are present.) In a desperate infantry-only situation a PL should call for armor to retreat to the nearest safe location lock and redeploy as infantry except for a Sunderer babysitter there to clean out enemy infantry sneaking up on the locked armor and allowing for rapid redeployment into the armor position. Protecting the armor unit’s integrity if compromised should take priority over feeding an enemy cert farm. The rarity of situations in which armor cannot be effective should limit this problem but it does happen. Additionally there is the concept of tech-switching as a tactic. If you go in first with your infantry on foot and fight for a bit while your armor is getting set up the enemy will not have pulled as much anti-armor by the time they start getting shelled. Combined with a Squad leader who knows when to hold fire and when to let loose and you can create a very nasty surprise for your enemy.

    2. Supporting the infantry:
    Ideally armor should be sitting with infantry as much as possible. The armor position acts as a safe haven for friendly air and infantry. By placing your infantry squad’s Sunderer position within the protection of the armor columns you ensure that enemy infantry will meet like resistance and that you will not lose your spawn position. Secondary spawn positions forward of the armor can be and should be utilized but they should endeavor to be in positions where the armor unit can provide over watch and they should be destructible spawn positions. The reason is that enemy infantry will seek out the closest spawn in the event an advantage is gained. If they manage to sneak all the way to the armor position in pursuit of the Sunderer while your infantry is still dropping on the target then the armor risks being exposed to heavy casualties and once your beacon is destroyed you no longer have a strong position to assault from. A good platoon leader will recognize when his position is overrun and retreat and reform at the strong point to re-establish a front and resume control of the battle

    4. Charging and Envelopment.

    The armor squad is always in danger of being enveloped. In modern warfare the envelopment and charge is the attack and parry of combat. The enveloped situation is when a unit becomes attacked from more than two directions usually the front and either flank. In this situation it is impossible for armor to present its strong front armor to all enemies and becomes much easier to destroy given a larger attacking force. In an enveloped situation your armor will look something like a herd of water buffalo all facing out from the center Sunderer to protect their respective rears. Also usually in an enveloped situation the infantry will be with you stuck in your little hole fighting to survive. In fact, most of the infantry will be in the tanks firing the weapons while your armor squad has become a repair squad keeping up the tanks. When you see this terrifying situation about to become a reality is the point at which it is most ideal to consider a charge out.

    Charging Out:
    Given your infantry has its Sunderer(s) with you and that you have them behind some kind of cover. You’re in a position to take all units with you on your charge. Also don’t forget you have 11 empty spots in your tanks. More than enough to pick up a friendly squad whose Sunderer has popped. You cannot wait for these units to mount up. You have approximately 10 -15 seconds to get everyone moving when you see an envelopment closing on you and have made the call to charge. Don’t charge randomly. Pick a compass direction and a destination and issue both. Do not charge directly away from your enemy it presents too much rear armor and doesn’t hinder the enemy assault allowing them to keep pace with you. If you running with a infantry squad someone should have smoke you want to smoke up your position just as your leaving ( on the ready command just before charge). Ideally you want to charge just past one of the enveloping arms. As you’re charging your units will be firing into the enemy armor and infantry. Because of your speed you will be difficult to hit and have the opportunity to deliver massive casualties both slowing their pursuit and potentially turning the tide of the battle. In old cavalry terms this would be done by a cavalry regiment overrunning a particular section of line that looked weak to kill as many as possible and create confusion by causing the pursuing enemy to help their comrades instead of pursuing their retreat. For us it means forcing them to go re-pull some armor if they are going to keep after you. If your charge is successful you have effectively parried the enemy attack keeping your armor squad in-tact and forcing the enemy to confront you from one direction again. In a truly desperate situation such as a platoon sized swarm of air or a sudden overwhelming force size the charge should be called quickly by the commands: Mount up and get ready to charge. We are going (direction) and then (destination.). Ready and charge. Charging units do not slow or stop firing until they are good and clear on the way to their destination keep in mind at this point speed is life so charging over rough terrain is sort of a mixed blessing and a single unit stopping can cause serious problems. Rough terrain makes you harder to hit in some respects and easier in others. The entire rally and charge should take about 10 seconds and get your whole platoon clear of the engagement as quickly as possible. At Tactical Gamer we don’t flee, we charge to safety :)

    Charging a Position:
    Armor is quite capable of rushing through destroying an enemy position and rushing right back out again. There are however delicate procedures to follow in the event of a charge. Primarily one has to establish that the same effect cannot be accomplished by artillery from any position that is reachable. Next you have to establish that there is not a significant risk to the armor from say an entire blockade of enemy armor or a significant presence of anti-tank mines. If you have done it once before it’s probably best to consider the amount of anti-armor weapons being fired to have doubled. Finally you need a clear path of egress for the armor. Armor should never stop turn around and then drive back. The skill of your drivers becomes important because one or two stopped tanks in a narrow path can spell disaster. From the enemies perspective (supposing you’re charging a concealed Sunderer position) it should appear as though the tanks drive by at full speed one after the other appearing just for an instant and dropping a single well placed round or two into your precious Sunderer never slowing long enough for the enemy squad to get more than two rounds into any one tank.

    Here is a great video on this particular tactic as sort of an AAR from the previous night’s action.

    Alternate Configurations:
    There are some additional armor configurations which are useful in particular types of terrain. Of special note is particularly mountainous terrain. You can still create a solid base of fire even in mountainous terrain by using Harassers equipped with Halberd Cannons and Walkers. The trick is to bring at least 6 engineers equipped with the Vehicle Mana turret. This way you can bring up 12 Harassers onto a hill and have 6 of them equipped with Walker Anti-Air Turrets sitting behind the Harassers that are using their Halberds. It is important to bring 2 Medic’s in this configuration as you cannot get a Sunderer to the same places that you can a Harasser. Once on a hillside overlooking the objective the turrets can be deployed creating 12 guns presented on target from a very high angle. In the event of Air you simply Move to your Harassers. Even more powerful is using 10 Engineers in AV mana turrets 10 walker equipped harassers and 2 medics in Halberd equipped Harassers creating stronger AA fire while maintaining the AV capability. Avoid MAX’s in Halberds a single engineer (Aside from the driver) can switch between the Halberd and the back of a Harasser Repairing it as it moves. Though not as much fire is delivered it gives the enemy more to shoot at and spreads out the damage keeping the pack alive longer.

    Squad Leader’s Guide to Using Armor.

    As the Leader of your own Armor squad your job is essentially to herd giant metal cats that hiss fire and lead very loudly. You’re going to want to manage 3 different aspects of your combat situation closely.

    First, your highest impact job is selecting your firing position. The PL is probably going to have his hands full and will rarely go scout a firing position for you. You should. In fact, it is often wise to hold your armor and move in with infantry just so you can scout around and look for the perfect spot. Ideally you will grab your scout flash with radar on it having already pulled your tank and kept someone sitting in it so you can have radar ready and waiting for you at your fighting ground. It is okay for armor to be a little late to the battle as it creates a sudden tech-switch need for the enemy. Don’t be too late to the battle or people get annoyed and don’t ask to stop the attack for more time to recon. You want to select a position that gives your tanks the ability to back up into cover. Ideally, you will choose a position higher than the enemy so you have angle on more of the enemy position. If possible, being able to set your tanks so they point down a bit more than firing level is advantageous as it allows the top walker guns to be used on infantry if necessary. Consider these things and the positions of enemy armaments when selecting the ground you want to fight from. Always identify the avenues of approach for the enemy and the avenues of egress for your units. here is a video showing some good firing positions and different parts of being in an armor squad.

    Second, It is important to make sure that your armor is presenting its best face to the enemy specifically the front armor. This armor is the strongest and takes the longest to knock down followed by the sides. The rear is significantly weaker to enemy fire than any other part of the tank and should be as far from enemy fire as possible. The best solution for armor is going to be as close to shoulder to shoulder as you can comfortable get. If you leave too much of a gap the enemy has an easier time of hitting the Sunderer and you cannot present as much fire on the enemy at range all at the same time. By keeping the vanguards close together if you sight down on an enemy the likelihood is greater that multiple rounds from multiple tanks can hit the same target despite the traffic in the shot. If your spread out you decrease your force multiplier. This also makes it difficult for enemy infantry to isolate a tank to destroy and easier for repairing friendlies to find you. Pay special attention the ends of your line as they will be the most responsible for picking up and eliminating enemy infantry that is approaching. During a charge or transit it is important to ID your mine guard tanks and put them in front. It is also important in general to keep your guys doing what they are supposed and reminding them not to stop in a charge.

    Finally, directing fire is the primary job of the squad leader other than keeping the squad in line. When directing fire it is important to remember that a unified salvo doesn’t let the target escape and that it is important to prioritize direct threats such as air and enemy armor or emplaced guns. Once you have control of a situation it is easy to simply give the fire at will order and let the guns do the talking. The best tactic for converging your squad’s fire is to call hold fire then let your squad acquire the target using ticks off of a compass direction and a landmark. So for example “Hold your fire, 3 ticks left of east below the arm of the amp station there is a prowler peaking his head out. “ Each gunner can use his compass and as long as you are all fairly close together acquire the target. In this scenario the prowler then drives out of cover to deliver a few shots and you call “Fire”. 11 rounds slam in 6 find their target and presto dead prowler. More generally you can just call the targets and let your squad shoot. In this case it is more reactionary “Incoming lib northwest get on your AA and pick him up”. As each person acquires the target more fire is laid down until the target is repulsed.

    Wolf pack tactics will eventually come into play for your squad at some point or another. You will have used up all your major armor pieces, all your timers will be up, and your friendlies will be under heavy attack. When this happens simply switch gears assign a point man for your second wolf-pack consider having them set up a custom channel for themselves (/voice join tgpack2). Then do your best to identify and put markers on targets. Your PL will be extremely busy during a desperate defense and so will not likely call for specific charges leaving that job to you. Essentially the idea of the wolf pack is a series of specifically targeted charges. You will have to work hard to make sure that your wolf-packs fall back regularly and keep their repairs up. You will need to focus your fire on the rear of enemy vehicles and bring explosives and other tools to inflict more casualties. Movement is life don’t forget it. You never want to have more than 4 vehicles is a fast moving pack. 2 packs can travel together but more than 4 vehicles and you tend to get lost in the action.

    Guide for the Armor Squad Member

    As a member of an armor squad your job is to keep your ears open your aim true and to react fast. Things can happen quickly on the battlefield and you have to be faster.

    If you read the deployment and composition portion you know that you should cert up Shield, Speed, HEAT Cannon, and Walker. I highly recommend max zoom on each of those and highest possible magazine for the walker and fastest reload time for the HEAT Cannon. Don’t waste your certs on Ammo that’s what you have a Sunderer for.

    Being fast with the shield will save your life. If you see a round coming in use it, don’t hesitate. You might catch the second round of the prowler shooting at you or the next bunch of rockets from the mossy laying into you either way being as fast with that as you would be with the Heavy Assaults shield will be a healthy skill to build.

    You’re going to lose tanks, when it happens don’t sweat it. Immediately inform the SL with “Vanguard (your number) Down” and begin repairing allies, engaging enemy infantry, or jump in a secondary gun to contribute fire. Once your SL tells you to roll another tank in do so quickly. Once in the position of gunning or being a supporting infantry unit it is important to remember never to stop behind a friendly tank if it needs to role back it's going to kill you.

    Learn to aim from weird angles as your bullet drop changes as your tank rests on the side of a hill. Get comfortable with what tick mark on your cannon indicates what distance. You can use your personal waypoint to give yourself ranges if it helps.

    It is important to note that the tick marks below the reticle on your gun function the same zoomed in or zoomed out if you would like to use a pilot round to establish range at the beginning of the engagement you can drop a round on the enemy gage the range and say that the landmark (door of the spawn) is the second tick mark on the reticle and it will work for everyone no matter what the zoom.
    You can practice driving and shooting in different directions by bouncing your eye between the mini-map and the targeting reticle.

    Rules of Thumb.
    • If your tank drops below 50% health back out and repair don’t wait.
    • Shoot what your squad leader says to shoot barring that shoot what might hurt
    • Practice, Practice, Practice the best shooting comes from practice.
    • Aim more Shoot less. Better 1 round hit than 2 miss.
    • Sit shoulder to shoulder with your buddy and make sure your retreat path is clear.
    • Always approach the firing line from the rear and don’t drive in front of a firing tank.
    • Do not stop to fight unless you’re with your unit and ordered to do so. Position is more important than kills
    • Never ever stop in the middle of a charge.
    • Call your targets with compass direction so your allies know what’s going on
    • Call for ammo & repair help as you need it.
    • Keep Comms Clear your buddies need the same communications you do.

    Following orders is the most crucial thing you can do. Yes you have to react on your own to enemy contact but making sure that you are functioning as a unit is far more effective than simply reacting on your own. Yes you may get shot while driving but if you’re in transit inform and let your SL call the fire don’t divert and get left behind. Be smart but recognize that your greatest strength is in teamwork.
    Last edited by P.Drona; 05-18-2013, 02:06 PM. Reason: Added video links

    Everything is a system, Break it down.

  • #2
    Re: Armor & Fire Support

    Knifewise, as always, interesting and informative.
    The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"


    • #3
      Re: Armor & Fire Support

      Knifewise..........very well thought out and informative. Personally I don't like the confinement of tanks, but found your thoughts and tactics very interesting. Thank you.


      • #4
        Re: Armor & Fire Support

        Thanks guys there will be videos forthcoming to be inserted.

        Everything is a system, Break it down.




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