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  • Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

    I'm sure you've noticed, but Sunderers have guns. Two, in fact. It's a crew vehicle with guns. But most of the time you see Sunderers just roll up to the combat area, deploy the AMS, and then get abandoned.

    Why are you getting out of those gun seats, soldier? Those are really nice guns! Have you seen what a Fury/Bulldog loadout can do to an infantry choke point? Have you not seen a Walker/Ranger combo go Chuck Norris on an ESF?

    I think we should be making a concerted effort to use Sunderers as light cavalry weapons platforms. They are highly mobile when upgraded, immune to small arms fire, can sustain mine hits when upgraded, are difficult to bring down except by sustained anti-armor fire, and can mount very powerful anti-infantry and anti-air weapons, particularly when specialized for those armaments. AND you can pull them from almost any vehicle terminal.

    So, in the interest of developing some basic easy to implement SOPs for Sunderer gunnery operations, I took a look at the Army field manual for Light Cavalry Gunnery and tried to extract some passages that might be useful for PS2. If you are interested in being a dedicated gunner for a Sunderer, or running a squad with multiple buses that actually shoots at things, have a look below and let me know what you think.

    I'm not claiming special expertise in this area, I'm just posting it in the hopes that it sparks discussion, and maybe gets some people to ride shotgun.

    Excerpts from Field Manual 17-12-8 Light Cavalry Gunnery
    Chapter 4: Target Acquisition and Range Determination
    In game handle: Steel Scion
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  • #2
    Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

    First of all, how to spot and call out targets. No squad does it the same, only a few do it effectively, because usually when you are just a passenger in the Sunderer you are not actively engaged with the battle (checking your map, certs, etc.). How many times have you tried to tell a gunner to SHOOT THAT GUY! THE ONE OVER THERE! WITH THE ROCKET LAUNCH- *CLANK* ok yeah you see him now...

    Target acquisition is the timely detection, location, and identification of targets in enough detail to attack accurately by either direct fire or supporting weapons. The target acquisition process is a series of progressive and interdependent actions by which the crew acquires targets. These actions are crew search, detection, location, identification, classification, and confirmation. All crew members observe continuously. Effective target acquisition for a light cavalry crew requires the combined effort of all crew members.

    Crew search (observation) is the act of watching the area of operations carefully. Crew members use the unaided eye as well as optics to search or scan the predetermined sector to acquire targets.

    Sectors of observation are areas assigned to each crew member for target acquisition. To ensure all-around coverage of the battlefield is maintained, each crew member is assigned a specific sector of observation by the vehicle commander. The gunner has a 360-degree responsibility.

    Dismounted Observer. When the vehicle is in a hide position, an observer, equipped with binoculars and communications equipment, should dismount and locate forward of the vehicle position and observe the area of operations. Depending on the area(s) of responsibility, more than one observer position may be required.
    In short, every soldier in or deployed near the Sunderer is a pair of eyes on the battlefield. The SL can assign sectors of observation to squad members or simply require that all crew be alert. It's the same as when a fireteam is instructed to keep eyes on a stairway or guard a particular point. The point is, when in combat no one should be a passive occupant, even if they are not in a gunner's seat.

    When an AMS is deployed, there should be engineers available to repair, but there should also be a "dismounted" spotter on the ground watching for threats and calling out targets for the gunners.
    In game handle: Steel Scion
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    • #3
      Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

      Next up, calling out targets:

      Target Location
      Target location is the determination of where a potential target is on the battlefield... Once a target is located by a crew member, the target location must be communicated to all other personnel. Target location methods used to announce a target depend on the individual’s specific position, unit SOP, and time available. Descriptions of the four most common target location methods follow.
      I hear a variety of call out types on any given day. It would be helpful to formalize TG's location method. I haven't been able to find a posted SOP that deals explicitly with this issue.

      CLOCK METHOD
      The clock method is commonly used to get the vehicle commander or gunner on target. Twelve o’clock is based on the direction of vehicle movement while traveling, and the front of the vehicle when stationary. The vehicle commander or gunner can use the vehicle front direction to assist in accurately announcing target location. (Example: BMP—NINE O’CLOCK.)
      I hear clock method most frequently, but I'm not sure everyone knows how to use it correctly or how to interpret it quickly. Personally, I'm a little slow at responding to this one.

      SECTOR METHOD
      The sector method is similar to the clock method; it is quick and easy to use. It is best used to indicate a direction from the direction of movement (moving) or vehicle orientation (stationary) using the terms center, left, right, and rear. Center sector is always to the direct front. (Example: THREE TANKS-LEFT REAR.)
      Heard occasionally, usually by people I know have a mil background. I like this one because it's clear and easy to understand even if you have little to no experience with target spotting.

      REFERENCE POINT METHOD
      The reference point method is used in conjunction with optics. The vehicle commander uses optics to determine the mil value from a terrain feature or known position. He then announces the milvalue to the gunner. The gunner uses the mil reticle relationship to traverse onto the target. The key to this location method is the vehicle commander’s and gunner’s knowledge of the mil sight relationship. (Example: ATGM—TRP ONE FOUR—RIGHT FIVE MILS.)
      The quick reference point method is used by all personnel to hand over targets near a target reference point (TRP). (Example: TWO PCs—TRP ONE FOUR.)
      The precise reference point method is used to locate targets accurately in relation to a known reference point.
      Way too slow for PS2, but for long range gunnery on a tank, it can be useful to say "three fingers right of the ammo tower" or something similar.

      GRID METHOD
      The grid method is the least desired technique because of the length of time it takes to bring the gunner on target. The vehicle commander receives the location of a target by map grid (usually from an observation post). He then uses his map to orient the vehicle toward the target area for the gunner.
      The PS2 equivalent of this would be the minimap. A good gunner should be watching the map and responding to Q spots anyway, so this rarely requires a crew call out - it's just part of normal gameplay.
      In game handle: Steel Scion
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      • #4
        Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

        Target Classification
        Target classification is categorizing potential targets by the level of danger they represent. To de-feat multiple targets on the battlefield, the most dangerous targets must be engaged first. This requires a quick determination of which target is the most dangerous.
        All crew members must know the engagement priorities of their unit and be able to classify priority targets; however, the vehicle commander is responsible for classifying targets and deciding what and when to shoot. Targets are classified by the level of danger based on the following criteria.
        The classification of actual targets by threat level is something that we should discuss (a Sundy is not a HMMWV, obviously), but the core principles in this section are sound.

        MOST DANGEROUS
        When the crew observes a threat target with HMMWV-defeating capabilities that appears to be preparing to engage them, the target is classified as most dangerous.
        This type of target is the greatest threat and must be engaged immediately. When faced with multiple most dangerous targets, the vehicle commander must further classify the targets based on which one of the most dangerous targets is the greatest immediate threat.
        Generally, helicopters, tanks, and BMPs within their effective ranges have a greater kill probability against HMMWVs than handheld high-explosive antitank (HEAT) weapons (for example, RPGs).
        Stationary targets can fire more accurately (and are therefore more dangerous) than moving targets. If two or more targets are of equal threat, engage the closest one first. When engaging more than two most dangerous targets from a stationary (weapons-down) position, the crew should use an alternate firing position. Smoke (indirect fire or on-board) may also be used to keep the enemy from observing the vehicle. Minimizing the number of rounds fired from any one position (primary, alternate) aids in confusing the enemy and avoiding detection caused by a firing signature.
        Lot to think about in here. First, the vehicle commander should be taking an active role in directing gunners to the appropriate targets, not just letting them fire at will.
        Second, prioritize stationary targets, as they are more accurate threats and you have a better chance of hitting them.
        Third, engage the closest most dangerous target first. Having that as an SOP increases the chance that you will put multiple fire on the same target.
        Fourth, smoke! In PS2 it also prevents lock-ons!
        Fifth, move! the driver has a role to play in maneuvering into good firing position and not remaining there long enough to be targetted.

        DANGEROUS
        When the crew sees a target with HMMWV-defeating capabilities but the target is not preparing to engage them, the target is classified as dangerous. This type of target should be engaged after all most dangerous targets have been destroyed, unless otherwise specified by the priority of engagements. Multiple dangerous targets are engaged in the same manner as most dangerous targets—engage the target that presents the greatest threat; if the targets are of equal threat, engage the closest one first.
        Dangerous means anyone who can hurt you but isn't yet engaging you.

        LEAST DANGEROUS
        A target that does not have a weapon system capable of defeating a HMMWV is classified as a least dangerous target. Engage this type of target after all most dangerous and dangerous targets have been destroyed, unless it has a higher priority of engagement.
        Medics are not worth it if there is a heavy nearby. Light assaults are no threat unless they are charging you with C4 in hand. Part of fire discipline is knowing not to waste time on a least dangerous target when there is a most dangerous target behind you.

        If I had to break down a comparative threat list, it would look like this:
        Anti-infantry-focused sunderer (Bulldog/Fury/Basilisk)
        Target priority, descending order:
        • AV Turret
          MAX
          Heavy Assault
          Harrasser (stationary)
          C4 or mine capable classes

        Do not engage tanks, lightnings, or sunderers without infantry support.
        In game handle: Steel Scion
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        • #5
          Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

          Interesting and thought provoking!

          An abandoned Sunderer is a dead Sunderer, as you note.

          Of late I have been think of using the Sunderer as the basis for 2 fireteam ops. I will assign 8 men to Alpha FT, this is the assault team. Bravo FT (3 plus SL) stays near the Sunderer, using it as a gun platform. I plan to swap out men from Alpha to Bravo on occasion so as to ensure everyone gets rotated to the more active assault fireteam.

          A Sunderer-based 2 fireteam operation would take full advantage of the vehicle's potential while also opening up ops for assault plus overwatch and such.

          One limiting factor is Sunderers and VERY vulnerable and act as 'heat magnets' -- there quickly become a primary target.

          I find that as a rule of thumb, maximum safe distance to the front line for a Sunderer is 400m. Any closer and it is almost bound to be destroyed.

          Sunderer's create a dilemma -- they split the SLs attention between the front line and the vehicle itself.
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          • #6
            Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

            If the SL has trouble managing the infantry assault and the Sunderer status at the same time, why not remove the infantry aspect and run an all light armor squad? Leave control point assault to a different squad.

            A single light cavalry squad can comfortably field 3 fully-manned sundies, each with 1 driver (engy), 2 gunners (HA), 1 support (engy or medic). Their role can be to provide overwatch, flank attacking infantry, defend a choke point, or sweep a defensive position for enemy contacts. Gunners take HA kits so that they can dismount and engage armor if pressed.

            If you didn't mind running without a support engy, you could use those 3 extra men to field an AMS/AA emplacement toward the rear of the engagement area. Either to support the platoon op or provide that magical blueberry spawn point.
            In game handle: Steel Scion
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            • #7
              Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

              I would think the problem with this (as E-Male beat me to it) would be that Sundies are everybody's favorite target, and draw a lot of attention. However, a dedicated Sundy squad would alleviate this by keeping all the guns manned and defending the Sundy (which all too often doesn't happen). Also, with multiple Sundies as you propose, they could have interlocking fields of fire, covering each other. It wouldn't even have to be a squad full, could be 4-6 guys in 2 Sundies. I think even some of them could gun while still being burster Maxes.

              At any rate, I am intrigued by this idea and willing to give it a try. Anyone who feels the same hit me up next time you are in game and we can give it a go. I also have a pretty decently upgraded Sundy with lots of weapons options (which will also be required for this).

              BTW, I also see enemies doing this, not in a coordinated way (I don't think they have a dedicated Sundy squad) but rather they roll up on you with several Sundies. One is relatively easy to take out, but when they roll up with four it is much more effective. So, the more the merrier I think in the Sundy squad. Problem I foresee is not getting enough people willing to do it and/or maybe not enough well upgraded Sundies.
              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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              • #8
                Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                I really think Sunderers are all to often utilized only as AMS vehicles when it is actually
                one of the most capable workhorses for almost any roles. I'm going to cert heavily into
                mine now and find the limits of its other roles.

                If you are running as an armored support vehicle ditch the AMS and take some Fire Suppression.

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                • #9
                  Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                  I think it's best to consider the 'most accepted' understanding of Sundies in PS2..........spawn points. If you see a Sundy on the mini-map then your first impression is 1) enemy deployment, 2) Enemy spawn point.
                  Sundies are the only thing the enemy can see with regards to their mini-map that indicate the possibility of re-spawn, they can not see a beacon or squad deploy. So the Sundy become the focus of fire.

                  I would suggest that as soon as the Sundy get to the point where the squad needs to deploy then, without stopping the Sundy, the squad gets out and the SL deploys the beacon much like a GAL drop this technique provides for quick deployment, enemy doesn't know where the main infantry deployed, Sundies are harder targets as they are still rolling. The Sundy then continues to a point of safety and overwatch to provide fire and AA support of the squad. The Sundy doesn't need to deploy until after the squad is on cool-down from the beacon and squad deploy. If spotted and the Sundy is deployed then the likelihood of it being lost is greater due to the time lag of un-deploying before being able to move.

                  I would also suggest that the Driver of the Sundy has enough on his hand navigating the terrain without the additional job of determining threat value and call out, and I would defer that to the #1 gunner. Also make it mandatory that the people in the gun seats use the 3rd person viewing while in the gun seat, it gives you a better field of view and rotational speed. Once a target has been valued and called out, hit "T" (default binding) and your back in the sights and close to being on target.

                  Also let's not forget the value of a Sundy in flanking maneuvers, if you had 2 squad on frontal deployment and 1 squad each on opposite flanking, you set up a cross fire vector where you split up your opponents opposing strength. Raining bulldogs shells from 4 separate directions with infantry support you contain the enemy in concentrated pockets. As an additional suggestion.......once the campaign begins a dedicated infil/sniper squad could hack the turrets and weap/vech terms. Preventing the enemy to access their re-supply and allow the squads to re-supply or pull armor/harrasser support as required. Once the turrets and terms were ours they then deploy to a over watch position for directing troops/focusing bulldog fire/intel gathering/ Q-spotting enemy troops, armor, and aircraft as well as taking targets of opportunity.

                  Also with 4 Sundies deployed it give the PL a much greater latitude in determining locations where to redeploy troops, with regards to intel provided, to provide the greatest pressure against enemy entrenchment.

                  If a Sundy deploys.......set a timer for re-deployment. No Sundy should stay on location for more than say 3 minutes before moving to another spot in the same general area, the reasoning is that if the enemy is spotting the Sundy for air support then the Sundy may not be at that location when the aircraft gets there, and if the aircraft engages the Sundy and gets smoked the aircraft will break engagement to repair and need to find the Sundy all over again before engaging placing the aircraft in hostile air for greater periods of time.
                  Last edited by Rageq3a; 06-10-2013, 07:43 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                    Originally posted by Rageq3a View Post
                    Also let's not forget the value of a Sundy in flanking maneuvers, if you had 2 squad on frontal deployment and 1 squad each on opposite flanking, you set up a cross fire vector where you split up your opponents opposing strength. Raining bulldogs shells from 4 separate directions with infantry support you contain the enemy in concentrated pockets.
                    This is exactly the kind of counter-infantry operation I'm thinking of. The ballistic turrets work spectacularly in short range engagements in hilly terrain - exactly where you are likely to find enemy spawn points. Tactically, treat the Sunderer like a team of Lightnings ducking in and out of cover, not exclusively like a deployed stationary turret.

                    If a Sundy deploys.......set a timer for re-deployment. No Sundy should stay on location for more than say 3 minutes before moving to another spot in the same general area, the reasoning is that if the enemy is spotting the Sundy for air support then the Sundy may not be at that location when the aircraft gets there, and if the aircraft engages the Sundy and gets smoked the aircraft will break engagement to repair and need to find the Sundy all over again before engaging placing the aircraft in hostile air for greater periods of time.
                    It can be hard to give up a secure spawn point once it is established. The common strategy is to leave an AMS there until destroyed. To move it effectively requires some significant SL awareness of the local flow of battle. Also, those no-deploy zones can mess with your plans if there are other units on site. But the idea of staying mobile to avoid counter attack is a good one.

                    If you're working with 4 sunderers, I envision keeping one toward the rear as AA and AMS, while the others go forward to engage. If the forward force gets wiped, they can regroup at the rear sundy and form a standard infantry squad until they get to a vehic terminal.
                    In game handle: Steel Scion
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                    • #11
                      Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                      I agree entirely Steeler, giving up a good spot would be difficult. But the idea is that the min-map locators are only good within a certain distance. Moving a Sundy that might be showing up on a Mini-map (and being spotted for aircraft) then having it disappear only to show up in another location has the enemy thinking........is this the same Sundy or a different one. Leading to question how many actual Sundies are there? 1,2 3, 4 or more? Optimally the placement would be such that each Sundy is on the edge of the deployment bubble of the next. Obviously this applies to larger bases and not the smaller outpost.

                      Either way I think its a good plan that needs to be worked.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                        -Stealth Armor 1- should be mandatory. Its a low cost cert and level 1 is all you need to receive the best perk, invisibility on mini-map due to proximity. Its not ideal to be driving around in that BUT if you are in a long battle and need a good spawn it is certainly worth it.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                          Excellent ideas here. Please test out your various concepts and report beck on their efficacy.

                          Keep in mind that even in a group Sunderers are very vunerable. It takes one infiltrator only seconds to appear and drop a mine or c4. I find that, aside from devoting an inordinate amount of men to the defense of a Sunderer, one of the best defenses against stealth attacks on Sunderers is to maintain a considerable distance from the frontline and keep one individual on Sunderer overwatch duty. The best overwatch position, I find, is in the vehicle manning the Bulldog or its equivalent. You need to be ready to hit the undeploy button as soon as any enemy foot soldiers are in the immediate vicinity.

                          Test those organization concepts and proposals, see how they work out under various conditions, and feed our collective intelligence with knowledge of new experiences.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                            Infil's don't carry C4 or mines other than proximity mines which are anti-personnel. But the point isn't lost with regards to a light assult or heavy assult and Engys. Sundies can carry proximity radar but at the sacrifice to the AMS. The range of the proximity radar is 50m http://wiki.planetside-universe.com/ps/Sunderer and only shows enemy un-cloaked to those within the Sundy. The flash scount radar on the other hand is 100m http://wiki.planetside-universe.com/ps/Scout_Radar and indicates any enemy un-cloaked to anyone who can read a mini-map. This would indicate that the a Sundy should be accompanied by a Flash with certed up scout flash. Allowing the Sundy to be deployed without fear of infantry attack, should an eye be kept on the mini-map. Deploy 4 Flashes around the base (in box shape) under seige and you in effect have a 200m radius disclosure of enemy.

                            Bare in mind that the flashes set up in this manner can also tell you the effectiveness of the bulldogs in concentrating the enemy, the movements of the enemy, the areas the enemy considers the most important via entrenchment, re-spawn concentration of the enemy (calling for re-enforcements)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sunderer as Light Cavalry Weapons Platform

                              A side-note. I just got about 60 kills in about an hour, with Ironman as secondary gunner getting about 20. We were using a Sundy with 2x mortar, at a heavily defended base, big stalemate of a fight.

                              We kept firing in the same area. Lot's of complaining on /y as we were killing all the medics :D.

                              Just sayin. Sunderer, and mortar... underestimated indeed. I'm still amazed thinking back. 't was like hitting the jackpot really.

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