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Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

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  • Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

    Taking a great conversation from another thread I'd like to suggest we tackle the concept of Force Multiplication in some continued discussion on specific topics. There are an infinite amount of topics available in the broader theory of Force Multiplication but taking an objective in a task oriented manner is probably best. So I suggest that we begin the discussion with a directly applicable and undeniable Force Multiplier; Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads.

    More often than not TG operates under the general theory of specialization; this means that if we run Infantry we run just infantry, if we run Armor we run just armor vehicles, or Air just air vehicles. This is a means to consolidate an entire group into one specific type of tool for a specific set of uses, and is more often useful than not. However, I'd suggest that any infantry squad can directly benefit from the use of vehicles to facilitate their own actions.

    This is beyond just using an Sunderer/Galaxy for transit and respawn which is more of a passive role. Rather specific uses are utilizing a Battlebus variant or the few BattleGals we have in the outfit.

    Here I'd like to see what people think should be discussed first. The theory of unit integration (and management, because lets face it, all SLs will be taking on slightly larger duties by using an integrated squad) or the vehicle loadouts which could offer direct support.

  • #2
    Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

    I am totally on board with this.

    The thread about the Lightning's much-improved Viper default weapon suggest that such a tank could work very well as a close support tank for infantry. It's got good gear for suppression or close range fighting, can engage armour, has a low profile, and is manueverable. It struggles on rough terrain, though.

    Something I've experimented with in the past with some success, though, is a Kobalt Harasser attached to the squad. The machine gun makes a brilliant long range infantry suppression weapon (if not exactly kind to ammo reserves) and the vehicle can hull down more easily than a lightning. It's also more likely to be able to stay with the troops in terms of managing the terrain. It can be used by one person in this role, since it doesn't need to fire and move to be used as a suppression device, but it's a little clunky like that and not as responsive. It also gives up the anti-vehicle weaponry unless you opt for a Basilisk instead. However, you can pull it from any vehicle terminal, and with a two man crew can become a powerful flanking element.

    An interesting thought, along those lines, is a 4 harasser squad that fights like infantry most of the time and uses the harassers for quick redeployment and extra firepower. You could cart MAX units along in such a configuration easily enough.


    • #3
      Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

      Now that the Kobalt gets a head shot multiplier (maybe it always did?) it can be a deadly thing. The Harasser also gets a hold of the M40/M60 for close quarters busting (though it doesn't seem like that'd be an optimal use). Is that M20 still really good? Or did they renerf it?


      • #4
        Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

        M20 Basilisk is still an excellent default choice, but it's missing that long range infantry suppression element of the Kobalt due to lower ROF. On the flip side, it's a decent AA and AV weapon where the Kobalt is neither, so you gain flexibility.


        • #5
          Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

          For precision "Mortar" purpose, I have a M60-G Bulldog Harasser loadout that works wonderfuly along with a specific coordinates-communication training for both the scout ("stalker" Infiltrator) & the gunner (any Engineer) to give proper and quick response to Infantry needs, even from behind complete cover, since it has a low muzzle velocity. In 2 salvos, we are on target, stacking direct and indirect hits a round after another.

          With its NFI-2000 Turbo and a Surger Power Chassis, this beast can follow Infantry nearly anywhere.


          • #6
            Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

            So without resorting to a Harasser squad how can an Infantry SL utilize such vehicles in a support manner without radically redefining the squad's function? Should the supporting vehicle be the focal point of the squad, a strong support element, a 'wild card', self autonomous, or wholly commanded.

            I have the following probing questions:

            1] Why are we utilizing a vehicle?
            2] What function does this vehicle fulfill?
            3] Does the vehicle hinder the ability/purpose of the infantry squad?

            The first and second questions have some overlap but are crucial to the management and use of the vehicle. It is the third question that defines whether or not the vehicle has become the focus of the squad which seems like it should be avoided.

            While air assets should be able to be used just the same as any other vehicle (on site, quick to command CAS anyone?) I think ironing this out with ground based vehicles is a good start. We've mentioned the Harasser and the 75mm Lightning for their AI support ability but I feel their are other things vehicles offer as well. They provide a means to quickly scout ahead, to engage targets at greater ranges with larger firepower than just the one or two men it takes to operate, and they are more durable than infantry. Certainly the value of the platform from its cannon alone is large but vehicles can dramatically change the dimensions of a battlespace in other ways as well.

            I can think of a few ways to approach the attaché; is it a Squad designed to function with vehicle XYZ or is it a vehicle pulled in response to situation ABC? Neither version is wrong but depending on which approach the SL takes will change the basic philosophy of the Squad.

            An example of a Squad designed to function with a specific Vehicle:

            A squad with a harassing C75-LBT. The squad Sunderer runs Ammo/Blockade Armor with dedicated engineer driver. The C75-LBT would function as a suppressive fire element, a closing/maneuver element, and even respond to specific calls for fires. The main infantry section of the squad would be tied into the Sunderer but whenever dismounted/deployed could enter into urban environments to capture a base. This group would operate as an LBT/Sunderer team, probably utilizing WWI notions of integrated armor or more conventional notions of Mechanized Calvary (in this case the 'APC' does not carry the troops).

            Such an outfit would be easy to experiment with as the C75 is a default weapon.

            An example of a Vehicle pulled to respond to a situation:

            A decision is made in response to unfavorable conditions to pull a Vanguard MBT at a tech plant under invasion. A very capable MBT with special AT functions is pulled and placed as a 'shield' to assault the wave of oncoming enemy units. This vehicle is highly autonomous and, while serving an important function, is not the main function of the infantry squad which is moving to retake the internal control point.

            There is a good video of Zepkron doing just this I believe.


            • #7
              Re: Force Multiplier Theory Crafting: Integration of Vehicles in Infantry Squads

              One way to approach it would be, as you alluded to, utilize it as a fireteam within the squad. You'd essentially be working with a lopsided fire team. For instance, you could have a 9 man primary fireteam move while a two man Harasser element + MAX mans a Kobalt to provide cover for their advance. It's easy to refer to the vehicle as a fire-team and command it as such, relative to an infantry squad with members not confined to the same vehicle.

              I think the key element here is the idea that this is an infantry squad, and the vehicle is there to support the infantry, not the other way around. The support vehicle should be laying down suppressive fire, putting enemy in a crossfire, or watching the flanks while the infantry takes point.

              In my mind, there's two main motivations for having a vehicle attached to a squad like this:

              1) Provide more firepower in certain situations than an equivalently sized infantry element could. A C75 equipped lightning, for instance, can put a lot of AV fire down range and will vastly overpower individual infantry in terrain that permits the use of their weapon.
              2) Provide that fire from a hardier and more mobile platform. A Harasser sitting on a hill with a Kobalt can put a consistent volume of fire down without the risk of being (easily) suppressed: where an infantryman would have to duck their head down and be behind cover the moment return fire started, the harasser can just eat up small arms and even AV fire for a while without having to get too worried. A lightning can do better, ignoring everything but AV weapons. Those same elements can also be maneuvered to hit enemies in their flanks while other elements suppress them; in the past I've had infantry suppress an enemy position so taht a Kobalt Harasser can maneuver behind them to shred them.




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