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  • Wing Strategy

    Exceptionnally, it happens we run an air squad. Since we do not have a strong culture about it - not as strong as our Infantry or our Armoured Column, anyway - the squad then evolve in organised chaos instead of our usual methodical approach. Lets just seek to enhance our Wing by giving it an SOP/strategy.

    Esprit
    • Intent here is to let everyone to contribute freely, without having one muzzle himself for not being confident on some point. (As I am not a figurehead in such things as air squads, I often place myself as an observer in such discussions, in respect for readers. Writting this line frees me. I thought it could help others.)
    • Lets place ourselves in that moment where we are looking for a whole solution.


    Definitions
    Intent is not to be seeking for the definition of the words, "Wing" and "Strategy". Lets just take them as portmanteau words to express
    (Wing) "Squad/platoon sized group of assets, mainly airborne."
    (Strategy) "Plan including both material and personnel arrangement in space and time."

    This being said, lets begin.
    Wing Strategy

    General mindset for the leader using this precise Wing Strategy would be "Defense".
    1. About material arrangement in space
      My thoughts about current metagame bring me to provide a Wing with both sustained remote A2A and opportune A2G, along with AA deterrence and ammunitions supplies. Plan would be to have a swarm ready to meet with our adversary air assets either when providing air interdiction support or air to ground strikes. Such a device would hold position about 2,000 meters out of supported areas.
      So there would be :
      • Reaver(s) fitted for A2A
      • Reaver(s) fitted for A2G
      • Skyguard(s)
      • Ammo Sunderer(s)

      (I know there were others that had in mind to use height and galaxies to provide for similar purpose. I would like them to speak their mind.)

    2. About material arrangement in time (and space)
      My thoughts about material arrangement and current metagame bring me to believe that such a device should be the last to arrive and the first to leave.
      Points are :
      • ESF are fragile and maneuverable assets and should be treated in compliance with their specifications.
      • Ground-bound units are utterly exposed to hostiles ground units.

      Also, it would have to follow the path that leads it to be able to support many locations at a time, if possible.

    3. About personnel arrangement in space
      My thoughts about technical limitations and material arrangement bring me to organise personnel in the following fashion,
      • 1 channel* for Reaver(s) fitted for A2A
      • 1 channel* for Reaver(s) fitted for A2G
      • 1 channel* for ground assets

      *current solution would be squad chat.
      for there will be so many communications at a given time for each sector that the organisation has to help them to filter relevant ones.

    4. About personnel arrangement in time
      This is nowhere close to be exclusive to a Wing Strategy, yet it is fundamental. In order for the task force under his command to have fun, a leader has to make sure there is an appropriate cycle in roles each member plays.
      However, something that actually is exclusive to this Wing Strategy is that, most of the times, we do not have the numbers to assume it internally.
      The point to that last statement is: This Wing will not capture a base. Boots on the ground will. Thus, this Wing rely on the presence of another corp. If there is not enough people online in the outfit to assume both roles, we cannot assume it internally.


    If you follow my mind, then you can sense this Wing Strategy would support the Air-to-ground Reaver Flight Strike Tactic.

  • #2
    Re: Wing Strategy

    Couple thoughts unravelled through rest.
    • In the first statement, that being
      "General mindset for the leader using this precise Wing Strategy would be "Defense"."
      One might prefer to replace "Defense" with "Vigil", for this Strategy is more a reactive one, just like springing a trap.


    • On point 1. and 2., "sustained remote A2A" and "ESF are fragile and maneuverable assets and should be treated in compliance with their specifications" are statements that emerge from thoughts like starstriker1's Reaver squad tactics and "Air Combat" Compiled and Adapted by: KalaniJ.

      Originally posted by starstriker1's Reaver squad tactics
      [...]
      Fire teams - One thing we did was to have one element of the squad pack A2A missiles and hang back from the main group. This is one of those situations where the A2A missiles really shine. The forward element, consisting of dogfighters with afterburner or rockets, would tie up enemy aircraft while the rear element with the missiles would lock on and bombard them from a distance. Enemy fighters engaged by the lead element are distracted and aren't able to run away in a straight line for fear of getting gunned down, making them easier targets for the second element. We found it did wonders for taking out enemy fighters quickly.
      [...]
      Originally posted by "Air Combat" Compiled and Adapted by: KalaniJ
      [...]
      The Five Cardinal Rules of Air to Air Combat
      Seeing the Enemy Aircraft First. This factor has long been established as an element of survival in any combat situation. The advantages in seeing the enemy first are in large measure self-evident and their importance cannot be overemphasized.
      Fire as close as you can. The main advantage you have over the enemy is your damage output. Don't give up this advantage by engaging before you are at a range where you can put rounds on target effectively unless you have no choice. Firing what would essentially be warning shots by missing or plinking your target is only inviting the enemy to live long enough to maneuver.
      Fire first. This goes hand-in-hand with the second rule. Keep an eye on your mini-map and constantly scan for visual contact so you can locate and engage the enemy at optimum range. If you're quicker on the draw and get the first shot in, you have a good chance of winning.
      [...]
      So, point 1. and 2. do not prevent A2A Reavers to go green, idea is to be 2nd to arrive in the engagement zone from the adversary point of view. You do not want to be the "sprayed sprayer", leave that to your opponent.

    3. About personnel arrangement in space
    I would add that, in order to be able to lead appropriately, I would place the Wing leader in the rear, with the gear, in a sunderer.
    Also, I would affix some further precisions on how to organise A2G Reavers : I would place no more than 3 of them in the same channel (Flight size), in order to optimise the damage output/distribution and to be able to maximise capacity to answer numerous strike calls.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Wing Strategy

      Some good thoughts! Maybe TG can start to develop an air force? :) I for one would like to see some sweet fire raining down from above on our enemies.
      The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Wing Strategy

        this ^^^ makes me smile :)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Wing Strategy

          "Develop" an air force? We have a long and proud tradition of great pilots and organized air squads, even whole platoons with squads dedicated to air superiority, CAS, and transport.

          In fact, I recall it wasn't too long ago people lamenting the fact we didn't run more armor squads. Haha! Now the tables have turned it seems...
          "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Wing Strategy

            It looks like people once interested are gone quiet/silent. For sure, if it has not been written, it has not been left as bequeaths. I look forward for your return! Maybe you could help me assembling a notebook on the subject or even make a sticky thread for eventual Strategy drills list at large, even including - and now I go a bit off topic - global and harmonised strategy for combined arms implying armored column, airborne/general infantry and air unit.

            For now, I try at my best.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Wing Strategy

              The glory days =p


              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Wing Strategy

                ghost : Thanks for the reminder, I forgot this video.

                This is a bit off topic (as it concerns maneuver, which, to me, belongs to tactics), but a couple things show up that I would like to change through training.

                Let me define a couple words as I understand/use them, in order to summarise my mind on this video. Concerning air squad (i.e.: not infantry, nor armor.) :
                • Cohesion : stick within support radius from your unit,
                • Coherence : observe a very similar path within your unit,
                • Synchronism : near simultaneity of an action/event,
                • Exposure : time of render of your aircraft to the enemy,
                • Threshold : moment that makes the difference.

                Here I go.

                Whichever is your target, there are a couple thresholds to reach, in order to get in render distance of the target, in order to destroy it and in order to be able to leave to tell the story.
                1. First threshold : in order to get in render distance of the target, your unit has to observe cohesion. As one can see in the video, we have this right, we are used to it, we live by it and we preach it.
                2. Second threshold : in order to destroy a target, your unit has to observe synchronism. As we can see several times in the video, it happens nearly randomly. We have to regularise this. We do not have this quite right yet.
                3. Third threshold : in order to be able to leave alive, your unit has to limit exposure and observe cohesion, coherence and synchronism. That is another point we have to regularise.

                IMHO

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Wing Strategy

                  The only thing about airsquads in TG and why we dont see much of them anymore is because most of our pilots have moved on to different outfits or are no longer active. With that being said not alot of outfit members have not certed much into the reaver. So the learning curve is going to be very high. 1000 certs for lolpods is alot to ask for. So an option is to have the experienced pilots train with each other first in the important roles like dog fighting that way when the new pilots take to the sky we can provide them a protective shield so they can practice flying without getting dunked on faster then a ww1 pilot. I know I need some practice lol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Wing Strategy

                    Basically, the way we got air squads going was just to start running them more frequently. And just stick together basically. Everything else you will figure out as you go.

                    I would also suggest leaving the squad open, and calling it an air squad, maybe even saying "pilots wanted" in the squad title. You will find this will attract pilots from other outfits who feel like flying that day instead of doing infantry. That way you can fill out a squad, and sometimes get some good pilots to play with you also.
                    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Wing Strategy

                      It is surely a way to do things, but the best you can get in this scenario is a dozen of talented individuals. Culture is like a cell : if it is totally open, it is dead.

                      But we are slowly gliding off the topic of this thread.

                      I would like to know what sort of layout, of plan, of strategy you guys would like to see befall concerning an air task force.

                      and/or

                      I would like to know how you would plan your attack on this Wing Strategy I proposed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Wing Strategy

                        Originally posted by bregard031 View Post
                        1. First threshold : in order to get in render distance of the target, your unit has to observe cohesion. As one can see in the video, we have this right, we are used to it, we live by it and we preach it.
                        2. Second threshold : in order to destroy a target, your unit has to observe synchronism. As we can see several times in the video, it happens nearly randomly. We have to regularise this. We do not have this quite right yet.
                        3. Third threshold : in order to be able to leave alive, your unit has to limit exposure and observe cohesion, coherence and synchronism. That is another point we have to regularise.

                        IMHO
                        I feel like the second point is much less important. While it's unquestionably better to all fire at once and to take steps to improve that, the top priority has to be minimizing exposure, which means precious time in the AO can't be spent waiting for everyone to sync up. Zeroing in on the target during a dive is already a hairy endeavour, and you've already got rough synchronization from bringing in everyone on the heels of the strike leader. The weapons fire needs to be poured on at first opportunity and in overwhelming force.... you don't have much time from dive to target (and that might be cut short by AA), and every moment spent firing rockets or noseguns improves the chances of a kill. In practise, this worked very well; the weapons cohesion shown in that video was more than up to the task of melting Sunderers, and when I've tried the same spotter-CAS organization on a smaller scale I've found that as little as 3-4 reavers are required to secure a Sunderer or tank kill, even when one or two reavers needed to peel off under flak threat.

                        That's not to say that strike synchronization isn't something to work on, but that it shouldn't ever be done at the expense of minimizing our contact with the AO. A sloppy but fast strike still has a good chance of killing the target, but a slow and precise strike is more likely to lose us precious Reavers. I think the best way to improve it is to front load it with the initial cohesion and flight formation (the tighter we run before the strike, the more cohesive the strike will be), and to practise the comms and orientation of the initial moments from the dive. Getting the target spotted and communicated ASAP is important.

                        Leaving alive, on the other hand, is something we'll need to pay special attention to. These days flak isn't as omnipresent, but the air game is much more unfriendly than in that video, and gank squads of extremely talented pilots are distressingly common. Being able to bug out directly towards friendly AA (preferably on our comms channels!) is a skill worth developing, as is getting good at peeling enemy fighters off our squad.

                        An "Australian peel" sort of tactic has worked in the past in some of Jengles' air squads, and I think would still be valid. For those not familiar, an Australian Peel is an infantry tactic for disengaging from contact with suppressing fire, where the soldier closest to contact pulls back to the rear of the squad while the rest of the squad provides covering fire, and then the operation is repeated for the new soldier at the front until contact is broken. In air terms, it means that anyone currently in contact with the enemy is attempting to fall back while anyone who has effectively broken contact is now turning around to guard their retreat.

                        A point on culture: it doesn't, and probably shouldn't, need to be entirely in-house. Air squads in the past were able to communicate our comms procedures and tactics almost by osmosis. Essentially, excellent and frequent comms use was easy for new people to pick up, be they TG or public pilots. Frequent isn't hard--a good air squad is an excessively chatty beast--so making the signal-to-noise ratio high is the primary challenge. At some point in the past I wrote a post attempting to formalize the current comms style, you can find it here. Hopefully some of that is useful!

                        Finally, your CAS procedure differs from mine (also in the tactical drills list) primarily by the omission of a dedicated spotter. I get the sense that you intend it as more of an opportunistic operation than dedicated CAS, but if it starts to take on more of a dedicated air to ground role I'd caution against doing dedicated CAS work without one: a CAS flight leader has absolutely atrocious situational awareness of the battle in progress and will have difficulty zeroing in on the targets that matter, and having an infantry SL or PL call them in for you proved problematic... they've got too much on their plate and can't keep the air squad fed with targets (when they remember it exists!). A dedicated spotter often has a better sense of the battle than the people in it (because they're out of the fight and at a good vantage point) and can keep you fed with targets enough to have you putting out strikes as fast as you can put the strike team back together after each engagement... not to mention keeping you updated as you fly in and identifying hazards. The operation in the video validated the usefulness of dedicated spotters extensively, as have smaller scale operations done since.



                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Wing Strategy

                          Once again, part of it is a bit off topic as it concerns maneuver, which, to me, belongs to tactics.

                          A2G
                          Though, good points are highlighted! For most of them, we are thinking the same (which is sometimes implied and sometimes explicit.)

                          Where I see my point of view differ is on the exposure (time of render). As I see it, it is modulated/triggered (still searching for the proper word) by both distance and activity.
                          • distance : at a certain distance, your aircraft will render to the opponent
                          • activity : while performing some action, risks of drawing attention increase, thus rendering to someone who was formerly not looking in your direction


                          So it is not as simple as it seems. One cannot just say : "hey, I have a window of opportunity, lets seize it NOW!" because maybe he is about to ruin his flight's whole/(a part of) window of opportunity, that could occur the moment just after his own window of opportunity has opened, thus exposing everyone to hostile AA response for an output that could have been 2 to 3 times bigger if it had been synchronised.

                          This is why I would not fly with untrained pilots for an A2G-Flight, even if they got all the talent of the world at learning on the job and all the skills of the world at Air-to-Ground.

                          My researches here are focused on a group's experience. I would not throw that away for a couple more kills on an individual basis.


                          A2A
                          As you point out well, sometimes, there is no need for an as strict procedure/solid culture as I propose for Air-to-Ground. Air-to-Air is more flexible, because of its nature. Though, I foresee problems the first time you get to command "Australian Peel, northwest!" in order to get reinforcements as you break contact that comes from southeast if you did not practice/hammered it at first. It has some technical and tactical consideration that are not explicit and are most likely to engender a simple retreat to the northwest instead. Besides, I would totally write that maneuver in the Tactical Drills List. It sounds excellent.

                          Still on the point of communications, you are right again! There are so many iterations that they can be narrowed down pretty quickly and there is no need for it to be practiced in the first time if enough of your squad members use them.

                          And I treasure what you have done compiling these communication conventions. It is great.



                          Thanks for your everlasting relevance! It feels good to read your mind.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Wing Strategy

                            Originally posted by bregard031 View Post
                            So it is not as simple as it seems. One cannot just say : "hey, I have a window of opportunity, lets seize it NOW!" because maybe he is about to ruin his flight's whole/(a part of) window of opportunity, that could occur the moment just after his own window of opportunity has opened, thus exposing everyone to hostile AA response for an output that could have been 2 to 3 times bigger if it had been synchronised.

                            This is why I would not fly with untrained pilots for an A2G-Flight, even if they got all the talent of the world at learning on the job and all the skills of the world at Air-to-Ground.

                            My researches here are focused on a group's experience. I would not throw that away for a couple more kills on an individual basis.[/indent]
                            A few counterpoints:

                            My experience with CAS strikes indicates that this is less of a problem than you'd think; the window of engagement is already small because you've really only got the time from flight ceiling to hitting the ground, and every second lost is damage lost. If a Reaver runs out of rockets it can fire a nosegun, and if that starts early enough the rockets might have even reloaded before you need to break. An early AA response is a problem (again, not saying that we shouldn't be aiming for synchronization) but isn't going to peel the whole flight off at once. The largest advantage of a cohesive strike is that AA can generally only peel off a few aircraft within the small window we're using to engage.

                            Second, the objective of the strike usually isn't to maximize damage, but to ensure the destruction of a single, high priority target like a Sunderer or tank. As long as that target dies, mission accomplished.

                            Finally, weapons fire from other aircraft, while it might draw a response (albiet usually a scattered one as fire from above is confusing to recieve and orient towards), is also zeroing in friendly aircraft on the target as they see your rockets and tracers flying towards it. Of course, this isn't really the ideal way to get everyone on target.

                            My preferred method for coordinating fire is for the flight leader to spot the target at first opportunity and call it out, and then for everyone else to fire at will. It has sufficient synchronization to retain the alpha-strike nature of the attack, but doesn't slow down the maximum speed attack run and has the minimum of comms chatter and training burden. I have confidently lead untrained pilots on that sort of attack run.

                            IMO, the greatest challenge is in getting everyone out of the AO in an organized fashion... the initial organization is done in low pressure conditions and the strike itself can be executed at an acceptable level in a simple fashion, but once we all scatter in the face of AA, interceptors, or a successful run is where things usually got ugly.

                            A2A[indent]As you point out well, sometimes, there is no need for an as strict procedure/solid culture as I propose for Air-to-Ground. Air-to-Air is more flexible, because of its nature. Though, I foresee problems the first time you get to command "Australian Peel, northwest!" in order to get reinforcements as you break contact that comes from southeast if you did not practice/hammered it at first.
                            Maybe less than you'd think: instead of ordering an australian peel you order a retreat in a direction, then order anyone who's broken contact to turn around and help others escape. It's a simple enough direction for most people to follow. IIRC, when Jengles did it it was pretty well something that happened naturally without explicit ordering or any training.

                            Which is good, because commanding even well-disciplined fighter pilots is like herding cats. :P

                            In a broader sense, I'd encourage trying to develop strategies and SOPs such that new people can be acclimated to them on the fly without prior training. Partially this is to keep moving parts to a minimum to reduce the possibility of breakdown, but the main thrust is actually with regards to recruitment and maintaining TG as an open community. If we can get people who have the right mindset to play our way the moment they join our squads, it'll be easier to keep recruitment up and the community thriving. We cannot afford to become insular or unapproachable... that way lies stagnation and a slow death.

                            All my nitpicking aside, I really appreciate where you're coming from, Bregard! Thanks for taking point on this, I'm really eager to see what comes of it.



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Wing Strategy

                              As we are not in the proper topic for this discussion, one can hardly have the whole depiction I made in his head in order to give or take points. Tactical Drills List has the rest of my thoughts. There, one can read that, as I define it, an A2G-Flight is only 2 to 3 Reavers strong.

                              Therefore, I do not think our point of view differ, when you expose your counterpoints. We are not talking of the same moment. In your version, and I totally agree with you on that situation, having 1 or 2 aircrafts peeling off is not a big deal. In mine, it is 33% to 66% of your forces.

                              Consequently, every counterpoints fall caducous, obviously.

                              Originally posted by starstriker1
                              My preferred method for coordinating fire is for the flight leader to spot the target at first opportunity and call it out, and then for everyone else to fire at will. It has sufficient synchronization to retain the alpha-strike nature of the attack, but doesn't slow down the maximum speed attack run and has the minimum of comms chatter and training burden. I have confidently lead untrained pilots on that sort of attack run.
                              Kudos are yours to take for that. It is good for most players and surely is good for TG's recruitment.

                              Though, I cherish training, very much. You have, in English, a phrase we often use as is within our association : "Cry in the dojo, laugh on the battlefield." I live accordingly.

                              You can understand I am going nowhere close to something that one can learn on the job.

                              For now.
                              Last edited by bregard031; 11-12-2014, 09:11 PM. Reason: spelling, hyperlink

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