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Complex Ambush

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  • Complex Ambush

    Evening everyone, I just wanted to make a brief post in regards to something I've been kicking around my head a little bit. I've been experimenting with some complex ambush tactics alone, and intend to continue with small groups when I have the chance. In my opinion, the only opportunity that's really available in Planetside 2 to stage complex ambushes is against armor/vehicle columns, as infantry don't cover long distances on a regular basis through consistent enough routes.

    A simple (or hasty) ambush involves a minimum of planning and only standard squad small arms. It would be employed in a situation where enemy contact is imminent, you have spotted the enemy, and they have not spotted you. It only involves stopping, finding hasty advantageous positions, and engaging together before the enemy realizes what is going on.

    In contrast, a complex ambush involves prior planning, additional weapons/demo, and arrangement to maximize casualty producing potential; in real life it could be hours or more of planning and preparation, although in Planetside 2 that number can probably be compressed to 10 minutes or so. There are several different variations that differ mainly in friendly positioning, which I feel will be terrain dependent regardless and so won't cover here.

    The biggest components are:

    Terrain selection
    The SL needs to analyze the map to determine several things. He needs to know where hostile vehicles are likely to show up and when, where they will be the most canalized and thus vulnerable, and where his squad will have concealment and advantageous positioning to engage the kill zone. To this end, he should look for areas where vehicle columns will be forced through tightly canalized areas, such as East Canyon, some of the larger bridges on southern Indar, or a certain canyon that I can't remember the name of on Amerish. The best time to set up is when the next friendly base in the lattice from your desired position is heavily outpopped and about to be captured.

    Concealment and noise/light discipline of the squad
    In PS2, this comes in the form of knowing when not to Q spot/utilize voice callouts (including ammo and anything that makes you scream at the top of your lungs), when not to fire, and how best to stay off of radar.

    Spring the ambush with your most casualty producing weapon
    In PS2 (in relation to armor) this translates to tank mines, C4, and rockets of various forms.

    Contain the enemy in the kill zone
    The longer the enemy remains in the kill zone the more casualties they will sustain, so we want to keep them there. There's no way to create artificial obstacles in Planetside 2, and destroyed vehicles quickly disappear. The solution, in my opinion, is to damage the lead vehicles but not destroy them, so that they will attempt to back up and repair, causing chaos and blocking other vehicles from pushing through the ambush. Confusion and lack of coordination will already keep them from backing out of the kill zone, so that part of our job is done.

    Here's a small graphic that I created to illustrate a method I tested for laying out demo in preparation for an ambush. Not sure why the forums won't let me use img tags or post full URLs, if a moderator or someone could help me out I would appreciate it. In the mean time, copy-paste for you all.
    Don't mind the ugly legend at the bottom. My logic behind that layout is as follows; the mines are not meant to destroy vehicles, because remember, if the lead vehicles are destroyed they are simply magicked out of the way and the other vehicles can push through the ambush worry free. They're meant to make the lead vehicles stop, either when they detect the mines or when they hit them. Spacing them so they don't chain means they can handle more vehicles, if perhaps they were driving two by two. I specifically tested this and had good success; a tank would stop when it noticed the mines, ending up right on top of the C4 I had placed. I don't think tankers worry about seemingly unattended C4 like they do mines. The above layout only needs a single engy and two C4 carrying classes, but can be easily scaled up or down depending on the number of squad members with another row of mines, additional staggered C4, etc. After initiating the ambush in this manner, the only thing left is to have your antitank weaponry positioned to take advantage of top, rear, or side armor. Not many tankers run top armor, from what I've seen.

    What does everybody think? Anything I missed, anything that sounded flat wrong, any additions? Anyone have particular interest in testing this?
    Kardandt - Planetside 2
    Doing more, with less!
    Asus K53E Laptop: I5 2450M, 8GB RAM ("Found in the trash" edition), Intel HD Graphics 3000, Logitech Trackman Marble, Tethered Sprint LTE connection

  • #2
    Re: Complex Ambush

    (Your picture doesn't load for me, it says it was removed)

    * As the NC, we have what is probably the best vehicle for holding up an enemy force. A Vanguard, hidden at the end of the ambush, could provide a number of advantages. Firstly, nothing draws attention like a Vanguard in the middle of the road. It would keep attention away from the infantry and mines, the real threat of the ambush. Secondly, enemies tend to stop or back up when engaged with armor, which could be a good tool for keeping them in the kill zone. If they do attempt to rush the Vanguard, they will likely not be keeping a good eye out for the mines, and the Vanguard can retreat to safety. Thirdly, the Vanguard adds to the overall firepower, critically in the end-zone where it can maneuver to prevent or react to any penetration of the ambush.

    * Consider having the SL equipped with stalker cloaking in an area he can see the whole ambush area, preferably with LOS to approaching units. From there he can see the flow of battle and call targets. Hitting every vehicle once tells everyone what is going on. Killing one vehicle quickly increases the time you can capitalize on the enemy's confusion.

    * Don't blow your ambush on one tank/flash/etc. Wait for the main body or at least a sunderer. Let the mines or a backup Vanguard deal with piecemeal units.

    * Consider where your respawn points will be. The enemy will respawn straight out of his sunderers, and his shorter reinforcement path can allow him to overwhelm a superior position with numbers. Consider placing a sundie to either side of your ambush (preferably stealthed).

    * If you've got extra bodies, a half-squad of Harassers (3 vehicles) can go almost anywhere, and could be used to cut off the enemy's retreat or hit vulnerable units from behind.

    * Avoid using lock-on rockets! Use carefully chosen positions to get the most out of the high alpha and DPS of the dumbfire launchers. If lock-ons are necessary, make extra sure not to start a target lock before the SL calls the open fire.

    * Remember that in the Planetside meta, an ambush will rarely be more than a delaying tactic against a superior force. Have fun with it.
    Teamwork and Tactics are OP

    Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".


    • #3
      Re: Complex Ambush

      Great post! I absolutely love running ambushes like this, they're easily some of my favourite moments in PS2.

      I like the idea of staggering mines for deterrence rather than a kill. If the enemy column is sufficiently cohesive, I could see that being a real show-stopper. It might be interesting to augment it by putting down your own vehicles as a blocking force, preferably out of view. Even unattended Sunderers blocking the road will impede movement and under ambush conditions blowing them up to get the force through is a difficult prospect. This goes double if they're tanks--even lightnings--that will lay down anti-vehicle fire and make the enemy force want to stop and engage them.

      A potential problem is that the enemy very rarely runs in proper convoys and instead tends to be pretty strung out, especially if they've just won a base with substantial over-population. This leads to two additional problems: the first is that there'll be a few vehicles moving ahead of the pack who will run into the kill zone first, and you won't really have the option of not engaging them if you've laid down mines. In this case, the best way to not give the whole ambush away is to double the mines up for kills rather than deterrence, since those vehicles exploding outright means a lesser chance of needing to go loud with the AV weapons. This means less of a chance of the main column appreciating the threat they face. Forgoing the mines entirely allows you to ignore lead elements if necessary, but you lose the alpha strike... I've had mixed results with laying C4 down, but that might be a better option in that scenario as well. If a lead vehicle is sufficiently far ahead of the group and doesn't have the good sense to send a warning back after they get hit, you might still be good. If they're close enough for the column to see the destruction or they've reported the ambush to the commander of the force, the ambush is done and it's time to go loud and just try to hold the chokepoint and drag them into a proper fight. Fortunately, if the force is strung out it's likely to consist primarily of zergy individuals or independent commands. This means that even if you do go loud they'll rush into the fight anyways and won't really adjust strategies (though you might have to worry about very aggressive flankers from the smarter solo players or organized elements within the column), and they'll be hard pressed to coordinate and warn each other (in many ways making running the killzone the simplest organizational solution).

      The other concern that a strung-out target brings is that a substantial part of the force WON'T be caught in the killzone. You won't get your clean sweep, and the elements in the back might deploy spawn logistics and start counterattacking. Your ambush position needs to be carefully considered as a fighting position against those elements, and AP mines along the paths that AREN'T the killzone will help a ton. A reasonable expectation for an ambush is that it will quickly morph into a midfield fight as the enemy force--which might be much larger than you--entrenches and attempts to muscle through you.


      • #4
        Re: Complex Ambush

        Whoops, the proper URL is:
        But I can't edit my post either. Am I in some kind of new forum member purgatory where I can't post images/URLs and edit posts?
        Kardandt - Planetside 2
        Doing more, with less!
        Asus K53E Laptop: I5 2450M, 8GB RAM ("Found in the trash" edition), Intel HD Graphics 3000, Logitech Trackman Marble, Tethered Sprint LTE connection


        • #5
          Re: Complex Ambush

          -I had this problem It went away after posting for a while on the site... cant tell you when, I also made a request in the technical support section I think...


          • #6
            Re: Complex Ambush

            I think some roles and assets to think about are:

            -Recce Team (1-2); heat maps are good and all but direct eyes on do a whole lot more

            -Staging Asset; Mines are awesome but they cost resources and are difficult to resupply. Hidden, undeployed sunderer with Stealth might offer this (a squad spawn point, and temporarily allows for kit changes/re-arm).

            -Sappers; the ancient way of thinking about 'sapping'. This is the pre-ambush set up. Once trap is set most people can go back to regular kits and still maintain the minefield/kill box.

            -Alpha's; these are the guns that engage after the trap is sprung. Vehicles, Maxes, Turrets, Heavies etc.

            -Distractions; unmanned turrets or abandoned vehicles would prove to be too good to pass up for a moving group. Experimentation needed.

            Key - No No's;

            The minefield should be very spread to have maximum effect, but randomness is your friend. I've been away since they've added the implants that detect explosives but this is another problem. Put them all nearby and when one gets destroyed all of them will. Bide them over by forcing them to take out your minefield and you at least now have an opportunity to ambush. (This then leads into a good philosophical debate, do you use the minefield as the main killing element or do you use the minefield as a way to prevent them from escaping the ambush)

            Instead of placing two mines on-top to ensure kills why not place a mine/c4 tandem if you can coordinate with others in the squad.

            This is an awesome train of thought and with well kitted people you can cause serious problems with just a squad of people. (36 mines, AV grenades, Rockets, AV Turrets, MAXes, 12 c4 if not 24), you can ambush some serious groups with just one well planned/executed attack. At worst you get wiped and impeded them for a second or two but lost maybe one Sunderer.


            • #7
              Re: Complex Ambush

              Originally posted by Ytman View Post
              (This then leads into a good philosophical debate, do you use the minefield as the main killing element or do you use the minefield as a way to prevent them from escaping the ambush)
              Oh, that's an easy one. The enemy gets to choose! :D




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