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NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

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  • NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

    I have noticed recently some confusion regarding NATO symbology with regards to unit designations. With more missions coming out that utilize ARMAs built in NATO symbols I thought a good review and summery was in order.

    NATO map symbology with regard to military units is designated APP-6A and is a very simple system once a few basics are learned that enables clear, accurate, consistent and flexible communication of military units location, strength and disposition from the smallest operations to the largest. This guide is primarily concerned with those elements that are able to be implemented in ARMA II. There are some extra things in the real world APP-6A some of which are really cool. If you’re interested in this topic I encourage you to search the web there are plenty of resources out their full of interesting stuff.

    Here are two examples of unit symbols with the features of each pointed out:

    Fig 1.1 A BLUFOR Mechanized Infantry Platoon

    Fig 1.2 An OPFOR Motorized Infantry Company

    A summary of the different features one may encounter on a unit symbol follows.


    Fig 1.3 Unit General Types

    Both the color and shape of the marker give information with regard to the side of the unit. Friendly units appear in blue while enemy units appear in red, neutral units (non-combatants) appear in green. The shapes of the markers are dependent on the general type of unit (land, sea, air, subsurface) and the side of the unit. Friendly forces air are represented in the air by a downward facing (concave down) parabola, friendly land forces are represented by a rectangle, friendly sea surface forces are represented with circles and friendly submarines are represented with a upward facing (concave up) parabola.


    Fig 1.4 Unit Types

    The basic types of land units are shown in Fig 1.4, each type is represented in the color and within the shape that represents the side of the units.


    Fig 1.5 Unit Strengths

    The strength of the unit is given above the base symbol of the unit. For the purposes of radio reporting the strength of a unit observed in the field can be appended with a ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ designation. For example if approximately two squads of infantry (14-20 men) are spotted this can be reported as a ‘section plus’. In another example if three vehicles (tanks, IFVs etc.) are spotted this could be reported as a platoon minus. It is generally good practice to report strengths of contacts in terms of those unit strengths shown in Fig 1.5 to avoid counting personnel or vehicles over the radio.


    Fig 1.6 Type Combinations

    Types can be combined to represent hybrid units as shown in Fig 1.6.


    Fig 1.7 Unit Type Modifiers

    Modifiers can be added to represent special equipment of capabilities of a unit. These are drawn over the existing units type symbol as in Fig 1.2.

    Brief Aside:
    Quick note here on the NATO distinction between motorized infantry and mechanized infantry (Other forces vary in their description of Motorized vs Mechanized. For example soviets refer to all mounted infantry as motorized regardless of vehicle type). Motorized infantry implies that the vehicles being used are primarily meant for transportation and offer little in the way of armament besides possibly a weapon for self-defense, i.e. HUMVEEs, trucks etc. Mechanized infantry on the other hand fights along side or from the vehicles responsible for their transport i.e M113s, Strikers, BMPs. In the real world there are distinctions made on the unit symbol between units with APCs (M113s etc.) and those with IFV (Bradley’s) however these desiguishing markings are not available in ARMA II.

    Hope this helps. Please ask any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.

    Last edited by Falcon_262; 04-07-2010, 11:16 AM.

  • #2
    Re: NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

    Wow very nice Falcon. Very helpful, cleared up a few misconceptions I had!
    TG Pathfinder

    "I travel alone through the valley of the shadow of death, yet in my heart I carry no fear, for Gods hands will guide me to Truth and Honor."


    • #3
      Re: NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

      ::rage over how there is no engineer symbol in arma2, forcing him to use the "support" symbol for engineer company::


      • #4
        Re: NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

        Great post, would give rep if I was allowed.

        Damnit Blizzard, fix ZvT already >.<
        In Soviet Russian, Arma admins are nice to you!


        • #5
          Re: NATO Symbology APP-6A Guide

          Very useful, thanks Falcon.




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