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  • Mortar Squad Leader AAR

    Alrighty.

    Having spent some time on both working the mortars and squad leading a 'Fire Support' squad I felt compelled to put my thoughts on (digital) paper.

    1) The biggest problem I encountered was fellow squad leaders not providing accurate or timely adjustments, even when repeatedly pressed for adjustment from point of impact. I got it... SLs are busy fighting their squads and the request from some guy a couple grid squares away is probably low on his priority list at that particular moment. But fire support is a force multipier... it needs used.

    2) Spotting rounds. I noticed a lot of gunners mashing down the fire button three times as soon as a target marker was plotted. The mortars freaking chew through ammo... I was running a logi for my fire support team about 500m away from main and it was all I could do to keep the guns in action. Any know that ammo cost of a mortar round? I didn't think to look, but we chewed up that number in the little red box FAST. The further away from main, the worse its gonna get. So... don't blow three rounds immediately firing for effect on a new marker. Chances are... your gonna be off target. Use ONE round until you receive positive feedback and then go ahead and fire for effect. When trying to walk your rounds spotting rounds in, try to bracket the target. Which leads me to ...

    3) Forward Observers. As mentioned above, its was hard for me, across 3 different matches to get accurate target feedback or proper adjustments from squad leaders. So how to remedy this? My squad composition was me and two gunners. I did logi, talked to SLs and marked targets while the gunners did their thing. It didn't work very well given the issues already stated. One legged man in the butt kicking contest as they say. So.. I think the best solution is add an observer to each 'rifle' squad. that expects or wants fire support.

    These FOs are a part of the Mortar Team squad but attach themselves to different squads so that each maneuver SL has a dedicated FO. They are assigned as "blue berries" for the purpose of coordinating accurate fires. This way, the SL can fight his squad while the FO does the call for fire and adjustment. FO plays a role much like the medic, able to fight with his assigned weapon, but doesn't (shouldn't) walk point or scream "Follow Meeeeee" through the compound door. The real purpose is of course to coordinate accurate fire directly with the Mortar Team SL. Additionally, the maneuver SLs can look at the FO and say, I want fire here or call it directly from the Mortar Team SL but the requestor then has to coordinate the fires. Using the FO, he says where he wants the fire and then goes off to fight the squad while the FO does the dirty work. It also alleviates ALOT of talk on SL net. Got extra guys left in the squad? Form up a two or three man roving FO/COLT team who looks to exploit targets of opportunity or supports squads without FOs (without being attached to them.)

    The biggie here is that the FOs should have experience as gunners and understand what it is like working the guns so that they can convey accurate adjustments on the whiz wheel.

    I had fun working the mortars. That being said, at the end of the match there wasn't a giant uptick in kills for the gunners. They made ALOT of noise and looked impressive as all get out.. but really didn't seem all that lethal. Having been pounded by (I think) two FOBs worth of TG mortars while I was in FOB Pap, I can honestly say that while they are unpleasant to be subjected to, I did not notice a whole lot of casualties being produced. What they did do was suppress the 5#!+ out of everyone and made us take cover in buildings.

    Which leads me to my closing. In game, as in real life, mortars are great weapons to suppress an enemy's position with. You can use them to isolate a position you are about to assault. Assaulting from the west and think the spawn point is to the position's east? Drop mortar rounds to the east of the position and the enemy will think twice about crossing under fire. Heck... hit the spot with a prep bombardment and then walk the rounds out to isolate the position as the assault goes in. Probably need good FO/MSL (mortar squad leader) teamwork there.

    The thing is, as alluded to above, it seems most gunners mash the fire button as quick as they can... with no coordination between the tubes. On FOB Papanov, we ended up being able to move in the lulls between firing. The gunners need to coordinate a steady hail of steel rain to keep the enemy suppressed and avoid those lulls in impacts. Space out the fire button clicks unless someone is asking for rapid fire.

    Those are my 02:30 morning, red bleary eyed, tired ramblings about lessons learned tonight. Take it for what its worth.

    Regards,
    Celt

  • #2
    Excellent aar!

    I like the idea of an attached FO to rifle squads. It requires some initial coordination and getting used to, but it would unburden the rifle SL by having a guy he can talk to on the front to get fire missions.
    ​​​​​​​

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    • #3
      Great observations.

      I've run mortars in PR a few times, but there are others with far more experience than me so hopefully they chime in as well.

      I watched a Twitch stream last night of a round or so where mortars were being used to almost the same level of effect as it appears you had: lots of noise, some suppression, but with few casualties produced. I think this is to be expected right now. I know as people gain experience both spotting as well as on the tubes they will become pretty deadly, but only in specific applications.

      First, as you mention, keeping them supplied is absolutely critical. Secondly, the need for great coordination between the fire support squad and the other SLs is also key. Hopefully as we develop more and more SLs within the TG community that problem will take care of itself.

      In the meantime, I think that mortars can best be used in this manner:

      Squad Size: 4, perhaps 5 members at most. This would give you a dedicated logi driver that is not the SL, 2 members of the squad manning the tubes, and then your forward observer(s) that would be the SL and perhaps a medic or another kit providing some security on the tubes or for the FO.

      Forward Observer: I think that in most cases, the SL of the mortar squad is the most effective FO. It removes the middle man from the equation - the other SLs - and let's them focus on leading their squads while still remaining in communication with the SL of the mortar squad without it becoming a burden on them. I do like Celt's suggestion about embedding a FO with another squad as well. In either case, providing transportation for the FO might be an issue, especially on larger maps.

      Do not remain stationary: I think the best use of mortars is to keep them mobile. Building a large base for mortars is time consuming and will ultimately make them less effective. Personally, I like the idea of having the mortar squad being attached to another squad on an attack of a flag, suppressing the point (as mentioned in Celt's post) just prior to the other squad's assault or using it to suppress the enemy spawn location during the assault (if known). Once the point is taken, pack up and move.

      In Defense: Mortars can be used to defend a friendly radio position if it is placed in the open. Radio going down? Let them have a barrage of mortars dialed in on the radio. Something fun to consider. :)

      I think ultimately, until there are 100 player servers, mortars are going to see a phase of dedicated mortar squads (right now), then they won't be used, then there will be a middle ground struck where we learn to use them where applicable and to the greatest effect. Also, once the Core Inventory system is in place, we will have some variety in the types of ammunition available and we should have smoke rounds available. That will also be a game changer, as you can lay down a smoke screen on a hardened point to be assaulted prior to the big push, but that discussion will have to wait for another day. For now, they sure look like fun, we just need to strike the right balance with them to use them to greatest effect.

      "You milsim guys are ruining the game."

      Comment


      • #4
        Rereading that post with some sleep and coffee in me, I am struck by some missing words and half sentences. I just wanted to get it out before it fell out of my brain during the sleep cycle. Apologies for the poor use of the Engrish wanguage.

        Concerning Dispos' suggestion on defensive use of mortars... there is a real world solution to dropping them on the FOB if the enemy starts digging it: Preplotted Targets.

        Drop the radio and pull everyone off of it. Walk mortar rounds onto the radio and once you have good target effect from each tube, WRITE THE AZIMUTH AND MIL ELEVATION DOWN on a scrap of paper. Call it TRP (Target Reference Point) FOB. Once the radio starts going down, no need to spot rounds or adjust fire. Just send immediate suppression (fire as fast as you can) from both tubes (or more if in range.)

        Heck, get a good team going and you could preplot multiple locations. Plot preplanned fire missions on the flag caps you already own in case you start getting pushed back or back capped. Got some spare time? Prepare plots on expected stealth FOB locations just in case. The key here is recording azimuth and elevation for each preplot.

        A quick target list that wouldn't take too long might look like:

        MORTAR PIT: A3k5 (tube's location)

        TRP VILLAGE: AZ:187 / MIL:1238
        TRP OUR RADIO: AZ: 93 / MIL: 750
        TRP ENEMY FOB: AZ: 154 / MIL: yougettheidea

        Where AZ = azimuth and MIL = the elevation number from the whiz wheel. This way, someone calls for immediate suppression on Village, you can go to immediate work. Heck, write it all down and keep the data (dope) for other matches.

        Stop me if I am going over board here. But hey, the name is Tactical Gamer... not Casual Kiddie Gamer Pew Pew.

        Regards,
        Celt

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        • #5
          You're not going over board. Already crossed my mind...

          "You milsim guys are ruining the game."

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          • #6
            I acted last night as the FO for Al's Russian mortar squad on Fools Road. I setup with the marksman kit south of Papanov in the hills on a good overwatch position. Our mortar team was setup in Fortress and we were able to put down rounds on Papanov at maximum range. Once we got ranges dialed in, I was able to accurately call in fire on pretty much any target on Papanov. At one point however, things took a turn for the confusing when our team built a second mortar emplacement at Hilltop and it became somewhat difficult to differentiate between my squad's rounds and the other squad. In the coming days I could see this being a problem as every SL and his grandma will be in a rush to use mortars at every FOB they see.

            I look forward to refining my FO skills so I can better unleash hell.

            Distinguished Squad Leader

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            • #7
              Logistics are king again, as they should be.

              And as dispo said the idea of airburst/smoke rounds will certainly be a huge add

              Comment


              • #8
                So, I walked in and Asta being the lovely person he is said, "Gaunt, take Squad Lead because I'm a butt munch"...and then left.

                First game in and I'm in charge of mortars. I found out using a move marker is great for the boom boom technician, 1-2 ranging shots were needed, and the SL's requesting that fire support were able to walk me in/out etc. I'd fire 1-2 more shots and then get the loose request. Once that was given I turned Market into a Michael Bay movie set!

                Being a smaller map I was defending ruins while running fire support. HAB/FOB/Mortar placement were not that well placed. I'd rather throw the Boom boom technicians' in the ruins to use as much as the static cover as possible and not in the middle of the road behind a tin shack that got peppered like crazy. I think if I had (2) mortars running I'd separate them a bit since I had the cover to avoid losing both at the same time.

                I do not see the need for (2) squads running mortars. Having a single squad do this seems best. The smaller maps I think having (1) tube is all you need to conserve ammo points. You definitely need a dedicated logi driver, that is a must. No questions asked. I can't tell you how many times I had to tell SL's, nope... "can't help you no cha cha to make boom boom."

                I did find it funny how for the past year I've seen squads take market without fire support... but last night the squads were moving about as fast as a stuttering kid in a spelling bee. Don't let fire support dictate your game play! Keep moving and try everything until you hit that roadblock!

                All in all, fun matches even though we lost to you guys. I personally still don't see a need for dedicated FO when SL's were able to put in the requests even though they were on a crazy active point. Kudo's by the way to whatever SL for the American's last night (Someone TG) that set up the explosive barriers to protect your guys. My boom boom technician had 1 kills but lots of downed enemies from the stats. I don't see Mortars being a killing machine but more of a way to provide confusion and annoyance.

                Take care.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ^ Asta85

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Evening Gents. Regarding mortars there is a handy tool already out there created by the community that can lead to deadly first shot accuracy. The Mortar Calculator found here. It works very simply and quickly now that all grids are a consistent 300M. The steps are as follows:

                    1. You enter is your mortar position down to sub-key grid, ex. A7k3k9 (A 7, keypad 3, sub-keypad 9)
                    2. You enter in your target position down to sub-key grid, ex. B4k2k5 (B 4, keypad 2, sub-keypad 5)
                    3. It outputs your Distance, Azimuth, and Tube elevation, for example:
                    Distance = 882m
                    Azimuth = 10 degrees
                    Elevation = 1193 mil
                    4. Destroy thy enemies

                    I was accurately targeting static objects with no inputs or markers using this calculator, and because of the new grid structure it is accurate to 33 meters. Compared to the SL markers which now have HUGE amounts of variance based on distance. If a SL marks a target 800 meters away it could show up on the compass as anywhere from 650m to 900m as the deviation has been increased. The calculator allows the placement of the Green "Mortar Here" Icon on the map by any SL of any squad, and gives the ability of mortars to target it. Currently the Mortar icon does not provide a distance or heading on the compass.

                    Edited to add that a reload of 3 mortars is 95 Ammunition points.

                    Danger Close!
                    Squad Mortar Calculator As promised here is an mortar calculator script. Use grid-referencing to input position of mortar and target to get elev...
                    Last edited by Pro-ActiveDeath; 05-03-2017, 08:11 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gaunt View Post
                      So, I walked in and Asta being the lovely person he is said, "Gaunt, take Squad Lead because I'm a butt munch"...and then left.
                      Couldn't have said it better myself :)


                      Originally posted by Gaunt View Post
                      Being a smaller map I was defending ruins while running fire support. HAB/FOB/Mortar placement were not that well placed. I'd rather throw the Boom boom technicians' in the ruins to use as much as the static cover as possible and not in the middle of the road behind a tin shack that got peppered like crazy. I think if I had (2) mortars running I'd separate them a bit since I had the cover to avoid losing both at the same time.
                      I totally agree about the HAB/FOB placement. I was only responsible for the mortar placement though. I didn't like where I put it at the time, and still don't, but I was pressed by circumstance to get one down fast.

                      Great thread guys!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Remarks after running mortars and supplies with Dongle et al.

                        *4 to 5 man squad is great. But 2 can work effectively.

                        *SL is best spotter, More spotters can help a lot but they have to be very effective communicators. Otherwise they will overload comms and be a nuisance. Imo the best is for the spotter to type. "Hit 50M SE of target". Nothing more is needed.


                        *SL gets huge comms overload when squad fills up and even with 4ppl. Squad members must keep real quiet or key information will be missed again, and again and again.

                        *You can help out the mortar team a lot by typing out "that round hit 50m south of green bomb marker.

                        *Place green bomb marker ALWAYS on your target. Avoid some friendly fire, and the team can understand better what you are doing.

                        *90% of the time 1MORTAR>2. The only way I had decent coordination with 2 mortars firing is when one is the boss doing the ranging of target with the spotter. Then when the leader of the gunners is ranged correctly, only then does 2nd gunner hit same target. This is bc as said ammo runs out in about 10 volleys. You can almost always make more effective use of the ammo with one mortar imo. To spot accurately you cannot have both gunners firing, invariably you will lose track of who fired what and your accuracy is ruined.

                        *The natural spread of the mortars is sufficient; most cases you can just hit the same target 3 times when dialed in correctly.

                        *You will receive faulty spotting info from teammates confusing your rounds with enemy rounds. Almost every round.

                        *Teamkills: when you have the green bomb out, and have been hitting the same target for one minute straight firing max rate, even Dispo will still run into the apocalyptic explosions to earn you a teamkill ;).

                        *Lastly: rag-dolls are hilarious. When spotting at some point I noticed occasionally some pixel size elements slowly coming down along the trees. Closer observation revealed the objects were not graphical glitches, but enemy bodies being launched hundreds of meters into the sky and taking ages to fall down. At one point we were seeing one every few seconds. They say you can make a wish if you don't say it out loud!


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Regarding the comms overload, perhaps using one of the emptyTeamSpeak channels for fire team comms would be an idea.

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