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Scully
06 Oct 03, 16:27
Ok, I've been reading FM's and continue to get my arse kicked when on the attack. I think it has to do with my planning. So my questions is, when you're planning your attack, what questions do you ask yourself? What do you think are the most important things to consider? What, beyond METT-TC, do you find important when planning for attacks? If I try real hard, I may be able to ask the exact same question in an even more exciting way. :)

I've done real well when defending, but I'm really struggling on offense so any and all thoughts will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Brian

kbluck
06 Oct 03, 18:01
Believe it or not, in many ways offense is simpler than defense. You have the initiative, and you can select exactly when and where to attack. This is the key to the offense --- understanding how the enemy has arranged his defense and attacking where he is weak. Therein, of course, lies the difficulty. The other difficulty is in coordination, making sure all the elements of your attack come together in both time and space to form an unstoppable flood rather than a easily defeated trickle.

There are reams of advice on this in general terms, not least of which is in those FMs you've been reading. Perhaps it would be easier to give you useful advice if you could specify a situation for dissection? This is exactly what they do at NTC; let you do your thing and then rehash what happened or didn't happen in excruciating detail.

--- Kevin

Pat Proctor
06 Oct 03, 19:54
At the risk of giving you over-general advice, I would provide the following.

1. Eyes deep. Put your recon assets as far forward as the order allows you to (see the "Recon Limit of Advance" in the "Coordinating Instructions" portion of the OPORD.
2. Find a covered and concealed breach point. This won't be easy. You don't know exactly where the obstacles are, and you can bet the enemy has placed them so he can see and cover them. But, if you are lucky, you can find a spot where only a fraction of his force can see the breach site.
3. Smoke + suppression = success. Once you have picked the breach site, suppress those enemy that can see it and the approach to it with artillery. Start piling on the smoke to cover your approach. Move a company in there and get them suppressing the same area (using the "suppress" SOP) you are suppressing with artillery. Then, when it is time to breach, haul ass and get to through the breach as soon as you can.
4. Assault violently. As soon as your breachers start cutting, your assualt force should be moving up to the breach. Ideally, just as the breach is complete, the first tank will hit the breach and start shooting through. Get the combat power on the other side of the breach, get as many vehicles as possible in LOS of the enemy on the far side, and roll through.
5. Roll up the defense. Don't try to kill the enemy on the other side from the front. As soon as you can, get on his flank, and start attacking the defensive positions from the side. Sweep the defense away from the side rather trying to punch it in the nose.

KG_Norad
06 Oct 03, 21:31
Can't say I can add too much to the already superb advise other then to stress the importance scouting a covered path to get you as close as possible to the suspected obstacles...then TIMING.

You don't want your smoke blowing away with 3 minutes to go for the next volley...as the Captain said have your assault force close to the breech...nothing is as embarassing as clearing a breach and have your engineers blown away in the 30 minutes it took for the calvary to show up! Timing is still something I am struggling to perfect. So don't feel bad.

I still struggle with bringing up infantry in so called "Armored Fighting Vehicles" they are more like Armored Dying Vehicles when I am not careful.

:D

Cheers!

Scully
06 Oct 03, 23:15
Ok, some good advice there. I'll put together a good AAR the next time I play and see what you guys think.

A few questions for now if you don't mind:

I think one of my big struggles is the coordination of units. Is it just experience before you know when to get things moving and how to organize for assault or do you guys have some techniques you follow?

A second problem I have is with my "fixing force" or support troops. I get them killed before they can support my assaulting units. I think this comes down to timing, but how do you get your fixing force setup in range of bad guys who can out range you? Is it a matter of dropping artillery on them to suppress, then moving in?

How do you select your route when playing in open desert like the Gulf War 2 scenarios? Do you keep your companies tight or more spread out across the AO?

Thanks for your time...I want to win on attack one of these days.

Brian

Deltapooh
07 Oct 03, 04:26
In respect to offensive operations:

Mission Planning Considerations

1. Analyze the OPORD: OPORDs in ATF usually originates from either one or two levels above your own level. It follows the standard five paragraph format. If the document appears too difficult to understand, break it down by asking "the five W"

Who: You/Enemy/neutral force
Why: Objective
Where: Terrain
When: Time and weather considerations
What: Scheme of maneuver/coordinating instructions

2. Analyze your Force: It is important that you understand the capability and limitations of the assets available to you.

3. Analyze the Terrain: The LOS fan is extremely useful in this effort. Look for blindspots, and observation points. Imagine how the enemy might use the terrain to his advantage, then figure out to mitigate his ability. Try to avoid attacking down the middle of your zone. Stay to the flanks.

Terrain analysis is also important for helping to determine formations. The company wedge (for example) is best suited for wide open terrain. While the Company Column Platoon Wedge works better in enclosed terrain.

4. Develop a written plan: I have a hard time maintaining focus. So I usually scribble down a broad plan for my operation. I employ phase lines to help me develop my plan, and identify decision points.

Ex:

Phase I: occurs between PL ALPHA and PL BRAVO; priority counter-recon; movement to contact; scheme; recon teams hunt down DRT, force moves slowly; priority of fires; DRT; PL complete when position between PL ALPHA and PL BRAVO are clear of enemy DRT and main force reach vic PL BRAVO

Phase II: occurs between PL BRAVO and PL CHARLIE; priority, locate enemy main line of defense, align forces for breaching, emplace artillery to support breach; priority of fire; BRDM-2 ATGM, BMP-2 IFV

The ideal is to keep you focused on your goals. Establishing multiple goals to accomplish your mission is critical. Don't just look at the OBJ. In many cases, it's not the decisive point. Instead, figure out what conditions are required to allow you to reach the OBJ while incurring minimum casualties. That might be taking the terrain to the left of the OBJ, etc.

Phases also can help you determine if your plan is going to fail BEFORE it's too late. Establishing conditions for success can act as "checkpoints." If you have not completed Phase I to your satisfaction, it might be necessary to commit additional forces to the effort, change paths, and reorganize your force.

At the same time, you don't want to commit to a single plan. Expect failure and problems. Learn how to make adjustments.

Ultimately, it is trial by error. Everyone is different. I am a very patient commander. I have no problem with holding my advance to allow artillery to pound away at the enemy. Other leaders might prefer to hit hard and fast. As kbluck said, it's best to AAR your game and determine what you did right and/or wrong.

kbluck
07 Oct 03, 12:42
I think one of my big struggles is the coordination of units. Is it just experience before you know when to get things moving and how to organize for assault or do you guys have some techniques you follow?

It's all a matter of distances, time lags, and meters per second.

You can utilize the grid square coordinates (shown in the lower left status bar when you move your mouse over the map) and a bit of trigonometry to compute the exact distance between two points.

The rule with reading the military grid system is: right and up. Look at the grid coordinate. Ignore the two leading letters for now. You can think of those 8 digits as two numbers, the x and the y coordinates of the grid location in meters. Notice how the left 4 numbers increase as you move your mouse right, and the right 4 numbers increase as you move your mouse up. Right and up. Each increase of one in either number represents a distance of 10 meters, thus any 8-digit grid coordinate is accurate to within 10 meters of an object's actual location. The only place this gets complicated is when you cross the boundary of a 100k meter square, which you'll know because the two letters will change. That isn't common, so we'll ignore it for now.

To compute the distance between two points, use good ol' Pythagoreas: x^2 + y^2 = z^2 Take the difference between the two left numbers, square it, take the difference between the two right numbers, square that, add the two results together, take the square root, multiply by 10. Voila, the exact distance in meters. For example:

NO37001600 to NO38001450

3700 - 3800 = -100
1600 - 1450 = 150

100^2 = 10,000
150^2 = 22,500

10,000 + 22,500 = 32,500

sqrt(32,500) = 180.

180 * 10 = 1,800 meters.

(Interface tip to CPT Proctor --- it would be really nice to have the computer take care of all this number-crunching and supply an indication of how long a planned path is!)

Now, once you get used to reading the map, you'll get pretty good at eyeballing distances. Keep in mind that every solid square on the map is 1,000 meters on a side, and know that those squares measure 1,414 meters diagonally, and you can make a pretty good guesstimate with a little practice. You can also try using a ruler or a string after figuring out the actual scale on your screen.

Now, find out the "march speed" of your formation. You can get this from the "info" dialog for the heirarchy in question. A simple bit of division, and you know the minimum number of seconds it will take your heirarchy to arrive. I say "minimum" because it could easily take longer --- sometimes movement is slower than expected due to terrain or sharp corners. Perhaps you've noticed that it takes formations some time to pivot when they have to change directions.

(Interface tip to CPT Proctor --- it would be really nice to have the computer take care of all this number-crunching and supply an indication of the ETA for arrival at each node of a path, or at least the last node!)

Along with this information, you need to figure out things like:

1. How long does it take to process an artillery mission from planning to splash? Don't forget PGM and FASCAM takes longer, and that they can be working a new mission while an earlier one is still in the air.
2. How long does it take to get air support moving?
3. How long does it take your engineers or breachers to execute a breach?

... and add all these into your equation. From all this, you should be able to figure out a schedule.

Now, the principle of "backward planning." Start from the desired end point, and work backwards to see how far in advance you need to kick off the various elements for everything to come together all at once. Don't be afraid to write all the variables down; you'll never keep it all straight in your head.

From this you'll discover the secret of battalion command --- the commander must make critical decisions well in advance, because his organization takes time to respond to his orders.

I hope this is useful to you.

--- Kevin

kbluck
07 Oct 03, 13:12
A second problem I have is with my "fixing force" or support troops. I get them killed before they can support my assaulting units. I think this comes down to timing, but how do you get your fixing force setup in range of bad guys who can out range you? Is it a matter of dropping artillery on them to suppress, then moving in?

This might not be entirely your fault. I can say that v.1.03 (on my computer, at least) kills tanks way more often than it should from any given facing, by which I mean 4-5 times too often. I guess CPT Proctor is looking into the issue right now. It should be obvious, though, that excessively high lethality will strongly favor the defender, since they have the visibility advantage. Not to take any wind out of your sails, but that could also explain why you're cleaning up so well on defense.

:hmmm:

But, yes, the general idea as you approach the assault is to get started on the SOSR as you approach the point you've selected. Suppress or destroy particularly obnoxious enemy positions with artillery before you approach. Lay some smoke to help you get into your support position --- you'll be a lot less visible and vulnerable once you've taken up a defilade position. Approach along a covered route that exposes you only when necessary to fire. Lead with your most survivable units to start the suppression fire, and add your weaker units to the mix later. Make maximum use of your range. Take advantage of reload delays, which can be particularly noticeable for missile weapons. When doing this, don't forget that your units take time to start moving as well. Also take advantage of limited enemy ammo supplies, since most missile weapons have very limited reloads. Know your enemy; look them up! Try to keep count of how many of these high-value rounds the enemy has fired. Continue shuffling your support force here and there by a couple hundred meters (not all at once!) to minimize the accuracy of incoming enemy artillery, Remember it takes the enemy about the same time as you to drop indirect fires on you --- try to work inside that time cycle.

It's a lot of stuff to keep straight, isn't it? Thank heavens you don't have to worry about stuff like frequencies and code keys and resupply and medical support and food service and... ad infinitum. Not to mention that you've probably had a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed within the last week or so. Is it any wonder that even professional officers with 20+ years experience routinely muff it up?

Good hunting!

--- Kevin

Scully
07 Oct 03, 14:16
Wow! Kbluck and Deltapooh, thanks for the comments. Those were probably the best posts I've ever seen in a forum.

After seeing what you two do, I realize I have a lot of work to do when planning my next attack. As I mentioned, I'll do a very detailed AAR next time and let everybody pick it apart. I'm sure it'll be a learning experience for others too.

Thanks again and great work.
Brian

KG_Norad
07 Oct 03, 14:36
I have to agree with Scully, NICE input! :hurray:

kbluck
07 Oct 03, 15:17
I still struggle with bringing up infantry in so called "Armored Fighting Vehicles" they are more like Armored Dying Vehicles when I am not careful.

It is important to remember that IFVs are not tanks, although they look like tanks and often get used as if they were tanks. All you can really expect from an APC or IFV is that it will keep artillery and small-arms fire off your infantry. Any sort of anti-armor weapon will have no problem killing any IFV it can hit.

Hence: if you're planning to insert your dismounts, you *must* carefully plan the path. You want to get as close as possible, while remaining invisible to the enemy. Once your infantry is on the ground, they can move much closer to the enemy before being spotted (although not usually as close as you might wish). However --- it takes time. You can expect infantry to take 15-20 minutes to cross each grid square on foot. This is exacerbated by the fact that you usually want to maneuver your infantry *behind* the enemy, thus making them walk that much farther.

Speaking of infantry movement rates, I'm a little puzzled as to why infantry can't "sprint". It doesn't mean they literally lace on their Reeboks and do the 100m dash in 10 seconds like they were Carl Lewis. It just means they're bebopping along at a rapid route march with no particular concern for security or concealment, just like when any other sort of vehicle "sprints". Infantry doing some serious humping ought to be able to make about 2 meters/second across reasonably flat ground for an hour or two.

Infantry on the offense can be very insidious. Enemy vehicles or missile teams stuck out in the middle of nowhere without any of their own infantry for local security or at least some overwatching fires are generally dead meat for your own infantry, if they have the time to sneak up on them. Unfortunately, the "magic bullet" ATGMs and machine guns as implemented in the default database puts a crimp in this tactic. Also, "creep" hasn't been implemented as of v1.03, despite it being in the manual. Rectifying these two situations would make infiltrating infantry very, very dangerous indeed when used appropriately.

Whatever you do, don't just leave your infantry inside their APCs to ride to their doom. They're no good to you inside their tracks, 1980-era fantasies about infantry "fighting mounted" aside. If you don't have a specific mission in mind for them, at least stick them on a mountaintop somewhere where they can maybe spot something and survive the battle.

--- Kevin

KG_Norad
07 Oct 03, 18:32
:argh:

My well crafted reply gone...argh!

To summarize my more detailed and well crafted reply I agree! A lesson learned the hard way, but early on. Still have some trouble judging just how close is too close but working on it!

Michael

Scully
10 Oct 03, 13:48
Ok. So I'm working on my plan here and had a question on determining a schedule. Let me know if the following addition is correct for moving a Paladin:
45 seconds to displace
12 seconds to start moving
900 seconds to cover distance
45 seconds to emplace
45 seconds to compute
50 seconds to shoot

I would need to schedule 1097 seconds (18.5minutes) to get my next shot in the air. Is that correct? Did I add all the variables in?

Second question for you. The Stinger Missiles are shot by the two man crew attached to the Bradley Stinger FV correct? So I have to dismount and setup before firing?

Thanks,
Brian

kbluck
10 Oct 03, 18:28
Let me know if the following addition is correct for moving a Paladin:

Your timeline looks pretty good. However, there's one best way to find out for sure --- run a "rehearsal" scenario and try it out while taking notes against the game clock and the unit info dialog. See how it compares to your estimated times and figure out the cause of any variations. Think of it as a field training exercise.


The Stinger Missiles are shot by the two man crew attached to the Bradley Stinger FV correct?

Yes, they need to unhorse before they can fire, as opposed to Linebacker which integrates the missile into the vehicle's fire control system.

--- Kevin