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scowlmovement

Map reading and terrain analysis in SB

Does anyone have any real-world insight on these less than glamorous, but very important, subjects? It's been almost twenty years since my last land navigation course, and I was on foot. Also, at what tactical level is terrain analysis usually done? For example, is the platoon leader required to do his own, or is this supplied to him/her from higher up?

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Does anyone have any real-world insight on these less than glamorous, but very important, subjects? It's been almost twenty years since my last land navigation course, and I was on foot. Also, at what tactical level is terrain analysis usually done? For example, is the platoon leader required to do his own, or is this supplied to him/her from higher up?

Every soldier on every level has to analyze the terrain around him, from the normal private up to the closest advisors of the head of the state.

The 3 levels of warfare, tactical, operational and strategical, have all to analyze the environment around them. But all in a different way, so what do you mean especially?

An example:

The private has to watch out, which cover is good enough from preventing him to be hit. A tree equals not another tree, and a 7.62x51 round has another penetration power, as the 5.56x45. So this is his terrain-analyze

The Btl-CO will watch out for terrain that give him the advantage in battle and will try to "form" the terrain to his prefers (with minefields, bridgelayers, ...), while trying to give his troops the best environment for there strength.

The Chancellor or President of a country is more interested in natural resources, borders, industry-complexes that have to be hold or occupied.

So: What do you especially want to know?

(To your question: Yes I have an insight to this in the real-world up to the Btl-CO)

Greetings

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Every soldier on every level has to analyze the terrain around him, from the normal private up to the closest advisors of the head of the state.

The 3 levels of warfare, tactical, operational and strategical, have all to analyze the environment around them. But all in a different way, so what do you mean especially?

An example:

The private has to watch out, which cover is good enough from preventing him to be hit. A tree equals not another tree, and a 7.62x51 round has another penetration power, as the 5.56x45. So this is his terrain-analyze

The Btl-CO will watch out for terrain that give him the advantage in battle and will try to "form" the terrain to his prefers (with minefields, bridgelayers, ...), while trying to give his troops the best environment for there strength.

The Chancellor or President of a country is more interested in natural resources, borders, industry-complexes that have to be hold or occupied.

So: What do you especially want to know?

(To your question: Yes I have an insight to this in the real-world up to the Btl-CO)

Greetings

Specifically, I was looking at terrain analysis from the planning angle. Is this product generated from the "ground up," or is the platoon leader given any terrain information from a higher echelon (company/battalion)? Thank you for the reply!

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Specifically, I was looking at terrain analysis from the planning angle. Is this product generated from the "ground up," or is the platoon leader given any terrain information from a higher echelon (company/battalion)? Thank you for the reply!

I can only speak for the German army.

Terrain analysis is part of the decision making process of I think every army in this world. With all the standardization within the NATO, the differences in these processes aren't standardized and there are many different "doctrines". This is the core of the difference between all armies. How they make decisions.

For example the German and US army: While we (germans) using one "simple" process for all levels, useable with and without staffs, giving every leader of every level the opportunity to make his own decisions within his area of responsibility, the US-army uses different processes for different levels, as example the MDMP which shall not be used below battalion-sized staffs, which means lower leaders uses another kind of process, for sure a bit simpler.

So, in the German army, every leader of every level analyzes the terrain of his area of responsibility (and a bit more), this is part of our "Auftragstaktik". We think, that the leader in place knows the terrain at best, because he is there, a superior looking at a map will never have this situational awareness. This is one great advantage of the German army. But, the great disadvantage of "Auftragstaktik" is: It is time expensive. The lower-level-leaders need the time to prepare their own orders, to get into the intend of the upper command, to analyze their terrain and so on.

As a result: They are much more flexible in the battle itself.

So the terrain analyzes of the upper command is giving down in the German army to the lower-level-leaders, but they still have to make their own, more detailed.

For other armies, you need to ask someone else^^.

I will not show you how the decision-making-process in the German army looks like, for sure you will find some Information about it in the Internet, but only old ones. I'm pretty sure the same count for the US-Army processes.

In other armies the analyzes will handled in another way, but I hope I could give you a little insight into one answer of many.

Greetings

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Well "over here" we also look at terrain (or if you like "ground").

As others have said your focus varies with the level of command.

I as a CO am concerned about avenues of approach for Brigade sized units when on the defence and the same sort of thing for my Regiment / Battalion when on the offence.

We at a staff level generate what is called a MCOO or

Modified

Combined

Obstacle

Overlay

Which groups together a bunch of planning issues.

At a lower level (say crew commander or Troop / Platoon commander) a more specific checklist for their smaller piece of my dirt is OCOKA:

Observation and fields of fire.

Cover and concealment.

Obstacles.

Key terrain and decisive terrain and

Assembly areas.

Covering each of those in details would require several pages but something like this is a reasonable public source guide:

http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/survival/ocoka.shtml

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Thank you, sirs, for the information you have provided. Are they any quick and easy techniques for determining OCOKA, as it pertains to SB? Or is this simply a skill that must be practiced to be mastered? I should also clarify that the focus would be at the platoon or company level of command.

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I am going to say it is both more difficult and easier in the game. what a conundrum!

it is easier because there are tools in the planning phase to analyze the terrain quite well. the LOS tool and just plain old 3D to take a look around. you get to pick a spot on the map and just pop in.

in RL, you have to go there to do the same analysis. this is intrinsically more difficult, you have to walk, drive, and spend the time. i did many 'terrain walks' in the cold war period to analyze terrain vs. battle plans, revise said battle plans, confirm said battle plans, etc. it does take quite some amount of time to do. but there is nothing like boots on the ground. period.

it also takes some amount of experience to analyze the terrain vs your units capabilities vs the mission at hand. the good news with SBPPE and such is you get to learn without any risk of loss of life. and it does equate to RL at some level. that is why it is a good training tool not only for armored crewman, but lower level command staff as well. i say lower level because of the sheer number of objects that would be required to put a division, or even a brigade, in a scenario. it would probably kill most if not all computers. plus the higher up you go the more support capabilities are present at those levels - also somewhat of a challenge to emulate.

my guess is GibsonM will have more insight as to the level of command this 'game' is useful at, and others may as well. hope this helps and i am not too far off, these are my observations.

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Are they any quick and easy techniques for determining OCOKA, as it pertains to SB? Or is this simply a skill that must be practiced to be mastered?

Not really a chortcut here.

As you say experience / training counts. Being able to know that a certain area of ground is suitable for a certain unit is not just a case of looking up a table.

There are a lot of variables in play.

Basically though if you look at your given SB Pro PE map in terms of the items on the site I referenced as use it as a check list of "considerations" then you can make an informed decision:

Observation and Fields of Fire, Cover and Concealment, Obstacles (man made and natural), Key or Decisive Terrain, Avenues of Approach

All of these factors must be analyzed in light of

the mission of the unit

the type operation

the level of command

the composition of forces involved

the weapons and equipment expected to be encountered

1. Observation and Fields of Fire

The evaluation of observation and fields of fire allows you to-

Identify potential engagement areas

Identify defensible terrain and weapons system positions.

Identify where maneuvering forces are most vulnerable to observation and fires.

Observation

Observation is the ability to see over a particular area to acquire targets.

"Visibility" is weather dependent or is a temporary phenomena. Observation, on the other hand, is terrain dependent and is relatively permanent. Generally, the best observation is obtained from the highest terrain in an area.

Fields of Fire

The area a weapon can cover effectively from a given point

Fires can be of two basic types

Direct fire weapons like machine guns, rifles, and TOW weapon systems which require direct line of sight to their targets.

Indirect fire weapons such as mortars and artillery

Observation and fields of fire are not the same. You may be able to see 25 km, but if all you see are armed with a rifle, then your fields of fire will probably be limited to something like 500 meters.

2. Cover and Concealment

Cover

The protection from the effects of weapons fires, direct, indirect, and air to ground.

Certain aspects of the terrain may provide good cover from some fires, while some may provide cover from only one of these types.

Concealment

Protection from observation, either from the air or from the ground or both.

Examples:

slope

vegetation

built up areas

Remember that cover can be used to protect a force from the effects of direct and indirect fires. Also it can, in some cases, be used to protect a force from observation. If this is the case, then the object providing cover is also providing concealment. But cover and concealment do not always equate.

If an attacking force can move forward under concealment, the chances of achieving surprise increase. Concealed and covered approach routes are important to reconnaissance units, dismounted infantry, and insurgent or terrorist forces.

Defending forces seek to defend in an area which offers both concealment and cover to themselves but which does not provide covered approaches for the threat

3. Obstacles

Any natural or manmade terrain feature that stops, impedes, slows, or diverts movement.

Examples:

buildings, steep slopes, rivers, lakes, forests, deserts, swamps, jungles, cities, minefield, trenches, andmilitary wire obstacles

Things to look for:

Vegetation (tree spacing and trunk diameter).

Surface drainage (stream width, depth, velocity, bank slope, and height).

Surface materials (soil types and conditions that affect mobility).

Surface configuration (slopes that affect mobility).

Obstacles (natural and manmade; consider obstacles to flight as well as ground mobility).

Transportation systems (bridge classifications and road characteristics such as curve,radius, slopes, and width)

Effects of actual or projected weather such as heavy precipitation or snow over.

4. Key or Decisive Terrain

Some terrain feature (natural or manmade) which, if controlled, will give a marked advantage to whoever controls it.

Often selected for use as battle positions or objectives

Echelon of command, mission, enemy, and situation dependent.

To designate terrain as decisive is to recognize that the mission depends on seizing or retaining it.

Key or decisive terrain must be controlled, not necessarily occupied. It may be controlled by either fires or maneuver.

examples:

a bridge over an unfordable river which gives access to the opposite shore without requiring an assault crossing.

a level clearing in rough terrain which is the only accessible landing field for airmobile operations

if you identify only one valid avenue of approach to the command's objective, then the choke points on that avenue will probably become key terrain (compared to a situation where several AAs are available).

5. Avenues of Approach (AoA)

An AoA is an air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or to key terrain in its path.

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In RL, you have to go there to do the same analysis. this is intrinsically more difficult, you have to walk, drive, and spend the time. I did many 'terrain walks' in the cold war period to analyze terrain vs. battle plans, revise said battle plans, confirm said battle plans, etc. it does take quite some amount of time to do. but there is nothing like boots on the ground. period.

Which is why the defender is meant to have a marked advantage. :)

Walking the ground by proxy is partially the role of reconnaissance and tends to be an approximation as the Defender tends not to like given the Attacker an "Access all areas" pass for their position and the approaches to it. :)

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My guess is GibsonM will have more insight as to the level of command this 'game' is useful at, and others may as well. hope this helps and i am not too far off, these are my observations.

1. Well as a crew trainer it is applicable at the individual and crew level.

2. You can work on Patrol / Section movement (two vehicles).

3. You can work on Troop / Platoon level.

4. You can use it at Combat Team level.

5. You can use it at BattleGroup level, and

6. You can use it at Brigade level.

1 and 2 primarily in the 3D world.

3. probably 50/50 3D world / map

4 - 6 primarily map, with the AI employing units in response to your orders to see how the plan works out (or even to test your assumptions about the terrain).

If you have enough people and computers, the military version can let you do level 5 or so with live people in every seat, but the ones you want to train are the HQ elements so you can achieve the same thing for maybe 80 people (scattered across various HQs) with say 20 machines.

With an M1 costing roughly $1000 per Km to run (fuel, maintenance, wages ...) you can see why simulation is a very effective training mechanism albeit you aren't getting wet, cold, exposed to chemical agents, etc.

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hi guys kinda off topic but did want to clog up the forum with another map topic

is there a way to get a number contour line system on the maps, because I am having great difficulty reading the maps correctly, as where I am seeing hills in my mind are depressions and vice versa??

Faire enough haven't had to use a good old map for a few year but I didn't think my skill were that rusty.

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No, not as yet (maybe never).

However, as you move your cursor over the map the elevation figure changes on the right hand side of the screen so you can work out the height and hence topography, that way.

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cheers feel like an idiot that I didn't notice that :redface:

As Mark says, it does take a bit of practice. Your problem (hill or depression) was ours during the recent "Top Platoon" competition: we really had to do a detailed map recce using the cursor method in order to get a fairly clear idea of the lay of the land. Doesn't really help when you try to take a turret down position at the bottom of a bowl!

We all had to start somewhere, so don't be too hard on yourself. You'll get there. Good luck! :)

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Does anyone have any real-world insight on these less than glamorous, but very important, subjects? It's been almost twenty years since my last land navigation course, and I was on foot. Also, at what tactical level is terrain analysis usually done? For example, is the platoon leader required to do his own, or is this supplied to him/her from higher up?

For what it's worth, a mounted land-navigation scenario may be downloaded from the "map reading" section here.

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As Mark says, it does take a bit of practice. Your problem (hill or depression) was ours during the recent "Top Platoon" competition: we really had to do a detailed map recce using the cursor method in order to get a fairly clear idea of the lay of the land. Doesn't really help when you try to take a turret down position at the bottom of a bowl!

We all had to start somewhere, so don't be too hard on yourself. You'll get there. Good luck! :)

If there are any RL topographical maps without EITHER height tinting OR numbered contour lines, I have yet to see one. IMHO, a topographical map that does not immediately reveal some idea of which are hills and which are hollows isn't worth the paper its written on.

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You realize however that the height value of the terrain under your mouse pointer is just one glance to the right away?

Not saying that the current solution couldn't be improved, but in all the years I mistook hills for valleys only a handful of times ... like I occasionally do WITH 1:50,000 topo maps WITH numbered contour lines.

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I think also the issue of numbering the contours was covered recently (in the “wish list” thread perhaps) elsewhere.

IIRC the basic issue was that numbering the contours became problematic when used in conjunction with the ability to both change the contour interval displayed and the zoom function.

So if you picked a small interval and then zoomed “out” to see all / large chunks of the map at once the numbers would add to the underlying clutter and you may not be able to “see” the terrain itself.

In addition, there is also the issue of which contours are to be numbered (every 20m, every 10m, every 5m, ..., set it to equal the interval chosen for display [i.e. every contour is numbered]?) and who makes that decision - scenario designer choice, player choice or global constant determined by eSim?

If the “glance to the right” technique doesn’t work for you, another option is to spend a couple of minutes and record the spot heights of the larger pieces of terrain by putting their height as text on the map.

You then end up with a bunch of numbers scattered around the map recording the heights of pieces of terrain of interest to you and you don’t need to “glance to the right”, because you already have done so as part of the recording and marking process.

Edited by Gibsonm

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It doesn't help that the height display is way off on the side of the screen. If you could hold down the control key and have the height float under the cursor or something similar it'd help a lot.

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It doesn't help that the height display is way off on the side of the screen. If you could hold down the control key and have the height float under the cursor or something similar it'd help a lot.

But then you are off down the "Game" Vs "Sim" slope. :)

Certainly this doesn't simulate a paper map for a training audience and most BMSs that I've used have this information displayed in the margin around the map.

Perhaps an optional feature that gamers could turn "on", but would remain "off" for the Sim type users?

Edited by Gibsonm

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But then you are off down the "Game" Vs "Sim" slope. :)

Certainly this doesn't simulate a paper map for a training audience and most BMSs that I've used have this information displayed in the margin around the map.

Perhaps an optional feature that gamers could turn "on", but would remain "off" for the Sim type users?

Could I suggest Dark's map shading widget?

Attached to a switch along side the "route tags" switches?

So we can turn on/off as needed?

This strikes me as the most elegant solution.

Military types can turn it off.

Civilian types & pilots ( :) ) can turn it on.

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oh god what have I started here :P

I think that it would be handy to have and option for hight markers to be on or off, with also the option to have contour line heights to be marked like we already have the option change the spacing on the map. Then the user can clutter and de-clutter the map as needed.

As for options of the hight number intervals I think 5, 10, and 20 would be all that is needed. For spot heights as Gibson say's you can put the spot heights in manually, but on the other hand it could also be an option of say anything over 50 feet of starting alt or average lowest alt of map to get a spot height. But we can debate all this until the cows come home in the end of the day it is up to the good guys at Esim to try and implement. if they have time to write a new code to recognise all the different map height of past and future creation, or even deem it necessary,

And as I don't have a clue about coding I cant really say if this is even possible, or worth the effort of the coders time to implement this as it seems only a small monitory that is having the same problem as me.

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Hi Guys.

I'm new here and I have been looking the height markers as on a RL map. 

Sometime there is no time for taking a walk in the operation area to find out if it's going up or down, and I have sadly miss read the map plenty of times, with somewhat deadly results.

I read somewhere that it is possible to turn on height marker numbers, but unable to find it. Also been told that perhaps this feature is not in the PE version. True ?

 

Thank you

 

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Don't know about height markers, but while your cursor is over the map one of the black boxes on the right of your screen will show the elevation at the point of your cursor.  Also using the relief map, if it has been enabled for the scenario you're playing, helps identifying up-slopes vs. down-slopes.

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3 hours ago, JUST said:

Hi Guys.

I'm new here and I have been looking the height markers as on a RL map. 

Sometime there is no time for taking a walk in the operation area to find out if it's going up or down, and I have sadly miss read the map plenty of times, with somewhat deadly results.

I read somewhere that it is possible to turn on height marker numbers, but unable to find it. Also been told that perhaps this feature is not in the PE version. True ?

 

Thank you

 

 

Just move the cursor on the map.

 

The elevation for wherever the mouse cursor is located is displayed in the marginal information on the right of the screen.

 

A couple of seconds spent moving the cursor will tell you if you are going "up" or "down".

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