Although Steel Beasts is a vehicle centric simulation, infantry play a large role on the battlefield and can pose a significant threat to armored vehicles.
- 1 Types of infantry
- 2 Individual movement techniques
- 3 Protection
- 4 Infantry Status
- 5 Training
- 6 Utilizing infantry weapons
- 7 Individual optical systems
- 8 Specialized infantry
- 9 Miscellaneous
Types of infantry
Mechanized infantry, also referred interchangeably as "mech infantry" or "mounted infantry", are those that begin a mission assigned to personnel carriers or trucks, or other ground vehicles. Note that some militaries may distinguish between mechanized and armored infantry, but this section refers to both as a single type within Steel Beasts.
Mounted infantry can be dismounted with the U command, and told to mount with the Shift+U keypress. Scenario designers may alter the equipment loadout of mounted infantry in the Mission Editor by selecting the carrying vehicle and choosing "Unload troops" from the right-click context menu. You may also change the type of infantry as well, via the "Set unit type" menu selection. In this way, you can assign ATGM teams to the mechanized/motorized infantry units. Gofor a template scenario showing how to change mech infantry team assignments, as well as researched platoon compositions for major nationalities of different time periods.
- NOTE: Most modern mechanized and motorized infantry platoons have ATGM teams.
Additionally, altered ammunition loadouts when used with the global "For all other current units:" check boxes will apply to all other infantry units as well. Units unmodified by either method will continue to carry their default equipment (please see the technical pages of the PCs for hints on the squad's armament).
While the player is in the vehicle commander’s position (F7) mounted infantry will mount/dismount only on direct command (Shift+U and U). You may also instruct infantry to mount and dismount from the map view via the right-click menu's "Troops" -> "Mount" and "Dismount" selections which can be assigned to routes, waypoints and (in the execution phase), on the carrying unit's map icon itself.
If a player in the vehicle's position presses W or X to move out while troops are mounting to that vehicle, then the mounting will be cancelled as well. This will happen only when a player is manually driving the vehicle, so giving the vehicle a new route won't stop the mounting of troops (rev. 2.538).
Vehicles will automatically move towards the troops that they are loading (if beyond approximately 25 meters) (rev. 2.538). Vehicles in emplacements will remain stationary while loading troops; if you don’t want the troops to cross open ground, the vehicles need to be moved to a new location first (rev. 2.538).
Currently, mounted infantry are split into two teams (A and B), and cannot be combined. By default, A team's composition is a rifle team, and B team's composition is an LMG team, however their unit types can be changed as mentioned above, via the "Set unit type" selection in the Mission Editor. You can change infantry teams with any type of infantry type that is available.
In the Execution Phase's 3D world view, the vehicle icons at the bottom right of the screen will show purple when there are troops loaded and gray otherwise, and while loading and unloading the vehicle icons will flash between these two colors.
For dismounted troops the hotkey (F7) will now give the squad leader’s point of view.
Light Infantry (Leg)
Light infantry are units that do not begin a scenario attached to a mechanized or motorized vehicle. These are always infantry that are placed on the map separately in the Mission Editor.
Light infantry are exactly the same as mechanized/motorized infantry, except that currently light infantry rifle squads cannot split into team sized units, they always are in squad sized elements (although the mission designer can make small team sized light infantry squads if desired). Mechanized, motorized, and air assault infantry are currently team sized units which cannot be combined into squads.
Even though light infantry do not begin a scenario assigned to a vehicle, they can be picked up by vehicles if there is enough spare troop carrying capacity available. In this way, you can use trucks, helicopters, or PCs to pick up light infantry and move them quickly to a different location. The only requirement is of course that the unit must have enough free space to load the infantry unit. To load infantry into a vehicle they are not originally assigned to, there are two methods:
- 1) Move the vehicles very close to the infantry you want to pick up, then in the 3D world view of the vehicle unit, left click on the single vehicle's icon and select "Load troops" and the select the name of the unit you wish to load. Keep in mind that if the vehicle in question has infantry assigned to it that are unloaded somewhere else, then those infantry will appear in this list. Non-assigned close proximity infantry will appear listed below a horizontal spacer line.
Once loaded into the vehicle, the infantry will then become assigned to that vehicle and they can be loaded and unloaded with the U and SHIFT + U keys.
- 2) Alternatively you can use the "Troops" --> "Mount" selection from the right-click map view menu on routes and waypoints. Doing this will cause a unit to pick up infantry in the surrounding area IF it has enough capacity to do so. The specific range in which a unit will pick up infantry not assigned to it is:
- WAYPOINT: 175m radius infantry not assigned to the unit, 200m for infantry that are currently assigned to the unit.
- ROUTE: 175m to left and right of route for infantry not assigned to the unit, 200m for infantry that are currently assigned to the unit. In other words, if you have a mount order on a route, the vehicles will travel along the route and pick up all assigned infantry that are within 200m to the left and right of the route, and will pick up all non-assigned infantry at 175m left and right of the route. It will continue doing this until it no longer has any free carrying capacity to do so.
Air Assault Infantry
Air assault infantry are infantry that begin a mission mounted in a troop carrying helicopter. For all intents and purposes, air assault infantry behave exactly like mechanized infantry.
The main difference between air assault infantry and mechanized infantry is that, obviously, air assault infantry are carried by helicopter. Because of this, loading and unloading infantry can be a little more complicated but it still follows the same basic principles. Some things that you will need to know are:
- If flying a helicopter manually, to unload infantry you will need to stop to a hover with S, then hold Z until the helicopter lands. The helicopter will have difficulty landing on steep grades or in a forest, so it is always best to land in a flat and relatively clear area. Once landed, load and unload the infantry as normal with the U and SHIFT + U keys, respectively.
- From the map view, loading and unloading infantry occurs in the same way as mechanized infantry, however there is an additional right-click menu item of "Set flight height". In this menu, it is recommended that you choose "Ground level" if you plan on mounting or dismounting infantry, however the AI will attempt to land on its own in both cases even without this setting. Selecting "Ground level" when loading and unloading simply ensures that less will go wrong in in the heat of the action.
- Helicopters can now be combined into platoons (flights), and these platoons can be landed, and mounted and dismounted together to allow for a larger scale air assault operations to occur with relative ease.
Individual movement techniques
In the old days, the infantry in Steel Beasts only had one method of movement: jogging. Beginning in version 3.0, infantry now have several methods of movement, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Infantry can be controlled either manually, with the A, S, D, W keys, or automatically with routes and waypoints.
Posture, as referred to here, is the height of the infantry as they are stationary or are moving. You can manually set the posture of infantry that are stationary and while they are in some movement modes. Press Q to raise your posture, if applicable, and press Z to lower it. Specifically, when laying prone and while not under fire, raising your posture will cause the infantry to go to a kneeling position, which may help with observation from the F7 view. Raising your posture again will cause the infantry to stand up. Lowering your posture works in the opposite manner. Also, when crawling or marching, you may lower or raise your posture to result in a different movement mode. For example, you could go from marching to crouched walking in this way.
- HALT is obviously when the infantry is not moving. Infantry must halt in order to recover fatigue and doing this is is considered as resting. In Steel Beasts, the time it takes to fully rest an infantry unit can vary, but it usually takes about 5 minutes in most cases when a unit is fully exhausted.
- CRAWLING is the slowest movement type, but it provides the most cover and concealment. Crawling also results in a very small loss of fatigue over time.
- CROUCHED WALKING is faster than crawling, while still providing some manner of stealth. Crouched walking does not result in a loss of fatigue, and does not regain fatigue either.
- MARCHING is the ideal movement type for extended period movement. Marching is faster than crouched walking, but slower than jogging, however the advantage is that it is the fastest movement type that does not result in loss of fatigue. This allows infantry to advance over long distances within the scope of a Steel Beasts scenario without having to pause and rest. However, as with crouched walking, even though marching does not exhaust fatigue the unit also does not recover from fatigue either. To recover fatigue you must halt and rest. For the most part, all crew served weapons are generally limited to this form of movement as they carry their equipment into position.
- JOGGING (aka. double time) is faster than marching, but slower than sprinting. Jogging expends a moderate amount of fatigue.
- SPRINTING (aka. rushing) is the fastest movement type available but it expends fatigue at a very high rate. In addition, sprinting is not possible unless the unit is considered "rested" and is not "tired". See the section about fatigue below for more information.
Manually controlling infantry works exactly like vehicles. The W key is used to move forward and increase speed, while the S key is used to slow down. Holding A and D will cause the infantry to turn left and right, respectively, and X will cause the infantry to stop. As mentioned in the section on posture, Q and Z may raise and lower infantry posture depending on the situation.
Also note that in 3D world view you can either press L or access the lower right unit icon menu to toggle the "Follow leader" command on and off. If off, then the rest of the infantry unit will not follow the leader as you manually move around. This is often good to do when reconnoitering forward a bit of the overall unit. Press L or the "Follow leader" selection again to have the rest of the team/squad return to the leader's current location.
Route tactic behavior
Note that infantry will stop and occasionally rest if they are on FAST or TOP SPEED routes, and they do this in order to maintain that higher rate of movement for as long as possible. Over time though, depending on the circumstances, they will likely become exhausted and will be reduced to crawling (for tactical considerations) until they are rested.
Fatigue, within the scope of Steel Beasts, represents an infantry unit's short term ability to exert itself through individual movement technique types. Specifically, it is a wargaming abstraction to prevent infantry from being able to sprint all the time, and as a mechanism to establish a pro-con relationship between the movement techniques.
When occupying an infantry unit, in the 3D world view's lower right corner of the screen you will see three vertical colored bars (green, yellow, red). Depending on which bars are showing certain movement types may not be available:
|green, yellow, and red bars visible||
|yellow and red bars visible||
|red bar visible||
|no bars visible||
Cover and Concealment
Cover gives protection from bullets, fragments of exploding rounds, flame, nuclear effects, and biological and chemical agents. Cover can also conceal you from enemy observation. Cover can be natural or man-made. (FM 21-75)
When stationary, infantry will attempt to seek cover in the bumps and folds of the terrain that cannot adequately be represented at the lowest level, which is simulated by having them sink into the surrounding terrain depending on the Bumpiness value of the applied terrain theme for each given terrain type. With bumpiness set to "0" (0%) – the default for very old scenarios – dismounted soldiers will not have cover (they will not sink into the ground). At "1.00" (100%) bumpiness they will sink to the point that only the top of their head is visible, but the controlling player of a dismounted squad will still see them somewhat elevated, making it easier to locate his own soldiers (rev 2.460).
Keep in mind that once infantry fire or move they will not be sunken into the terrain until they stop moving, or until a few seconds after they fire. The reason that infantry momentarily raise from their sunken position when firing represents them briefly exposing themselves to the enemy while engaging targets.
Infantry may take position in bunkers, or may occupy buildings. Place a waypoint with "Defend" tactics near a bunker (preferably at the rear) and infantry should occupy it.
(rev. 2.403) Computer controlled units will engage troops inside of buildings with HE or HEAT ammunition where this is available and useful.
(rev. 2.395) Troops will no longer seek cover unless given a battle position with Hold, Defend or Guard tactics. As before,
- Hold and Defend will also cause the troops to go inside nearby buildings.
- Guard will cause them to stay outside nearby buildings. If there are no nearby buildings they will look for cover in nearby woods.
- Having "no tactic" or Stay tactics will result in the troops not looking for any cover and so staying where they are.
- While troops are in buildings, the orientation of the battle position is important. The direction the battle position is pointing will determine which firing positions in the building are occupied. For example, if a large building contains a small unit of infantry, orienting the battle position to the south will ensure that the infantry will man the south wall. Keep in mind that when you change the orientation of the battle position, it will take a few moments for the infantry inside to change their position to the new orientation as they have to move to their new location in the building.
- Note that if you click on a unit icon at the bottom of the 3D view and order the troops to a new position the waypoint at the end of the new route will have no BP ("none" tactics) unless you use the "assault to" order. So, if you want the troops to move to a spot and go into a nearby building or find cover, use "assault to." If you want the troops to NOT go in a building nor find cover, use another movement order such as "advance to" or "retreat to."
(rev. 2.440) Troops will enter buildings only on "Hold" orders to allow better control about their autonomous positioning.
Depending on their current tactics they may or may not enter structures (and since 4.000 you can change this behavior as you prefer, and you can specify how they occupy structures (top to bottom for example). That said, the default settings are:
infantry will enter
infantry will enter
infantry will NOT enter
infantry will NOT enter
infantry will enter
infantry will NOT enter
This can be changed in the map view's top level "Options" menu's "Default behavior in buildings" sub menu.
(rev. 3.002) You may also order infantry to enter buildings occupied by enemy infantry. This can be used to clear buildings when the enemy is in a weakened state, or when they are known to be engaging threats in another direction. Entering a building with enemy forces should be done with caution however, because it can be very costly. Note that further improvement here is needed -- infantry will not go room to room and clear it, but rather will shoot directly at each other as they enter the building, but the intent here is to at least provide a method to completely sweep and clear the enemy from occupied buildings.
Concealment is anything that hides you from enemy observation. Concealment does not protect you from enemy fire. Do not think that you are protected from the enemy's fire just because you are concealed. Concealment, like cover, can also be natural or man-made. (FM 21-75)
Concealment is currently not modeled in great detail Steel Beasts, other than the natural concealment that occurs from ground clutter at close range, and from the cover gained from infantry sinking into the terrain or taking cover in buildings.
Infantry body armor is modeled in Steel Beasts and it increases survivability of infantry by protecting them from fragments, ricochets, and direct smallarms fire. They are protected in the areas of their torso, head and shoulders, with the level of protection depending on the type of infantry.
In Steel Beasts body armor currently comes in two types: FLAK protection and ballistic protection. FLAK armor only protects against fragments from smaller high explosive rounds and grenades, while ballistic armor protects up to 5.56mm at close range, and 7.62mm at beyond 100m, depending on impact area.
- US 2000
- KR 2000 (South Korean)
- CN (Chinese)
- DE (German)
- DK 2000 (Danish)
The US 2000, KR 2000, and CN are all based on the US interceptor body armor (IBA) model, and the DE and DK are based on the infantrie der zukunft ("infantry of the future", IdZ) model. All other infantry types have only have fragmentation protection in the helmet and torso area, which represents FLAK vests and steel or kevlar helmet. Civilians and insurgents have no fragmentation or ballistic protection. See also Camouflage Schemes.
Infantry can be in different statuses, depending on their situation.
Medics and soldiers belonging to the wounded soldier's own team and squad will treat wounded soldiers within a certain proximity of their position. When they are treating wounded, they will enter an "working" animation where they are moving their hands and arms in front of them, and "Treating wounded" will be displayed at the bottom of the screen in the status bar.
While treating wounded, the unit that is treating the wounded will be unable to move. This is because, in real life, if someone is treating a casualty then they are not likely to drop what they are doing and run away. Keep this in mind when deciding when to treat wounded. That said, it is possible for non-medic soldiers, who belong to the same squad as the wounded solder, to start treating their wounded immediately while in combat. This represents another real world situation where wounded soldiers in a squad can cause the squad to lose combat effectiveness as it urgently has to treat its own casualties.
Infantry can become suppressed by enemy fire. Suppression is handled in a very basic way. If infantry are under fire then they become suppressed. While suppressed:
- Infantry will not kneel to fire the RPG.
- Infantry on a route will take cover.
- Prone infantry can still return fire normally.
Therefore, you can fire on enemy infantry to keep them pinned down and unable to move at full speed on a route, and to hinder them from returning RPG fire from the kneeling position. There are no visual indicators when the infantry are suppressed, they simply take cover and are unable to return kneeling RPG fire, nor continue on the route at their desired movement speed and posture.
Infantry unit have several quality levels that they can be given: Elite, Regular, Conscript, Militia and Untrained. The corresponding Mission Editor choices are: A = Elite, B = Regular, C = Conscript, D = Militia and E = Untrained respectively. These quality levels represent proficiency and training levels that would be associated with their names. There are many different subtle effects from quality levels, where higher quality usually get benefits while lower quality levels usually receive penalties, and Conscript quality usually have neither a benefit or a penalty.
Depending on the quality level of the unit, a unit may have its visibility level reduced so that it is less than the actual/literal visibility level.
- ELITE: normal visibility
- REGULAR: normal visibility
- CONSCRIPT: max range to detect enemy units is 75% of the actual visibility
- MILITIA: max range to detect enemy units is 50% of the actual visibility
- UNTRAINED: max range to detect enemy units is 25% of the actual visibility
There also exists several parameters which can influence spotting, known as a generic detection factor. This includes: the unit's FOV when detecting enemy, the distance at which AI units can hear sounds from enemy units, the time it takes for them to detect a muzzle flash or ATGM launch, and the apparent height of an enemy unit before it can be easily detected.
For all of these things...
- ELITE: 100% generic detection factor
- REGULAR: 100% generic detection factor
- CONSCRIPT: 75% generic detection factor
- MILITIA: 50% generic detection factor
- UNTRAINED: 25% generic detection factor
Depending on the quality level of the unit, a unit may have its maximum stamina increased or reduced over the standard level.
- ELITE: 150% maximum stamina
- REGULAR: 125% maximum stamina
- CONSCRIPT: 100% maximum stamina (normal stamina)
- MILITIA: 75% maximum stamina
- UNTRAINED: 50% maximum stamina
Depending on the quality level of the unit, a unit may have a reduced maximum depth that it can sink into the terrain (from bumpy terrain).
- ELITE: full sink depth allowed
- REGULAR: full sink depth allowed
- CONSCRIPT: 75% maximum sink depth
- MILITIA: 50% maximum sink depth
- UNTRAINED: 25% maximum sink depth
Medic (Healing Capacity)
Depending on the quality level of a MEDIC, that medic may have an increased or decreased capability to revive wounded soldiers.
- ELITE: 66% chance to revive a wounded soldier
- REGULAR: 50% chance to revive a wounded soldier
- CONSCRIPT: 40% chance to revive a wounded soldier
- MILITIA: 20% chance to revive a wounded soldier
- UNTRAINED: 10% chance to revive a wounded soldier
Utilizing infantry weapons
Crew served weapons
Some infantry have crew served or individual weapons that can be fired directly by the user. The current list of infantry weapons that can be crewed are:
- all ATGMs
- Mk.19 AGL
- Various light machine guns
- Certain heavy machine guns
- Dismounted mortars
- Remote Weapon Stations
When occupying one of these units, press F7 to go to the commander's eye view, then press F2 to go to the gun sight view.
40mm grenade launchers
Rifle type infantry units can be equipped with HE and/or smoke grenade ammo. If they are equipped with said ammo, then they will visually carry a rifle that has an under barrel grenade launcher (if the model is available).
The AI will not utilize the grenade launcher on its own, the owning player has to instruct the infantry unit when and where to fire it. To use the grenade launcher, as the owner of the unit jump to that infantry unit and go to the F8 (or F7) view.
Once in the F7 of F8 view, access the unit icon menu in the lower right of the screen by left clicking on it. If the unit has grenade launcher ammo available/remaining then "Fire HE rifle grenade here..." and/or "Fire smoke rifle grenade here..." will appear in the menu. Left click on either of these and then the mouse pointer will move to the center of the window. At this point you just have to click on the terrain and, if it is in range, the appropriate grenade will be fired to that area. Keep in mind that any intervening terrain or objects may cause the grenade to impact and detonate before it reaches the desired target area.
For maximum destruction, if an entire organization is equipped with grenade launcher ammo then you can have the entire organization fire a grenade at the selected area. To do this, select the higher organization's icon and select to deploy the appropriate grenade. The units that are in range of the target area will all fire. Note that if not all of the units in the organization have grenade launcher ammo then the fire command will not appear in the menu, but this method comes in handy when you split up regular rifle infantry squads into teams.
Individual optical systems
Steel Beasts Professional provides a number of individual optical systems usable by infantry elements, vehicle commanders, and drivers. These range from simple binoculars to low-light, thermal, and indirect-fire observation sights. In all cases these systems are accessed from the F7 squad leader’s position, F7 vehicle commander's position (binos and NVG), or F9 Driver's position (NVG).
- Night-vision devices
- JIM-LR (Infrared Multi-functional Binocular-Long Range)
- G/VLLD (Ground/Vehicular Laser Locator Designator)
Some infantry units have specialized duties that they can perform. These units usually require direct intervention by the user, although some are based on route types or are proximity based.
Sniper Teams are specialized infantry that are capable of accurately eliminating High Value Targets (HVTs) on the battlefield.
Enemy infantry units can be designated as an HVT by selecting "Hight Value Target" on the enemy unit in the Mission Editor. When a unit is designated in this way, then "HVT" will appear in the bottom of the status bar when the unit is selected.
Sniper Teams will engage HVT units on sight, without user intervention, as long as the target is in range. They will continuing engaging the HVT until the HVT unit is eliminated, out of range, or out of sight.
If an enemy infantry unit is not designated as an HVT, then the user must directly intervene in order to have the sniper engage that target. To do this, access the lower right unit icon menu in the 3D world view and select "Shoot at unit..." and then the mouse pointer will be moved to the center of the 3D view, then you just left click on an enemy target in view. The good thing is that you don't actually have to click exactly on the enemy unit - it should register the click as long as you get it in close proximity (although you should strive to click accurately). If the unit selection is successful then the mouse pointer will disappear, if not then the cursor will remain and you can try again.
In the case where a sniper team has a strength of two or more soldiers, a spotter will be present. You can access the spotter by pressing F7, then press N to use the spotter's binoculars. Unless you are located in high grass, the binocular view is the best way to designate targets for the sniper as the unmagnified external view makes it difficult to spot and designate enemy units as targets.
- Note that currently the AI is unaware of vehicle crew as targets for the sniper. The AI is only aware of the vehicle or infantry unit, and sniper teams will only engage infantry units.
Engineer Teams are specialized infantry that can clear and mark lanes through minefields. To use the engineers in this way, simply assign them a BREACH route through a minefield. The engineers will then move at a slow pace with a mine sweeping animation and will clear the a route through the minefield.
If the minefield is present, the engineer unit on the BREACH route will mark the cleared lanes in blue (to simulate bright blue spray paint), and will mark cleared mines in red. Despite their color, cleared mines are harmless to vehicles.
There are two types of medics, medic team and integrated squad medics.
Medic team type medics are either in the platoon command element, specifically the platoon XO unit, or assigned to Medic vehicles. For dismounted elements if you left click on the platoon XO, the bottom status bar will display that a medic is present (unless the medic has been eliminated). Medic teams dismounted from vehicles are "pure" and have the medic map symbol.
The use of the medic team is fairly simple. When infantry units suffer casualties, simply move the platoon XO unit or separate medic team to the location where the casualties are located (i.e. dead troops). Once the platoon XO (or Medic Team) units arrives and is in a battle position, the medic will move around to heal (revive) casualties that can be saved if they are located within a small radius of his location (approximately 25m or so). If the medic does not move towards a downed soldier then he cannot be saved and you should move on, or the downed soldier is outside of his radius. The medic evaluates this as he arrives, and if he crawls to a downed soldier then he is able to save him, and will do so, after a certain amount of time passes.
Integrated squad medics are utilized automatically. As an ordinary infantry unit suffers casualties, soldiers in the unit will try to conduct medical aid to revive each other.
The amount of time it takes to heal (revive) a downed soldier depends on the quality level of the medic unit. Also, Medic Teams have a much higher probability of successfully healing downed soldiers than integrated squad medics do.
In the current version of Steel Beasts, the general range of small arms fire has been set to 600 meters.