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Gunnery question


ChrisWerb
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To make things a little harder, I set up a gunnery range on the Twenty Nine Palms map so I could have targets that moved in and out of sight over undulating ground (sand dunes) and up and down the sides of valleys/ridgelines/spurs. I ran into a problem that has me scratching my head. The M1A2 SEP has optics so good that you can see flaws in your aiming/tracking technique at longer ranges really well. What I am finding is that, at longer ranges, when a target is climbing a hill diagonally, I miss low/under and when one is going down a hill diagonally, I miss high/over, consistently. I have learned to allow for that, but is vertical target movement not something the FCS allows for in real life?

Edited by ChrisWerb
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Hans, do you mean those vehicles in real life don't either - so you would have to make manual adjustments in reality? I can understand the approaching/receding thing as that would be undetectable to the FCS based purely on angular movement, but vertical movement would be detectable from tracking, wouldn't it?

Edited by ChrisWerb
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It didn't take me long to figure it out - you just aim and track a tad up or down. :)

 

Does the Pizarro's auto-tracking FCS take vertical movement into consideration when arriving at ballistic solutions? Presumably it would need to range at quite short intervals to maintain the solution? I haven't played the Pizarro yet, so have no idea how it performs in game.

Edited by ChrisWerb
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Couldn't tell you, I don't use it much.  Play with it yourself at the range and see, but particularly in vehicles with auto-cannons like that the FCS is even less needed.

 

The M2/M3 uses a range only FCS and it's quite successful.

The Marder has nothing, and it's quite successful too.

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In terms of speed to kill on BMP-2s, the Marder 1A3 with APDS is the best thing I have tested, by far. Against air targets, the impression I get is that it's unrealistically bad compared to the CV90/40. The reason I get this impression is four-fold.

 

1. The graphics in SB aren't yet good enough to get any idea how far out you are on range when using tracers. I know this would always be problematic vs an air target, but you do get some idea of distance looking at a real tracer.

2. There is no laser to compensate for that. It would make a big difference vs Hinds etc.

3. Even if you have a Hind hover a few hundred metres away you can literally pour 20x139 APDS-T into it with very little effect, even if you take care not to aim for the empty passenger compartment (I need to make a video to prove it). What works is hitting the cockpit. 

4. I think the 3B ammunition the CV9040 uses may be too effective in game, particularly if the helo is as hard as 3. would suggest. You can have one 3P detonate a good 10 metres from the Hind or Apache in lateral distance and take them down. I was wondering if the poor FCS solutions at long range (always miss behind) were deliberate to compensate for that. Paradoxically, timed airburst with the 40/70 using 3P doesn't seem effective enough on prone troops compared to Bofors own demo videos.

 

Edited by ChrisWerb
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57 minutes ago, ChrisWerb said:

In terms of speed to kill on BMP-2s, the Marder 1A3 with APDS is the best thing I have tested, by far. Against air targets, the impression I get is that it's unrealistically bad compared to the CV90/40. The reason I get this impression is four-fold.

 

1. The graphics in SB aren't yet good enough to get any idea how far out you are on range when using tracers. I know this would always be problematic vs an air target, but you do get some idea of distance looking at a real tracer.

2. There is no laser to compensate for that. It would make a big difference vs Hinds etc.

3. Even if you have a Hind hover a few hundred metres away you can literally pour 20x139 APDS-T into it with very little effect, even if you take care not to aim for the empty passenger compartment (I need to make a video to prove it). What works is hitting the cockpit. 

4. I think the 3B ammunition the CV9040 uses may be too effective in game, particularly if the helo is as hard as 3. would suggest. You can have one 3P detonate a good 10 metres from the Hind or Apache in lateral distance and take them down. I was wondering if the poor FCS solutions at long range (always miss behind) were deliberate to compensate for that. Paradoxically, timed airburst with the 40/70 using 3P doesn't seem effective enough on prone troops compared to Bofors own demo videos.

 

 

OK lets talk about shooting choppers for a moment...

 

Like you said, you can pour AP rounds into a chopper and unless you hit something it actually NEEDS to fly, it's not going to go down.  So yes, shooting up the cockpit with AP rounds is one option.

 

As for 3P, I haven't shot choppers with it in a long time, but if it makes a big cloud of shrapnel and the engines suck that up, it's buh-bye helicopter.

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Yes, I get that. I was aiming for the engines and transmission on the Hind. I did this quite a bit, but I'll go back and try it again.

 

Re 3P and engine intake vulnerability a lot of the detonations that took the helo down were behind the chopper, partly due to the FCS problem that I explained, so I doubt engine ingestion was a factor.

 

A week or two ago, 9035DK posted a video of testing out the systems on the 9035DK in which he hit a hovering Hip-E or similar frontally with 8 rounds of ABM/KETF to no apparent effect. The Hip E is much less heavily protected than the Hind and he was hitting it from the optimum angle to avoid its armour and take out the crew. Due to its tight cone of fragments, KETF is the best round for saturating the frontal area of something with frags/pellets - air intakes included - and it is known to be very effective against the Mi-24. I am sure you will agree there is something odd going on with the lethality model vs helos. See below:

 

 

Edited by ChrisWerb
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a) As already mentioned, the HE and fragmentation model currently isn't very good (and scheduled for replacement)

b) Generally our damage model isn't very good when it comes to dealing with redundancies. In SB, if you take a damage, that equals to the last redundancy failing

 

Since aircraft are both lightweight (by necessity) and highly redundant (emerged, over the years, to be a good engineering practice) the only way we can adapt a damage model that is still largely dependent on overpenetration when predicting damage by assigning really low damage likelihoods. Which of course leads to cases where you can hammer a helicopter with loads of rounds and seemingly nothing happens, and then there are cases where they go down immediately.

To address that we would need more consistency in the fragmentation hit modeling (see point a) above) and then, maybe a different damage model that allows for hitpoints to simulate redundancy (like, "three strikes and you're out").

 

Let us finish our work on a), then we'll see.

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Thank you Nils. One trick I occasionally do for friends is take an empty coke xan and shoot it repeatedly at close range with a 12 bore loaded with no. 7 bird shot. You end up with a beautiful latticework model of a can like something you could otherwise only make on a 3d printer. That's what I'd guess an Mi8 would look like after 8 frontal KETF hits ☺

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Just a thought - there might be an easy way around this (next time around)...

 

Regardless of system redundancy (which obviously varies greatly from design to design), a chopper pilot/commander is typically going to RTB if he/she takes significant damage to any system that either degrades his mission capability significantly or makes his ride likely to fail catastrophically/depart controlled flight and/or easier to shoot down the next time. Could something be done to the model so that significantly damaged helos go home? There was an example in the 2003 Iraq invasion at Karbala where the US Army took 30 AH-64s deep into the trashfire zone and had 1 shot down and 28 of 29 survivors seriously shot up. The unit was out of action for a month.

Edited by ChrisWerb
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1 hour ago, ChrisWerb said:

Regardless of system redundancy (which obviously varies greatly from design to design), a chopper pilot/commander is typically going to RTB if he/she takes significant damage to any system that either degrades his mission capability significantly or makes his ride likely to fail catastrophically/depart controlled flight and/or easier to shoot down the next time. Could something be done to the model so that significantly damaged helos go home?

 

The decision to abort the mission is a tactical one and shouldn't be hardcoded in the damage model.

Simply add a "retreat back if... unit (this) is under direct fire" condition to every helicopter route, and an unconditioned retreat route back to base from every waypoint/battleposition. That way the helos will chicken out more often. In most cases the helicopters in Steel Beasts behave more bravely than what is good for them. Hardly the fault of the damage model, I say.

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Just to look at things a little theoretically...

 

Aircraft (Fixed wing, helicopters, bombers, etc) are both a high value asset/target and a very vulnerable asset/target...

A single A-10, F-16, AH-64, Mi-24 etc in a good position can go tons of damage to ground targets.

 

As a person on the ground, or a vehicle crewman, you have to recognize a helicopter as something that can destroy you in seconds.  When you've got an MI-24 in your sights you're looking at a bunch of ATGMs that can destroy you, a bunch of rockets that can destroy you, and either an HMG or 23mm cannon that can either destroy a light vehicle or do lots of damage to a tank if it works it over...

 

 

So aviation assets tend to draw lots of fire.  During WW2 the Wehrmacht had a policy of getting everybody to shoot at attacking aircraft with all available weapons.  So you're flying into a cloud of 88, 37, and 20mm AA fire, and also everybody with an MG34/42, Kar98K, G43, StG-44, and maybe even MP-40 is shooting at you too...

 

In SB terms, when I see an attack chopper, if I make the choice to engage it, typically I go for broke.  In an M2/M3 that means I'm firing till I'm out of ammo or it's gone.  I'll engage with TOWs if I think it's a good idea or I'm out of 25mm.  I'll switch to Coax and start hosing it down with 7.62.

In a CV90, I'll dump all my loaded rounds of ABM/3P/KETF into it's face, switch to HE and go full auto, then KE, whatever I have I'll throw it at him.

 

Choppers usually die just fine for me...

 

 

I've also played a few chopper sims/games out there.  I like to play around with a modded version of Comanche vs. Hokum every now and then.

As a chopper pilot, if I get into a good position, I have the potential to knock out 16 enemy tanks with a single AH-64.  A full load of Hellfires gives you a ton of firepower...

I also have the potential to get shot down super fast...So I don't even want to get close enough to take fire if I can help it!

Edited by Maj.Hans
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In my limited experience, ATGW are (mostly - the wire guided, non top attack ones at least) very good vs helos in SB. The CV90/35 and 40 are really great (particularly the 9040) because of the combination of area effect rounds, laser ranging and a decent anti air mode. The 9040 at least does tend to shoot behind and longer ranges when tracking normally, but there's an obvious workaround for that. The Bradley is also pretty decent due to huge ammo capacity and laser ranging, even if you have to manually lead. It lacks lethality with the 25mm, but, then again, you have seven TOW on the M2 and more in the M3 to use (unless they're 2Bs which for some reason don't work in game vs helos).

 

The CV9030 lacks area effect ammo and the near bottomless ammo capacity of the Marder and Bradley. What I found most effective with that vehicle was going to static target mode and manually leading after a single lase. Hitting crossing  targets, except in favourable circumstances, is still pretty unlikely, but the good news is that 30mm hits usually get noticed. In RL, I suspect the Finns made the deliberate choice to go for greater ammo capacity and easier reload than the 35mm partly because engagement ranges against helos in their terrain will often tend to be at suicidally close range for the helicopter. In addition to that they have a ton of MANPADS of various kinds and hydraulic cherrypickers for them to pop up out of the forest on, plus a lot of 12.7-23mm AAA. 30mm more than cuts it for their other intended uses - they have the benefit of knowing who their most likely conventional opponent will be and can plan accordingly.

 

The poorest vehicle by far vs helicopters is the Marder which I think would be pretty decent in RL. The problem, as I mentioned above is the lack of visual cues for range given the lack of an LRF. The ammo well may be bottomless, but the 20mm is also very ineffectual, particularly as you have to use APDS-T to overcome the lack of automatically generated range input. From the side, they are often going to punch through without connecting with anything vital as Nils pointed out. 

 

I played the original Apache game a lot c. 1993-4 and loved it. I got a real kick out of mastering the controls and I found it pretty realistic tactically too, although it lacked the variety and unpredictability to make it a sustained proposition. The AH-64E Guardian has been trialled with Brimstone 2 which has over twice the range of MMW HELLFIRE, so, terrain permitting, you could be looking at >16km engagements, in total darkness, from the opposite side of a ridge. Not a lot of chance of shooting back with any flavour of IFVs. The A-10 did not live up to its promises against a conventional opponent, but shone in counterinsurgency, particularly when upgraded to the C model. However, vs an opponent with more than token GBAD and tanks, I would take a Tornado GR4 with 9 (+targeting pod) or 12 BRIMSTONE 2 over the A-10C any day.

 

Edited by ChrisWerb
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