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Organizing weekly "hardcore" SB mission

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Paladin

Sorry - I won't be able to make it tonight. Long, hard day, and 11pm is just too late for me I'm afraid.

I'm sorry to hear that Tjay. Going to miss you comrade. :icon_frown:

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We had an entertaining mission again this evening. We earned another victory, at least on points, but, unlike last week, it was a pyrrhic one. Out of an initial force of 7 x M3A2, 2 x M1A1(HA), 1 x M981 FISTV, and 6 x SP mortars, only the command M3 and the fire support assets remained at mission end. We did gut the Soviet advance guard battalion, but it possessed at least some combat power at the end.

Major takeaways:

  • subordinate units need to do a better job of passing contact reports and SITREPs to CO.
  • Note to self (for the umpteenth time): M3 is not a tank. Make better use of dismount scout team.

Edited by MDF

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Had a great time.

Thanks again for putting this together.

There were a bunch of people in US Armour when I got back from the UO TS channel and I told them about.

There seemed to be at least some interest there.

I wont be able to attend next weekend as I'm running some SB training "at work". :)

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Yea, passing contacts without map updates is really hard. Definitely, something we must train for.

Also, for me was the first time using channel commander. Is it normal that I only heard the CO?

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Yea, passing contacts without map updates is really hard. Definitely, something we must train for.

Also, for me was the first time using channel commander. Is it normal that I only heard the CO?

I think Mark set it up that way on purpose. I believe I too was only hearing Mark and not the other platoon commanders or FSO. In the UP missions earlier this year, it was different. All parties on the company command net could hear each other. The disadvantage there is that you're constantly hearing chatter on the command net and your platoon net at the same time, and it's difficult to hear one speaker or the other.

I'm a little hazy on how Channel Commander works, so I need to Google around a bit.

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We had an entertaining mission again this evening. We earned another victory, at least on points, but, unlike last week, it was a pyrrhic one. Out of an initial force of 7 x M3A2, 2 x M1A1(HA), 1 x M981 FISTV, and 6 x SP mortars, only the command M3 and the fire support assets remained at mission end. We did gut the Soviet advance guard battalion, but it possessed at least some combat power at the end.

Major takeaways:

  • subordinate units need to do a better job of passing contact reports and SITREPs to CO.
  • Note to self (for the umpteenth time): M3 is not a tank. Make better use of dismount scout team.

Using no mapupdates makes SB a bit harder then real life ;-) IRL i have a map wrapped in plastic--4 colour pens--and a bottle of alcohol the erase. Ideally I even have a sergant who is working the map for me. That's the only way to keep track of a situation for company level scenarios. Playing SB you usually have none of that.

So in my p.o.v. it is not always help to an enjoyable sim-experience.

Knowledge of the terrain is crucial, only then sense-able sit~ and spotreps will happen.

For me it would be easy to do that f.e. on the NTC Bergen-Hohne map (height map was donated by Warulf, members of 911 made the terrain files really close to real life). I have traveled this training ground on tracks, wheels on foot and on many occasions on hands and knees or crawling on my stomach.

So my suggestion for "non mapupdate" games would be: hand out sce files, with only the terrain where the battle is planned, a few weeks ahead. Otherwise players will have a hard time knowing there own position and even more so giving enemy positions.

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Well the Blue forces had friendly map updates so we knew where we were.

We also had towns and other features.

The "problem" is that people get very used to having Enemy updates on as well, where everybody sees every enemy unit as soon as its seen by someone.

Yes ideally people give grid references.

Failing that they should be able to say "Contact Tanks, coming out of West side of Town X (or other known reference point/landmark)".

Failing that they should be able to say "Contact Tanks, 1500m North of my location (since they have this useful tool called a laser range finder)".

The Cav Troop commander in our instance was getting pretty much "zip" from his subordinate call signs.

It shouldn't be his job to have to send messages like "Call sign X, I hear tank guns in your location, who are you firing at?"

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Yea, thats what I meant as needing practice.

When I was running backwards launching smoke all the way and leaking coolant from my damaged engine all that I was able to say was "Platoon, or perhaps two platons, of.... unidentified vehicles, coming from..... errrr, in front of me, 500 hundred meters or 2000 thousand, who knows"

I think the sergeant Grenny mentioned is there to translate the incoherencies of the platoon leaders to the CO.

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The disadvantage there is that you're constantly hearing chatter on the command net and your platoon net at the same time, and it's difficult to hear one speaker or the other.

Thats one of the usefull things about the software I told you about. You have control of individual channel volume, so you can tune down the company net to an acceptable level while you are talking to your platoon.

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Ok, I see. With the "blue-force-tracker" switched on, it get a lot easier.

But without Info passed on, the CO can't do much COing...and then the battle falls apart into small, uncoordinated single fights==> you lose.

Hmm, hard to instill good "reporting habits" into our average SB players :-P

Had that one too often. Nothing from the platoons over radio. And then when you contact them to give a task: "uh...well, I only got one tank left...yeah, lost the others in a fight against 8 enemy vehicles 5 minutes ago...somehow I forgot to tell you 'bout that"

:-D

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Well the Blue forces had friendly map updates so we knew where we were.

We also had towns and other features.

The "problem" is that people get very used to having Enemy updates on as well, where everybody sees every enemy unit as soon as its seen by someone.

Yes ideally people give grid references.

Failing that they should be able to say "Contact Tanks, coming out of West side of Town X (or other known reference point/landmark)".

Failing that they should be able to say "Contact Tanks, 1500m North of my location (since they have this useful tool called a laser range finder)".

The Cav Troop commander in our instance was getting pretty much "zip" from his subordinate call signs.

It shouldn't be his job to have to send messages like "Call sign X, I hear tank guns in your location, who are you firing at?"

Part of the problem, I think, is that the company net members were only hearing transmissions from the CO and not from each other, due to the way Channel Commander was configured. (In my case, I sent at least 3-4 unsolicited SPOTREPs.)

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Hmm, hard to instill good "reporting habits" into our average SB players :-P

Yes, easier to do within a VU or a group of guys that are familiar with each other. Reminds me of the days when ARRC was still active...

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But without Info passed on, the CO can't do much COing...and then the battle falls apart into small, uncoordinated single fights==> you lose.

I think that is where the map updates, both your own side and the enemy shines because it takes over the notion that someone in the vehicle or platoon, i.e. AI crewman is reporting those contacts over the radio net. All this happening while you the TC or gunner are busy with staying virtually alive. You as a live human can then add additional detail as time and events permit because AI radioman already sent basics over the net.

Hmm, hard to instill good "reporting habits" into our average SB players :-P

Had that one too often. Nothing from the platoons over radio. And then when you contact them to give a task: "uh...well, I only got one tank left...yeah, lost the others in a fight against 8 enemy vehicles 5 minutes ago...somehow I forgot to tell you 'bout that"

:-D

Depends on what your individual players like to experience in SBPE. Most IMHO love the gunnery aspect so won't really care about radio specifics. Others will like the operational aspect of the sim thus be more inclined to want more specific and detailed radio reports. Trick it how do you get both types of people on same page? That is difficult IMHO.

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Part of the problem, I think, is that the company net members were only hearing transmissions from the CO and not from each other, due to the way Channel Commander was configured. (In my case, I sent at least 3-4 unsolicited SPOTREPs.)

UK Armour operates 'no eny map updates' as SOP, and everyone is now pretty well tuned into the need not only to report contacts with the correct radio procedure (C/S, Contact <vehicle type> <location> <action being taken>), but also MARK THEM ON THE MAP. To this end we usually put a bunch of ref points designated Inf, PCs, TNKS, ATGM, etc off to one side of the map prior to mission start. Then when a player spots a contact he simply drags the appropriated ref point to the location. Works well for us, anyway. :clin:

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...we usually put a bunch of ref points designated Inf, PCs, TNKS, ATGM, etc off to one side of the map prior to mission start. Then when a player spots a contact he simply drags the appropriated ref point to the location.

+1

That's basically what I did during the OPV4 campaign. I put a couple reference points on the map marked "Tanks" and whenever the enemy would reposition, I'd move the RP and update the graphics. The result was some very accurate arty calls.

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I think that is where the map updates, both your own side and the enemy shines because it takes over the notion that someone in the vehicle or platoon, i.e. AI crewman is reporting those contacts over the radio net. All this happening while you the TC or gunner are busy with staying virtually alive. You as a live human can then add additional detail as time and events permit because AI radioman already sent basics over the net.

Out of curiosity, which crewman in the hypothetical platoon has all this time on his hands to collect and disseminate all that info so efficiently? :) And who are the listeners in every other vehicle on that side with enough idle time to perfectly record this info?

The sim currently greatly overstates the speed and accuracy with which enemy SPOTREPs can be generated and disseminated to other vehicles in a platoon, let alone individual crewman in these other vehicles or units operating on different radio nets. This is still largely true even with modern battle-management systems, which have significant UI and bandwidth limitations.

That's not even taking into account the fact that in SB an APC will never be misidentified as a tank. An enemy unit will never be misidentified as friendly or civvy, and vice versa.

So, IMO, "enemy map updates" is a crutch that is appropriate only in a mission where the player is saddled with control of a company or more. And, because I intend to do my level best to ensure that this never occurs in a UO "Tactical Saturday" mission, disabled ENY map updates will be the norm.

I'm a bit more forgiving with friendly map updates because the generic depiction of terrain in SB makes it exceedingly difficult to visually orient yourself. That said, the friendly map updates still over-represent Blue Force Tracker capabilities, at least with the US until recently (only in the last few years did the US field an upgrade that gave position updates more than once every five minutes or so -- depending on bandwidth availability, updates in the prior version could take as long a 10 minutes!)

As I mentioned in the Tactical Saturday "CONOPs/charter", I'd like to run at least some no-friendly-updates missions in missions portraying pre-BFT forces. Then, you REALLY get to see what friction looks like. But it's something we'd have to practice because it's a major game-changer.

Depends on what your individual players like to experience in SBPE. Most IMHO love the gunnery aspect so won't really care about radio specifics. Others will like the operational aspect of the sim thus be more inclined to want more specific and detailed radio reports. Trick it how do you get both types of people on same page? That is difficult IMHO.

You've put your finger right on what I am am trying to accomplish with the UO "Tactical Saturday" group. I.e., find like-minded people who are as interested in the planning and C3I aspects as they are in the switchology ("blowing sh*t up") part.

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UK Armour operates 'no eny map updates' as SOP, and everyone is now pretty well tuned into the need not only to report contacts with the correct radio procedure (C/S, Contact <vehicle type> <location> <action being taken>), but also MARK THEM ON THE MAP. To this end we usually put a bunch of ref points designated Inf, PCs, TNKS, ATGM, etc off to one side of the map prior to mission start. Then when a player spots a contact he simply drags the appropriated ref point to the location. Works well for us, anyway. :clin:

Oooh, that's a good idea. I'm adding that to my bag o' tricks.

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If my vehicle can see enemy objects, shouldn't it be fair that friendly forces in my platoon or company get the same objects on their maps? Force XXI capabilities have been out since at least 1997.

We rarely have enough folks to crew all the vehicles so something has to leverage the missing BF intelligence. While I agree that no map updates makes it more challenging, but it also makes it more frustrating. Or, maybe just exercise a more robust chain of command. When your platoon leader dies, jump up on the Company net and leave the platoon traffic to the next guy in charge. Again that requires the proper amount of folks to join in the session.

Still fun though :)

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If my vehicle can see enemy objects, shouldn't it be fair that friendly forces in my platoon or company get the same objects on their maps? Force XXI capabilities have been out since at least 1997.

Sure, but what if the scenario is mid '80s Fulda Gap, or guys in Technicals facing T-55's, or modern stuff in a EW environment? :)

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UO is going on the offensive this week. Mission for this Saturday is a modification of the classic "Habighorst Attack" (mission file attached*). Sign-up info here

IMPORTANT:

If you are not already, ensure that you are familiar with both the LeoA5 and the Ulan. SB has a tutorial mission set for the Leo. Information on the Ulan is available in the Wiki. (Note the Ulan fire control system's cool auto-tracking feature.)

In addition, i'm thinking that maybe after completing the main mission , we should run a second training mission specifically to practice with multi-crewed vehicles. I'm working on a custom mission for this purpose, but any number of pre-existing missions would be adequate, so I may shelve the custom one.

* note that per my discussion with Grenny, I made a few changes to Blue's order of battle to better represent the Bundeswehr.

56e83d046095e_HabighorstAttack(Leo2A5)Pa

Habighorst Attack (Leo2A5) [PaladinSix v1.1].rar

Edited by MDF

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If my vehicle can see enemy objects, shouldn't it be fair that friendly forces in my platoon or company get the same objects on their maps? Force XXI capabilities have been out since at least 1997.

We rarely have enough folks to crew all the vehicles so something has to leverage the missing BF intelligence. While I agree that no map updates makes it more challenging, but it also makes it more frustrating. Or, maybe just exercise a more robust chain of command. When your platoon leader dies, jump up on the Company net and leave the platoon traffic to the next guy in charge. Again that requires the proper amount of folks to join in the session.

Still fun though :)

"Fair" has nothing to do with it.:) Consider this example:

The number 3 vehicle of platoon 1/A/37 AR's passes over a rise and the gunner spots an unexpected vehicle. In SB, this is automatically and unerringly classified as friendly/enemy/neutral and tank/APC/truck, etc. The locations of both are immediately and unerringly known to 8-digit grid exactitude, and virtually instantaneously transmitted to every vehicle (and infantry fireteam) on your side, no matter how large your side is.

What happens in reality (assuming pre-BMS technology)?

  1. the gunner has to classify (tank, PC, truck, etc.) and call out to TC. Time 1-3 seconds, at least.
  2. TC confirms/denies and gives fire command, if appropriate; maybe orders driver to a particular covered location. Let's say 10 seconds. (Total ~ 12 seconds).
  3. TC enters platoon command net and gives contact report to platoon leader, but first has to refine to 8-digit-grid. At least 10 seconds, and I suspect I'm being very generous. And this assumes the Plt Ldr is actually ready to receive the info. (Total ~ 22 seconds)
  4. Plt Ldr has to record this report on his own map. Then, he has to go into the company command net and report it to the Company CO, other platoon leaders, and the dozen or so other members of that net. Is the company CO reachable at that moment? How many other net members are ready to receive the info right away? But let's be rather optimistic and say 15 seconds. (Total ~ 37 seconds)
  5. Now the company CO or XO has to go into the battalion command or O&I net and basically repeat step 4 above. Another 15 seconds. (Total ~ 52 seconds)
  6. So, now the Bn CO, TOC, and other company commanders have the contact report. But in order for this information to get to the number 3 vehicle of a platoon in a different company,that company CO must report it to his platoon leaders, who in turn must report it to their own subordinates. Using the times in 3 and 4 above, that's another 25 seconds, for a total of 1:17. And that is under very optimistic timing assumptions, not to mention accuracy issues.

So, even in a best-case scenario, we're talking about close to a minute and a half to disseminate a SPOTREP to a different company. That can be rather stale if the target is moving. And what if the initial report is three widely separated vehicles, for each of which an 8-digit grid has to be estimated, reported, and transcribed at each echelon? I think it's safe to say that ENY map updates makes this all far too easy and assured.

And matters are not necessarily that much better with BMS. For some (most?) of these systems, a crewmember has to manually enter a contact onto the map, and enter classification info and the rest of a SALUTE report. Depending on connectivity and bandwidth issues, it may take several minutes for other vehicles's displays to be updated.

I would have much less of an issue with enemy map updates if SPOTREPs were queued and received only after an appropriate delay and with the possibility of substantial error. But that's not the case.

So, like I said, because the UO group will avoid overburdening players with multiple vehicles, the (legitimate) excuse for using enemy map updates will not exist.

On an unrelated note, I didn't mean to bump you out of your M3 last week. Would've been happy to continue multi-crewing. Not that I'm any good at that....So, this week, we may have a supplementary training mission to practice with multiple human crewmembers.

Edited by MDF

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In addition, i'm thinking that maybe after completing the main mission , we should run a second training mission specifically to practice with multi-crewed vehicles. I'm working on a custom mission for this purpose, but any number of pre-existing missions would be adequate, so I may shelve the custom one.

Still checking my availability.

There is a chance I maybe on deck for Sunday morning my time.

Happy to offer up the BG ANZAC Battle Run scenario which is scalable both in terms of numbers (1, 2 or 4 vehicles) and platforms (M113AS4, ASLAV or M1).

Mobile practice where vehicles proceed down a lane. If more than one person per vehicle can practise crew briefs, target indications, commander override, etc.

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Still checking my availability.

There is a chance I maybe on deck for Sunday morning my time.

Happy to offer up the BG ANZAC Battle Run scenario which is scalable both in terms of numbers (1, 2 or 4 vehicles) and platforms (M113AS4, ASLAV or M1).

Mobile practice where vehicles proceed down a lane. If more than one person per vehicle can practise crew briefs, target indications, commander override, etc.

Yes, I would definitely like to see that.

The mission I have underway mixes training with some (hopefully) friendly competition. There are four adjacent lanes (each ~ 1.5 km across and ~ 8 miles long). Two players are assigned to each lane (3 if a human driver is to be included). The exercise commander has triggers for a variety of vehicles. When a trigger is activated, one vehicle of the appropriate type spawns in each lane. The humans assigned to that lane jump in their vehicle and attempt to fight their way through a random assortment of enemies to reach a safe zone at the far end. At ENDEX, the crew with the most vehicles in their safe zone "wins" the mission. I'm also considering some variations like giving each team a run in every lane, so no one can complain that another team had more favorable terrain.

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This is similar.

Two lanes side by side with report lines, etc.

Triggers generate number and type of vehicle (Bushmaster, M113AS4, or M1).

So you can have 1 x M1 in a lane or 2 x M1s in adjoining lanes (fire and movement, mutual support, etc.) or four tanks (two pairs of two tanks in adjoining lanes - move from overwatch to bounding overwatch, relief in place while reloading, etc.)

Various "targets" (Friendly, Enemy, Neutral, vehicle and personnel) with warning messages if you destroy something you shouldn't - say an ambulance.

Other things that people should report - burning cars, etc. so combines observation, reporting, target ID as well as crew briefs, target indications and gunnery.

Enemy vehicles fire back but coax only (if you hear "pling, pling, pling" then you learn the lesson without actually getting blown up and having to start over).

Penalties for getting lost and going outside your lane.

Initial battle prep with vehicles moving through and ammo replenishment area before the move off (skip at your peril down range).

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This is similar.

Two lanes side by side with report lines, etc.

Triggers generate number and type of vehicle (Bushmaster, M113AS4, or M1).

So you can have 1 x M1 in a lane or 2 x M1s in adjoining lanes (fire and movement, mutual support, etc.) or four tanks (two pairs of two tanks in adjoining lanes - move from overwatch to bounding overwatch, relief in place while reloading, etc.)

Various "targets" (Friendly, Enemy, Neutral, vehicle and personnel) with warning messages if you destroy something you shouldn't - say an ambulance.

Other things that people should report - burning cars, etc. so combines observation, reporting, target ID as well as crew briefs, target indications and gunnery.

Enemy vehicles fire back but coax only (if you hear "pling, pling, pling" then you learn the lesson without actually getting blown up and having to start over).

Penalties for getting lost and going outside your lane.

Initial battle prep with vehicles moving through and ammo replenishment area before the move off (skip at your peril down range).

Your mission concept certainly sounds better-developed than mine. Any chance I could edit your mission to throw in a Leo2 variant, M2/M3, and a CV90 variant?

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