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smittylv

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Hi all, I've played Arma for years - since OFP. I'm not really active online but I've used so many of your mods and tools for a personal machinima hobby. I'd like to give back. I am a disabled veteran having served a combat tour in Operation Octave Shield. I was a heavy gunner, utilizing the M240 during convoy ops, route clearance and coin ops. I was part of the security element for the camp which was a very isolated location. There were a number of ODA guys, a few SEALs, and contractors that were there in-between missions. USAF PJs and British Marines rotated regularly. I was never attached to an actual sof op as our job was just to secure the camp and surrounding area while they worked. But there were a few times in contact that they backed us up so I got a little insight there plus they would give us supplementary training that wast sanctioned but was more of a favor to our unit. 

 

Please note that I will not disclose anything that violates opsec and infosec, i won't disclose anything specific to any of the units in OCS or any classified information about operations and training. 

But there is a lot of stuff is okay to talk about, so if you have any questions or are unsure about something having to do with actual dismounted or mounted contact, IDF, IED, route clearance, convoys, etc I can give you real answers, not book answers. 

 

Again, please don't ask anything that can be detrimental to opsec or infosec

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First off, thank you for your service.

 

Out of curiosity, which mods/missions or games have you played which emulate similar experiences that you've had overseas? I'm mostly interested in the coin ops aspect.

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7 hours ago, phronk said:

First off, thank you for your service.

 

Out of curiosity, which mods/missions or games have you played which emulate similar experiences that you've had overseas? I'm mostly interested in the coin ops aspect.

 

Hi, thanks!

 

Well, I haven't played multiplayer in a long time but we used VBS during a portion of convoy training for predeployment (which,  if you don't know, is made by Bohemia and is basically Arma) and the scenarios they presented were kind of on point.

For coin ops, what you'll typically expect, ( keep in mind that I was a heavy so I didn't actually know what the underlying goals or key intel were so this is just from my perspective. There were times I took up asst gunner and inserted on dismount but most of the time i was manning) is that you'll dismount outside the village (drivers/gunners remain in vehicle in case shit goes sideways). A fire team will either circle around the village or find higher ground. The remaining fire teams will insert and SL or the terp will make contact with the village leadership, so elders. We always bring gatorade or water as a gift. If there's something really important, more will be brought like batteries or boots. SL and probably alpha's FTL will talk. A bunch of kids will always surround the rest of us and ask for pop tarts and rice krispies which we had a lot of. A few guys had their sunglasses stolen which is hilarious bc it's not like they can chase the kids down. 

 

So if you're not a lead, you're just basically keeping your eyes open and, more importantly, trying not to offend any locals. We don't talk to/about/around their women, we don't spit on the ground, we don't stare, show the bottom of our feet, shake with the right hand, etc.

 

On the off chance shit pops off, you can always like feel it in the air. It just feels like something is wrong inside you. First shots will surprise you, the next ones will spur you into using that muscle memory. First five minutes is always going to be a confused scramble. the vehicle column will wait for SL to call them in, the gunners will cover their sectors and expect every bush to turn into a rifleman. In the town, every person on your team will be scanning the direction the fire came from. SL and FTLs will give some vague orders but are usually quick to fix key holes in our tactics. Make sure guys are taking rear security and not everyone is looking in one direction, don't pile up behind the same cover. Confirm your target, don't just start shooting at shit. 

 

A lot of times, the first few shots are it. The shooters got spooked or overestimated our ability to follow a plan through chaos and they darted while we're still trying to figure out where the original shots came from. 

But sometimes, it's an actual attack and it feels like everything is exploding around you. You get ur goggles on even though there's always dirt in your eyes somehow and SL either orders retrograde or we're clearing the town and you're not sure which one you'd prefer. 

 

Honestly, ignoring obvious shortcomings, Arma is the closest game to giving you that sense of finite-ness. Like the combination of fear and urgency, you pop your head up and you might die but you stay down and everybody is dead. There's almost a sense of self destruction, at least for me, where it's like an underlying thought of what if everybody dies and i'm the last one alive so you don't exactly try to die but you definitely take some risks because you don't want to be the lone survivor.

 

Reacting out of fear is natural, plans falling apart, a few minutes of scramble before your guys remember their shit. It's not a big deal because firefights are confusing for everyone so it's not like you're drunk fighting a sober guy. You're both smashed, the bartender is drunk and you're not even in a bar 

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Post moved to a more appropriate location as it was not an addon/mod discussion. 

Also, not to be pedantic, but
 

5 hours ago, smittylv said:

(which,  if you don't know, is made by Bohemia and is basically Arma)


is incorrect.

VBS is made by https://www.bisimulations.com/  not  https://www.bohemia.net/ . They became 2 distinct companies long ago.

 

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Hey, thanks for posting, and thanks for your service.

 

Can you lay out some basics (like you did above - entering a town/enclave) for crossing open areas, forests. deserts...what the best formations for various biomes, who takes point, who take rear (MG up front, snipers in rear, grenadiers mid formation ect.).  Anything tactical would be appreciated.  Anything pedantic, that you wouldn't necessarily see in a book, that you can share would be appreciated.

 

BTW; I always leave gunners in the squad vehicle, which even in ARMA3, has saved my squads butt more than once.  Good stuff!

 

Good day!

DrDetroit

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In Arma 3 almost every armored vehicle has 1 or 2 spare assault rifles in their cargo (in addition to the crews PDWs), is this realistic or just BI overstuffing the vehicles with kit?

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On 11/2/2019 at 10:10 PM, drdetroit said:

Hey, thanks for posting, and thanks for your service.

 

Can you lay out some basics (like you did above - entering a town/enclave) for crossing open areas, forests. deserts...what the best formations for various biomes, who takes point, who take rear (MG up front, snipers in rear, grenadiers mid formation ect.).  Anything tactical would be appreciated.  Anything pedantic, that you wouldn't necessarily see in a book, that you can share would be appreciated.

 

BTW; I always leave gunners in the squad vehicle, which even in ARMA3, has saved my squads butt more than once.  Good stuff!

 

Good day!

DrDetroit

 

So, for danger crossings such as roads or a forest opening into a field, the point man will call a short halt in which SL comes up to alpha FTL and decides based on circumstance. If the danger crossing could be an issue, form a column and first fire team will perform security. One guy on opposite sides, if there's a gunner then they take the side most likely to receive contact. Two other Alpha team members will then cross while covered with generous spacing. Then they will take up positions on opposite side of the road and cover opposite directions. Your next fireteam will cross after the move is called, they will cross two at a time while keeping their rifles up. They will take up a position to form the beginning of a circle at least 100 yards away from the danger crossing, trying to eliminate as much dead space as possible. As the remaining squad members cross, they will arrive in pairs that take up opposite sides in the circle until the circle is enclosed. Last two to cross are the near security element. Each time the final troops are crossing they will tell the units they're passing 'last man' and then the journey continues.

 

Across open ground you'll want a wedge formation, heavy right or heavy left depending on which side is more likely to receive contact. If you have a 240 gunner, keep them in second or third fire team as first or last fire teams will be the most likely to be in the kill zone during an ambush and you'll want the 240 to cover the fire team opposite of the kill zone who will sweep out about 100 yards and then sweep in, forming an L.

 

Forested areas will vary. If there's a lot of bushes and undergrowth, form a column. If there's just trees and relatively okay sight lines then form a wedge as forested areas are more prone to ambushes and you'll want to clear as much ground as you can as the team moves. 

 

Desert areas, I'm not quite as familiar with but the general rule of thumb is to avoid silhouetting (don't cross the tops of hills if you can help it, try to move a few dozen yards away from the peak), stagger your weapons, ensure rear security is continually checking behind but not facing backwards.

 

If you are close to an objective and need to perform recc or SL needs to detach to make contact with a local or something of that nature, they pull in their next in command, usually bravo FTL and give them the 5 W's. Where they're going, when they should be back, why they're going, who they're taking with them and what to do if they don't return in the allotted time.

 

This is particularly why OP orders are so damn long because the lowest ranking troop needs to know what the objectives are, RPs, callsigns, QRF/CAS/exfil options, challenge/duress words/numbers/signs, and so on so that in the off chance they're the last alive they can complete the mission or make it home safe.

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On 11/3/2019 at 12:21 PM, joostsidy said:

In Arma 3 almost every armored vehicle has 1 or 2 spare assault rifles in their cargo (in addition to the crews PDWs), is this realistic or just BI overstuffing the vehicles with kit?

 

There's almost never spare firearms in any vehicles, in my experience. They may have done it for the driver and gunner's rifles. Gunner will always have a '4 alongside their primary so these will be stored in the same location across all vehicles w gunners per the unit's SOPs so when a vehicle goes down and you're crossloading under fire you know where everything should be. A lot of veteran troops who get lackadaisical during combat patrols or ops will store some of their equipment in the vehicle's compartments but that is not SOP, at least for us. Our rifles stayed next to us and our kits were always within grabbing distance.

 

If you have any equipment, firearms or supplies that you have to leave inside a downed vehicle, you have to incinerate the vehicle with thermite, frag or whatever you have. Always deny the enemy access to allied equipment and intel even when cross loading under duress

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Man this is good stuff -i hope BI decide to hire someone like you to dramaturge their AI infantry behaviour. My biggest gripe has always been proper infantry gun orientation -that being, half the squad will point in various locations away from only known threat direction even for close combat situations. This often gets them get deaded even if they had first look. Whats your thought on this? Would you say pretty much the entire fireteam are going to orient on the only known enemy direction (obviously checking flanks with eyes/head checks) but never swiveling their whole body around in the process.

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Thanks for taking the time Smittylv.  That is exactly what I was looking for.  

 

When taking a town, I usually leap frog with my team from building to building, one guy at a time, trying to keep our heads on swivels.  Even without civs to be concerned about (say in a blown out combat zone where civs have mostly fled), it's tough to keep an eye on every window, and doorway.  We usually approach this in such a way whereby rear guard (say #9)will jump to front, then #8, 7, ect, so the last guy in file formation leapfrogs to the front.  if possible, with one team on one side of street and second team opposite side - although sometimes not enough squad members, so we just take one side of the street.  Is there a more efficient way?

 

If you have any thoughts on urban combat, please advise.

 

Thanks again, this is very good stuff!!

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Because of the game rules and limitations I have learned that you can reasonably clear a building garrisoned by AI by kind of slowly creeping around doors. This way you often see them first before they see you (in real life they would see a door opening and then slowly a rifle barrel would appear around the corner 😅

 

On the other hand, (rifle) grenading a known garissoned building from the outside through windows also works wonders in Arma, and I suspect that this is something that is done in reality.

 

So unfortunately completing the Arma mission and playing authentically are sometimes in conflict..

 

 

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On 11/4/2019 at 2:14 PM, froggyluv said:

Man this is good stuff -i hope BI decide to hire someone like you to dramaturge their AI infantry behaviour. My biggest gripe has always been proper infantry gun orientation -that being, half the squad will point in various locations away from only known threat direction even for close combat situations. This often gets them get deaded even if they had first look. Whats your thought on this? Would you say pretty much the entire fireteam are going to orient on the only known enemy direction (obviously checking flanks with eyes/head checks) but never swiveling their whole body around in the process.

 

Thank you, I'm glad i can help!

If you mean the direction of the barrels during troop movement, that is called staggering and primarily avoids flagging your teammates. But, if you mean fields of fire during contact, yes it is more likely for the SL to call all fire teams online with just one to two men covering rear security. In an actual engagement, nobody is really going to covering the 6 oclock unless you're in an urban enviroment. 

 

The point is a bit moot as you never stay in the same place under contact unless one of your fire teams is pinned. In this case, send the fire team farthest from the engagement out and around enemy for a flanking maneuver, then they will sweep inwards. Fire team leaders call shift fire as the sweeping fireteam enters their field of fire. Once the flanking team is entirely in another fireteam's designated field of fire, that FTL will call cease fire for his men and begin to patch security by positioning his men while the remaining fire teams cover the maneuvering team. Eventually the maneuvering team will have swept across the length of the entire unit. At this point, they will push out a few meters and set up a 360. Remaining squad will get online and sweep in towards the attackers. 

 

Ensure the fireteam that had flanked has taken up a position offset from the line they had walked when sweeping. This is in case any remaining combatants who pop up can be engaged without a backdrop full of friendlies.

 

A lot of times you will just break engagement unless you are on route clearance or a combat patrol. Your squad will reverse bound to the nearest RP (otherwise called assaulting backwards). This is especially true in convoy ops. There'll hardly be a time when you engage and destroy an enemy. You get off the X and get out of there unless a vehicle goes down.

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21 hours ago, drdetroit said:

Thanks for taking the time Smittylv.  That is exactly what I was looking for.  

 

When taking a town, I usually leap frog with my team from building to building, one guy at a time, trying to keep our heads on swivels.  Even without civs to be concerned about (say in a blown out combat zone where civs have mostly fled), it's tough to keep an eye on every window, and doorway.  We usually approach this in such a way whereby rear guard (say #9)will jump to front, then #8, 7, ect, so the last guy in file formation leapfrogs to the front.  if possible, with one team on one side of street and second team opposite side - although sometimes not enough squad members, so we just take one side of the street.  Is there a more efficient way?

 

If you have any thoughts on urban combat, please advise.

 

Thanks again, this is very good stuff!!

 

Of course! First thing to consider is your objective. If you're taking and holding the town, then the approach will be vastly different than moving through the town and staging in town temporarily.

Dead space is any area not currently covered by a member of your team, even if it was previously covered. So, when approaching the edge of town, take note of the layout and get your FTLs in. Each fireteam will be taking a set of buildings. Each building that is taken will need to have a body in it. If there's a large number of buildings and it outnumbers your team, then use common sense. Space out your guys but make sure you have overlapping fields of fire and nobody sneaks up on you.

 

Never cross or clear an open window when breaching a building, duck under it. Point man will 'slice the pie' when coming around a wall, doorway, hall, etc. This graphic shows it: Sweep.jpg?format=1500w

 

This prevents you from flagging your barrel, which means your barrel is visible before you are. Your rifle is an extension of you. You have to be able to see what it sees and vice versa.

Pointman breaches a building, he goes left or he goes right. Doesn't matter. He picks a direction and goes, sweeping as much dead space as he can. Next man up will take the opposite direction of pointman and take the space he didn't. So on and so forth. Doorways and bottom of stairs are fatal funnels. Point man goes left, he goes right, doesn't matter. He makes a decision and goes or you're all dead.

 

Once building is taken, stage a man on high ground and keep regular comms as the rest of the town is taken.

 

Leapfrogging is called bounding. This is typically done with sets of two or entire fire teams. One will take up covering positions and, this is where Shoot - Move - Communicate plays a key role, calls out "covering". Then, you will call out "move" when you're confident you have the area surpressed. The bounding fire team will call out "moving" and go up to the next best piece of cover past your position. Once in position they will call over "covering" and then "move". So on.

 

You don't want to leapfrog one man at a time when clearing a town. Keep in mind that you never move for the sake of moving - you maneuver. Every movement is to clear dead space or make yourself as small of a target as possible. If somebody has ownership of an area, as in they cleared it and know what should or shouldn't be there, keep them in their place as you move. Don't have your men constantly rotating their fields of fire. They take ownership of their area.

 

As for windows and doors, again communication is key. Pointman will call out every door or window he sees and somebody will take ownership of it. "Open window, yellow building 3 o clock" should be replied with "Got it" now everyone knows that window is covered. In urban movements, there'll be too many windows and doors to divy out. So you establish fields of fire for your men. Pointman of course floats but always takes the front. Next guy can take right high and next guy can take left low, next guy takes left high and so on. Your SL will make this decision based on circumstance, SOPs won't help with the high variations of towns.

 

Just make sure that every single thing you do contributes to your ultimate goals of dominating dead space and denying the enemy a clear shot of you or your men

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On 11/5/2019 at 3:49 AM, joostsidy said:

Because of the game rules and limitations I have learned that you can reasonably clear a building garrisoned by AI by kind of slowly creeping around doors. This way you often see them first before they see you (in real life they would see a door opening and then slowly a rifle barrel would appear around the corner 😅

 

On the other hand, (rifle) grenading a known garissoned building from the outside through windows also works wonders in Arma, and I suspect that this is something that is done in reality.

 

So unfortunately completing the Arma mission and playing authentically are sometimes in conflict..

 

 

 

Crossing into an unknown space, such as crossing a doorway or coming around a corner - IRL they should not see a rifle barrel appearing around the corner. This is called flagging. The most common tactic to circumvent this is called 'slicing the pie', wherein you make a wide arc and keep your rifle as an extension of your arm - straight. As you form the pie and your rifle sweeps, you and your barrel will appear at the same time. 

 

Fragging a building is almost never done except for dire circumstances - you don't know who or what is in the building alongside them. This is why we don't use MK19's on convoys. It was dubbed the 'Finger of God' because reactions to contact would often end with a series of leveled buildings and undue casualties to the civilian population thereby completely eliminating any progress you made thru COIN ops. You are always winning hearts and minds in a foreign land - otherwise nobody will give you intel and there will be a lot of petty subterfuge conducted against your unit like blocked roads and being pelted with rocks or human waste as you come thru town. 

 

Understandably, Arma cannot completely replicate real life - just the very basic internal stomach-in-throat feeling of any type of contact is really impossible to create for players because they're not in real danger. But, the complicated feelings and thoughts that come from combat are, in a way, touched on by Arma's engine. You do get that sinking despair and a thousand fears going through your mind in a single second like "what if everybody dies and I'm the only one left" or "what if I don't pop up to return fire enough and somebody dies because of my inaction" or "what if a shooter has my position in his sights and is just waiting for me to pop up".

 

These feelings can be felt in a mild way by players who are heavily vested in the game and I would not chastise them for admitting as much. If you want your unit to operate as realistically as possible, you'll need to understand that the easiest way is very rarely the right way in an organized conflict. If your side has ROEs, then you'll always be considering 'proportionate force'. Urban operations are a mess for many reasons but one of the biggest is the chains you put on your biggest dogs because letting them loose could lead to your unit being on the hot seat in the US and on the news for massacring a village of innocent people.

 

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. 

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Thank you for your points @smittylv. I will admit that I prefer playing with hardly a civilian presence because it removes some of the strategic and moral complexities. In Arma you can flatten buildings without regret if you want to.. 🙂 Although I also love and highly recommend the Arma3 IDAP expansion whos campaign and assets deals with the humanitarian and grey areas of war.

 

I find it very interesting how emotionally investing Arma can be like you say (so even for veterans, or perhaps even more so?). The other day I played a mission where I had to clear three difficult positions with two Hunters and an infantry squad. It took me 15min to get to the final objective and discover that there was actually no enemy there and the final objective was cancelled.

 

In any other game players would be pissed off by not only travelling 15 boring minutes without firing a single shot, but on top of that, the final objective was cancelled out of nowhere. Approaching the objective I was actually a bit nervous, knowing that a single RPG in the vehicle could throw away three precious hours of progress (I play without respawn). Instead of disappointed I was surprised by a feeling of relief. I felt like I had won a little lottery by not having to do a third objective and I could just RTB with most of my squad intact and mission completed on the record!

This is a very powerful thing that Arma does. 🙂

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On 11/6/2019 at 11:52 PM, smittylv said:

 

Crossing into an unknown space, such as crossing a doorway or coming around a corner - IRL they should not see a rifle barrel appearing around the corner. This is called flagging. The most common tactic to circumvent this is called 'slicing the pie', wherein you make a wide arc and keep your rifle as an extension of your arm - straight. As you form the pie and your rifle sweeps, you and your barrel will appear at the same time.

 

Exposing your rifle barrel beyond an object I know as telegraphing. It's good to know that the most common method is slicing the pie. Do you do any limited penetration tactics or is all on a dynamic entry foundation?

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Another question smittylv, or maybe more so an observation; I noticed in many combat vids, mostly Afghanistan footage, the troops seem to have terrible muzzle discipline, constantly sweeping their teammates.  I really never noticed this in Vietnam, WWII combat vids, this just really seem to stick out to me in the more modern combat vids. 

 

Is this something that you ever noticed in the field?  I guess there are other things to worry about, but geezz, seems you don't want your teammate muzzle sweeping you with a M249, let alone a M4.

 

Was just wondering about that after checking out a few combat vids circa 2010-2014 in Afghanistan.  

 

Thanks for the info!!

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Been Playing Since Ghost recon, OFP and Arma from its conception. I will get straight to the point. I love the work BI has done and so many good people play on the public servers. I randomly join and as of late have found the admins little more than children with huge power problems ruining play for very respectable people. I suppose I could write a treatise on this but I figure it wont matter. Maybe someone (not dropping any names) will look into the administrators of our public servers. Maybe allocate some extensive time into p arousing our servers and naming these idiots who continually compromise good solid game play. I understand that all mission games are autonomous and self regulating through the vote system and BI could spend thousands of hours in the monitoring or regulation of its servers. I just think we descent players deserve some kind of consideration because of our loyalty to BI and the Arma legacy. Please consider this a call for some kind of consideration, even minimal would suffice. 

sp

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