Coop - Far Ahead

Post C&C, comments about the BE SFG Faction as well.

Was missing zip ties, binos and map tools. Otherwise great op

Platoon demo could use a defuse kit, so they can remove explosives they’ve armed. doesn’t need to be the big toolkit, just the multitool looking thing.

Unfortunately when I get in a bad mood it’s hard for my good humor to return, but I do always believe in redemption. This is the reason why I have never quit an op mid-session. However, sadly this op my mood went from bad to worse every step of the way.

At the very start I think we should’ve taken Minerva. I unfortunately joined a bit late (19:52) due to some stuff I had to finish irl, which meant I didn’t look at the opord ahead of time. Had I done so I would’ve definitely argued harder for us to take it. Kujari is a vast open desert (with the exception of the jungle adjacent to the river), and the opord stated that we had to gather intel and then act on it. There being nothing nearby any town except a town over several kilometers away, these were good clues that there was going to be a lot of traveling this op, even aside from the mission maker making an element that doesn’t exist in our standard faction. I’ve always enjoyed light-vehicle teams and I think we always use them effectively when we do have them, so I was slightly bummed when we didn’t take them, but fair enough.

So even with no intel (or more likely precisely because we had no intel) the planning took just as long as any other op where we have more information in advance. This makes sense since without intel we need to plan for more contingencies.
However, then we also got slowed down because for example AAR missed Vector/Binocular, Map Tools, Zip ties and GPS and several other roles also missed equipment. Personally I’d just have said: deal with it, the Belgian army can’t afford it (Dutch army probably couldn’t at this point), but we got a fairly slow air drop half a klick away (at Alpha) so 2 people go to get the gear, then we slowly mount up again and head into town as we spot nothing with the binoculars.

In the first town we stop our truck in the middle of the road (?) because a civilian is blocking the way, to nobody’s surprise it then gets shot at. However, because half the squad is standing right in front of it, I couldn’t even move it out of the way until 1 minute later when platoon asked me to do so and people had finally made space. It’s a miracle we didn’t lose it, which would’ve meant we’d have had to go on foot from then on.
Bravo fireteam movement through the rest of the town was extremely slow. We were told by SL to support Alpha, but we didn’t even manage to cross the road until after all the opponents were dead and Alpha had 2 KIA’s.
Then for the next 20-25 minutes we clear the rest of an empty town and sit around waiting.

We get told to load up on supplied before the second objective, because we’re going to leave the vehicles behind and we won’t get more resupplies, so we do. As Bravo sets up a nice OW on Maiwa, Alpha gets themselves spotted and starts a 10 minute shootout. Bravo has a full enemy fireteam in sight they can take out and move in to flank, but are told to hold back. At some point we’re finally told we can shoot and I shoot the first bullet of the op at 21:25. Now, don’t get me wrong - I love a good thriller op which is not about shooting, but about tactical play, stealth and/or very thematic. This was not that, this was just slow and boring.
The rest of the town clearing is actually very good. For 10 minutes Bravo does good fireteam bounding and swiftly takes out several compounds filled with enemies, as well as good responses to incoming technicals.

Then we sit in town again for over 20 minutes while nothing is engaging us. As soon as I see map markers appear on a town 6 kilometers to the east, I tell Bravo lead that we should get our truck again, since it’s going to be another long drive. After checking with platoon he and another from Bravo go to do this. It takes another 5 minutes for Alpha to send some people to get their vehicles. I think at this point either platoon should’ve coordinated with Bravo to bring all vics or Alpha/Platoon should’ve picked up on what was going to happen and sent Alpha people when Bravo asked for it. Clearly the Alpha people also haven’t been informed that earlier platoon had moved their vics up to Mawa, so they spend a few more minutes looking for them.

We dismount at the town of Mandala to the east (only 700m instead of >1km this time) and it appears to be a dummy location, so we mount back up and go to hill 30. The enemy setup around here was good, and I think on it’s own would’ve made for a great engagement. However, again Bravo was held in the back. Fortunately, this time Bravo lead literally said: "Fuck it, I want to shoot something this op)", so we pushed right on Alpha’s flank and started engaging enemies around a makeshift helicopter base. At this point I get shot by an enemy shooting through sandbags AND a tree trunk. My FTL gets to me in time and does the medicing, but I get the ACE medical bug where (multiple) CPR doesn’t register and die. I really don’t care at this point anymore.

In all this is a pretty brutal assessment, and I don’t enjoy writing it. I’m sure there were good things to say about how we did things in this op. I just didn’t experience any of it, except for 10 minutes over the 150 minutes we played.

At the end during debrief I was asked: "how could we have done it differently?", so here’s how I would’ve done it (granted, with hindsight).

  1. Take Minerva - mission makers don’t put in unique elements because they are useless. Trust in their judgement that they will come in handy.
    This would’ve left 6 extra people. We could’ve taken a DST and MMG team and filled the last person in PLT or attached him to Alpha (who as it turned out was apparently 9 people for most of the op). Now we have 4 elements who all have a specialised role which could’ve been utilised (though the amount of enemies this op was low, so MMG might’ve been a bit sad). Instead we had Bravo which sat around doing nothing most of the time.
  2. Use Minerva to scout the way ahead - we don’t always have to all follow in a convoy, especially when the terrain (desert) makes virtually makes no difference between road and off-road. Minerva can scout ahead of the convoy while platoon is planning the assault on the next objective, and if it’s safe, the convoy can dismount a lot closer to objectives.
  3. Dismount closer to objectives. 600-700m at most from objectives should be safe imo. If it’s not, then it’s because Zeus wants you to be surprised in a convoy in which case, lets see what we learned from convoy training!
  4. When vehicles have to be used again to mount up the platoon, use Minerva to ferry people from Alpha/Bravo to their vehicles OR have their gunners temporarily dismount and bring up the vehicles. Now you skip people having to walk back all the way.
  5. For Zeus: RP heavy missions can be fun for the people engaging in it, but in this op I only saw it once when some farmer told us there were no rebels in Mawa. I don’t have a clue where all the intel clues this op came from, because I never saw any.

Yeah, pretty much my experience too. No real gameplay until the last 20min which came about because Bravo Lead directly took us into close combat against orders after being held in reserve for the majority of the mission. Especially on the second objective/town we kept asking if we are allowed to support Alpha but kept being held on no-fire orders which was really strange from my perspective since Alpha was still in the woods a few hundred meters East of us thus there was no danger of friendly fire. CNTR - Carpe Noctem Tactical Recap

Just follow either Koffer or me on CNTR on 5x speed and you’ll see there was really nothing noteworthy going on for most of Bravo until the very end: CNTR - Carpe Noctem Tactical Recap The biggest engagement for Bravo at objective two was 10 of us steamrolling 4-5 enemies at a time (with some flank support from Alpha on top of that).

While I still think that PLT could have made a bit more liberal use of Bravo throughout the mission, in my view the main crux was that there were simply not enough enemies overall for our player numbers. It’s a very flat terrain with some woods but also lots of open areas, combined with somewhat sparse unarmoured enemy infantry we were able to simply brush aside most contacts as they happened.

I think it’s difficult to make a plan not knowing the strength of the enemy. We always plan for caution leaving vehicles several hundred meters from anything that could be hostile and then ferrying them back slowly and always worrying about running low on ammunition. Especially when we have little intel and also worrying about low ammo counts for particular weapons. Everyone who has been Platoon remembers times when a squad was wiped due to lack of a reserve of just being unlucky so we all tend to be very cautious. That’s why I am very forgiving of problems like the ones we had.

We can always be more aggressive in convoy and ride much closer to objectives but we will have to be more forgiving of leadership when that goes wrong.

Or at least soft dismount and move closer…

I actually enjoyed the op, though of course, I agree it was not as action-filled as some may have wanted it to be.

In the end, I believe this boiled down to the very thorough (not a bad thing) planning done by our PL in combination with receiving the intel to start planning only once we finished an objective. This combination meant that we had to wait 10+ minutes after each of the three objectives before we could even start organizing the move-out. Naturally getting the vehicles, resupplying and forming up took some more time as well.

Was a slow burn op, but I liked it. Also allowed me to keep an eye on our newbie a bit more and give pointers where it was useful, which I liked. Was fun to be in [user avatar=“” name=“Flo”]16433725[/user]'s squad again, which hasn’t happened in more than a year, with as high light his skills with wests and easts :P.

Also, about Minerva, we don’t just need to use them as drivers. We can also just use them as technical heavy support of of our own. There is a reason they are so widely used all over the planet. There were plenty of places where they could have been providing fire support from decent cover.

Additionally I would like to point out to leaders of elements to inform your men what you are doing, what the hold up is, when you are leaving outside of short range radio coms. I had to ask 3 times what was happening and the third time our lead wasn’t even in radio range and none knew where he went. Atleast hand over lead to the first fire team leader when you step away or even better, send someone else. As a lead you are responsible for your fire team and you have to make calls whether or not to engage targets for example. We only found out Churizo was gone after 5 to 10 minutes because I tried to reach him to ask why we were being forced to sit doing nothing for 20 minutes.
Try and keep your men informed especially when we plan mid mission on what we are doing.

We tend to leave even armed vics behind often and I like the idea of a dedicated light vehicle crew. I know why people leave vics behind especially light ones, because we are worried about them being taken out by one AT rocket. It’s all about give and take if people are willing to be a vehicle crew they should also be willing to act in an integrated way with the rest of the platoon and not drive off into the sunset. Also some people do not like being crew and shouldn’t be forced to do so. All of this can be dealt with by being understanding with each other. If you don’t like driving then tell people, and not at the end when it’s too late, but be willing to do it in an emergency if necessary.

Really good point. Try and get to the top of the stats on talk time giving your team feedback on what’s going on! I was often only aware of what was going on because lines started appearing on the map.

I hope you didn’t think I meant they would be driving off into the sunset, but just to be clear, they should be part of the formation, integrated like the other teams - almost like HMG.

Really enjoyed this mission. Despite bitching about ammo I do really like the SCAR so had a lot of fun with that and the loadout in general. I agree that using vehicles as more than a transport is a good idea but not sure about using them as a scout. Seems like a good way to get them blown up sending them off on their own (see the 1st part of Stalingrad Op, Tiger sent off on its own to get destroyed)

You run more risk, but you also get more out of it. I think it is also something we need to learn to use, both in a fire support and recon role.