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Old December 1st, 2008, 04:22 PM

Bahger Bahger is offline
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Default A few teething problems with AATF: Assistance much appreciated

I bought AATF this weekend after playing the demo. I'm looking forward to receiving the manual, as it may help with a couple of "issues" that are limiting my enjoyment of an otherwise terrific sim. Two caveats: This is my first experience with this series of games so I may be missing something obvious, and it's also possible that my tactics are deficient. Having said that...

In the Tutorial mission, the following things baffle me:

- The command to dismount infantry from Black Hawks does not always work. I have experimented with different locations, such as clearings, light woods vs. heavy, etc. but 50% of the time the command won't "take", even over the necesary passage of time, and the helicopters take damage from being stationary and exposed.

- Obviously one solution to the above is to attempt to dismount infantry further away from suspected enemy positions but this seems to cancel out the tactical purpose of helicopter airborne ops which, to my understanding, involve close insertion.

- I have tried to use indirect smoke missions to make these problematic insertions easier but do not know from the arty menu acronyms which, if any, of the munitions options are smoke.

- The helos seem unwilling to fly over certin types of terrain such as thick forest. I have tried to insert infantry for a "back door" assault, again assuming this kind of mobility to be tactically appropriate. I have so far been unable to maneuver a helo unit into position.

As you can gather, I have a lot to learn. And I really like the sim, especially the tac-AI. However, I'm a little aggravated by the above issues because I'm caught between a rock and a hard place: close insertion is too inconsistent and time-consuming for the airborne platforms to survive and a more distant insertion inhibits coordination and seems tactically inappropriate. And I don't know why the dismount command appears to work in some circumstances and not in others.

I'd really appreciate being set straight here as this game has great potential for me as long as I can overcome the initial frustration. Many thanks.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Patrick Proctor Patrick Proctor is offline
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Default Re: A few teething problems with AATF: Assistance much appreciated

Thanks for you purchase. I hope I can help.

The bottom line up front is that the game is going to behave like the real world. If units don't do something in real life, it is probably because it will get them killed. If something will get you killed in real life, it will get you killed in AATF. Now to some specifics.

Quote:
- The command to dismount infantry from Black Hawks does not always work. I have experimented with different locations, such as clearings, light woods vs. heavy, etc. but 50% of the time the command won't "take", even over the necesary passage of time, and the helicopters take damage from being stationary and exposed.
There are a number of possiblities here. For starters, the rules are, in order for a single aircraft to dismount its passengers, it must:
  • ...be stationary
  • ...not be suppressed
  • ...be in a location with no special terrain of a height above zero (like trees or elephant grass)
  • ...not be over water

NOTE: Helicopters with fastrope capability (like those in the Mogadishu scenarios) CAN dismount over buildings, etc.

If you are playing the game with only platoon or vehicle icons showing (not individual aircraft/vehicles/teams) it can be a little hard to tell if all of these conditions are met. For instance, depending on the formation, the platoon icon can be over open ground while the individual aircraft are over trees. Also, sometimes, the platoon icon will appear stationary while aircraft are shuffling about to regain or maintain a formation.

Try either turning on the "show vehicles" option and positioning the aircraft manually, or putting the platoon in the "none" formation before dismounting in smaller clearings. This will fix this problem.

This WON'T help if the aircraft are being suppressed, which leads to your next comment...

Quote:
- Obviously one solution to the above is to attempt to dismount infantry further away from suspected enemy positions but this seems to cancel out the tactical purpose of helicopter airborne ops which, to my understanding, involve close insertion.
Contrary to what you see in old Vietnam movies, aircraft will NEVER insert in a "hot LZ." While infantrymen are expendable aircraft and the men who fly them are ridiculously expensive. If an LZ is "hot" a unit will usually do one of the following:
  • Switch to another LZ
  • Use fire support from artillery, attack aviation, or fixed wing aircraft to clear the enemy
  • Abort the mission
  • If the LZ is very large, try to find a place to insert out of enemy weapon range or line of site

This can sometimes lead to alot of walking for infantrymen, but that is what they do. Better walk up and and surprise the enemy from the rear than land in the middle of his kill zone.

From a game play persepective, you can always speed up the clock to blow through the walk to the objective from a distant LZ.

Quote:
- I have tried to use indirect smoke missions to make these problematic insertions easier but do not know from the arty menu acronyms which, if any, of the munitions options are smoke.
The arty smoke is listed as "Smoke" in the munition type. If it is not listed, then that weapon system does not carry that munition.

Quote:
- The helos seem unwilling to fly over certin types of terrain such as thick forest. I have tried to insert infantry for a "back door" assault, again assuming this kind of mobility to be tactically appropriate. I have so far been unable to maneuver a helo unit into position.
I am not sure what you are observing here. Helos should be able to fly over any type of terrain. I would need to know exactly the steps you are using to plan the path. Is it for an individual aircraft, a company, or a platoon. Are you using a mission to plan the path or are you planning it manually? Is the unit in formation when you plan the path?

I hope some of this helps.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 02:48 PM

Bahger Bahger is offline
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Default Re: A few teething problems with AATF: Assistance much appreciated

This is very helpful indeed, Patrick. I put a lot of time into high-fidelity battlefield sims that seem worthy of the investment, and this one certainly does. It is extremely useful to know that the sim models terrain, suppression and other factors affecting dismount operations so rigorously and that aircraft can be managed individually. I'm also happy to learn that close insertion is not SOP. Finally, I'm sure my problems with getting aircraft into a rear LZ relate to your point about suppression; is there any graphic indication of suppression versus the red line that I assume indicates direct fire? Please bear with me, my manual has not arrived yet but I was eager to get going.

Again, thank you for a most welcome and helpful response.

PS: Why is it that the demo displays individual infantry units where the game appears to present a single infantry icon in the tutorial mission? I do not intend to micromanage infantry but I wonder if there is an option to view individual units such as MGs, mortars, etc.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: A few teething problems with AATF: Assistance much appreciated

Quote:
Is there any graphic indication of suppression versus the red line that I assume indicates direct fire? Please bear with me, my manual has not arrived yet but I was eager to get going.
To see the status of an individual vehicle/aircraft, either turn on "show vehicles" and click on the vehicle/aircraft you want to know about or click on the platoon that contains the vehicle/aircraft and then click on the icon representing the vehicle/aircraft in the list of subordinate units that appears at the top right of the screen. The unit, with its status, will be listed at the top right of the screen. If the unit is suppressed, an "S" with a bar indicating the level of suppression will be shown. When vehicles are shown on the map, an S will appear over any vehicle/aircraft/team that is suppressed.

Quote:
PS: Why is it that the demo displays individual infantry units where the game appears to present a single infantry icon in the tutorial mission? I do not intend to micromanage infantry but I wonder if there is an option to view individual units such as MGs, mortars, etc.
The smallest level at which dismounts are shown is "teams" (around 2-5 men). To see them depicted graphically as teams (rather than as NATO-standard icons) select "show vehicles" and then, from the view options (button available when no units are selected), select "pictures" rather than "NATO icons" under "icons." This screenshot shows the menu I am talking about:

http://www.shrapnelgames.com/ProSIM/...s/screen_5.jpg

I am glad you are enjoying the game. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
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