Because of the feedback I decided to scarvange from the orginial and overworked it to make it more compact and readable and focus on the things that are not already well expained in other basic manual. Because of requests I also put it in steam but in my humble opinion manuals dont look good in steam. Its a bit rushed but I tried. I intend to keep working on this manual so feel free to give me feedback again. To the guide -> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oUL23zAzYhTBnqmgqfIHTWGp0hLKbcFzH4dktPvYAf4/edit?usp=sharing
For a great basics introduction check out this guide from dyslexi:
The combat environment
Everyone is an insane, elite soldier.
1. …can push his limits without mental effect on him
2. …has no fear to die
3. …exploits the lacks and ease of the simulated environment
4. …has no moral issues
-> Everyone is an incomparable higher threat than in reality.
->Maximizing every aspects of your capability is your only chance to prevail
You can’t always win but you can always strive for the best possible outcome
Move, shoot, survive & sustain
Move, shoot, survive & sustain are the base of a unit’s combat capability. Every arm has specific strengths and weaknesses regarding these points.
Infantry can move through much more confined and difficult to move terrain then any other arm but are in general lower and on foot very sensitive to their carried weight in their combat performance.
They can apply very surgical fire and hide better than any other arm but are comparable limited in their weapon capability by their impact on their mobility.
Infantry is comparable very weak against the forces and strains of combat and the environment.
Use of infantry
Because of that Infantry is primarily used in support of other arms and for surgical operations but in confined and difficult to move environments (woods, urban,…) become the main bearer of combat with all other arms in their support.
“Mobility gives you the ability to quickly get where you want and flinch away from situations you don’t want. It allows you to quickly collect where force is needed and disperse where you need to thin out. Superior mobility allows you to break contact or forcefully keep it. It allows you to catch up, envelop or encircle. It gives you room for initiative, eases surprise and supports your momentum. Maximizing your moving capability is therefore key”
The higher you are and the lower your weapon the less exhausting it is.
Steady and uniform movement within the unit also minimizes exhaustion.
A unit is on average only so fast as its slowest entity.
Faster entities can carry more load or fulfill more exhausting tasks (e.g. scouting).
-> To increase a units speed…
…the slowest entity should move steady, upright, focus only on moving and everyone should align with him.
…load of the slowest should be redistributed or dropped (can also be just temporarily)
Infantry dilemma of movement
Protection, observation and shooting performance and responsiveness are severely minimized when moving especially for infantry.
Also the optimal deployment of forces for movement don’t line up with the optimal deployment of forces for combat.
-> Security efforts, Observation/Listening halts, Level of deployment and alternate mutual covering from static positions have to be used to balance the risk of moving against movement speed.
Navigation is an essential skill to finding your way on the battlefield
1 Working with the map
Note that even in Arma the map is not perfect. Some small deviations can occur or objects can be missing. This is rare though, making the map an extremely powerful tool compared to its real part.
The ACE Map Tool is a useful tool that will help you work with the map.
Use this great Arma 3 + ACE Tutorial:
Thanks to the 1st Air Assault for making this video.
2 Finding where you are
If you have a GPS you read off your grid square and look it up on the map. Without GPS follow the following explanation:
2.1 Close in Area
Assess roughly where you can possibly be. Seldom the whole map is an option.
It starts with your knowledge of where you were previously and assesses how far you could have possibly moved.
It continues with obvious features in your vicinity. Bodies of water, collection of buildings, big mountains,…
2.2 Identify Points in the surrounding
Now look out for distinct features in your vicinity that let you determine in which of the possible areas you are exactly.
Look for special buildings, distinct terrain features,etc.
2.2 Asses relative position
Having found out around which distinct features you are, you can now pinpoint your location with your compass.
By determining your relative angle to two or more features you can now crosspoint your location
Angle – Distance
By determining your relative angle and distance to one feature you can pinpoint your relative position. This is much more error sensitive and therefore often not so exact but doesn’t need multiple features.
3 Assessing where you move
Knowing your start point, your direction of movement (ideally compass bearing) and your velocity the time passed let you know your current location.
Steps in Arma are also uniform so instead of stopping time you can count steps.
100m: 163 Steps; 1:08 min
100m: 76 Steps; 0:36 min
100m: 101 Steps; 0:30 min
Jog – no weapon in hand
100m: 64 Steps; 0:25 min
100m: 64 Steps; 0:21 min
4 Setting the course
When moving around the field it would be a waste of time to always pinpoint your location. You will also have to cross country where determining your position is difficult. Just running a free-chosen path can easily become extraordinarily difficult.To effectively navigate we make a movement plan.
We decide for intermediate objectives points so called checkpoints. They are chosen around easy to recognize positions and around features which allow you to pinpoint your position. Like this they allow you to quickly see if you reached a turning point in your path where you change your course and correct your movement should you have fallen off track on your way and did not reach the checkpoint spot on.
To reach your next checkpoint you shoot an azimuth with your compass and follow it. If you have the luxury to move in sight of dominant features along your path you don’t have to follow a straight line and are basically free to move on your way to the next checkpoint allowing you to most effectively exploit available cover and concealment. Features like that are e.g. rivers, which you can follow, or towers, which you can easily keep in sight.
To prevent missing out checkpoints keep track of your traveled distance and be aware of no-go limits that tell you you overshot.
5 Choosing your way on the battlefield
There is no recipe for working out the perfect moment plan. But following considerations have to flow minimally into an effective route plan:
Missings & Deviations
What is incorrect and missing on my map?
What additional information do I have over the terrain?
What is likely and how will it influence my plan?
Speed & Obstacles
Where can I move how fast?
Where could I encounter obstacles and how could I overcome or bypass them?
Available cover and concealment
Where can I move as concealt as possible?
Where can I fight and move when contact happens?
Where do I have to cross terrain that leaves me dangerously exposed?
How can I migrate the risk?
Enemy observation points and routes
Where could the enemy have good points and routes for observation posts and patrols?
How could I confirm or reject enemy presents there?
How and when could I move past them?
Enemy movement control efforts
Which planes of movement could the enemy control?
How could I confirm or reject enemy presents there?
How and when could I eject/move around them?
The result is a movement plan consisting of checkpoints, dominant features, pace counts and no-go limits and has a deployment plan for the forces including formations and movement techniques.
It further supplements this with plans for temporary halts (listening halts, rest holds,…), rally points for and bug out plans for lost personal and alternative plans for likely occurrences.
It further has a combat plan for every point and time on the movement for how to get into a fight under the best circumstances, how to disengage and deal with pursuit and a plan for fire support.
It further takes other friedly units into consideration to prevent friendly fire, increase mutual support and coordinates the synchronisation of movement and actions.
“Your fire is your main reason why you can take effect on the battlefield. It might achieve the actual tasks or just gives you security for it and it forces the enemy to react to you if he wants to prevail.”
“How your fire matches-up to your threats determines who can overwhelm who in which situation and therefore who can occupy the enemy and free his own hands or get rid of the other in the first place. Maximizing your shooting capability is therefore key”
Effects of fire
The ability to cause injuries and damage to combat assets, which can lead to their death/destruction, is the fundamental effect of fire.
What damage you exhibit depends on 4 components:
Chance of fire
If fire hits is practically always a chance. So if one of the four components gets close to zero or you just have bad luck your damage also goes to zero.
Because of this chance factor the fire effect you exhibit on the enemy is not necessarily what you are on average capable of.
Disadvantage of fire
Additionally, sending bullets also has the side effect of producing smoke, a muzzle-flash, a loud bang, a supersonic crack, sends brass flying and absorbs the firer focus.
Suppression results from the enemy’s conviction that you could damage him and his will and ability to prevent that at the cost of his efficiency to perform tasks. It’s practically a reaction to incoming fire.
So if he’s not…
1. convinced (e.g. fluctuations of your fire by chance)
2. willing to prevent (e.g. wants to take his chances)
2. able to prevent (e.g. has no cover he could hide in)
4. negatively affected in his performance (e.g. scared but not hindered)
then he has no reason to be suppressed.
As infantry to take effective effect by fire (shooting) you almost always have to significantly expose yourself to the target. So when suppressed the target also surrenders his firing position and observation capabilities. Therefore getting suppressed means trading own firing effectiveness and situational awareness for less exposure. They behave similar to temporary casualties.
True suppression happens when this protection gain is used to evade devastating fire effects. (Because the target could return fire anytime, devastating fire effects have to happen in a smaller time window as the target would be able to return effective fire.)
Human suppression happens when it’s used to evade even weaker fire. It happens by misjudgement, ignoration, missing willingness and/or out of human nature (fear, etc.). Therefore it highly depends on how the target perceives the situation.
Deceptive suppression hopes to ease the received attention by responslessness. By breaking the line of sight making him wonder if the enemy is still there encouraging him to save ammunition and spread his attention elsewhere.
To tactically exploit suppression it has to be reliable. This is only possible with true suppression as it will result in significant damage before the target can effectively return the favor should he try.
To do so we have to bring damage quicker on the man. Because entities experience penalties (like shaking, jerking the weapon,..) when hit the first hit gets significant meaning and situational is the decisive factor.
To minimize our time to hit and maximize his we are optimally ready to fire, have his peak point is sight, are in cover, are concealt and undetected and he’s not. We can also pre-fire, winning time and instill fear, but it keeps you firing. Its effectiveness can be further supplemented by suppression mods (normally blurring the vision when enough bullets fly by close).
Firepower is the merge of volume of fire and hitchance per shot. It’s a core component of your damaging capability. Because of the directional properties of fire this means it’s direction sensitive.
Volume of fire
Volume of fire is the amount of fire that can be brought to bear on a target area in a given time.
The continuity of fire volume is also an important factor as technical and practical limitations (weapon cycle speed, aiming, reloading, barrel heat,..) limit it forming exploitable gaps for the enemy.
Also the responsiveness of fire is a critical value giving the time to engage new detected targets.
Hitchance is the probability of a shot to hit a target.
Hitchance the merge of accuracy and precision.
Precision is determined by how tight the cone of fire is (see Cone of Fire).
Accuracy is determined by how accurate the cone of fire is on target.
Each round fired from a gun travels a different path. Vibration, tolerances of the ammunition and weapon,and shooter positions all play a role in these differences. The pattern of these rounds is called the cone of fire. (from FM3-21-8)
As this cone passes a certain (target) plane it spreads around a certain area (see picture above).
Impact of precision
Since the fire on the target plane represents an area this means the effort to tighten the cone of fire goes in squared on the hitchance.
Targets can be hard to pinpoint in which case precision is worthless if it can’t be applied with sufficient accuracy. Precision can be artificially decreased by spreading the fire, commonly called area fire. While it should be kept to a minimum it allows you to bring fire on target even if not pinpointed. This fire is also easier and faster to apply making it more responsive. Because of the squared impact of on hit chance expect a drastic decrease in effectiveness though.
To let your fire affect your target you first need to get it on target. Without sufficient accuracy precision is worthless.
Maximizing accuracy is a process.
First the target has to be found.
Then fire gets pre-adjusted for expectable influences
In the end fire gets observed and appropriately corrected.
Expectable influences primarily range to the target and movement of it.
Normally secondary is the wind but gains significance over range and increasing wind speed.
Ranging means to quantify expectable influences and adjust the weapon (fire) corresponding before actually firing for effect. After ranging, the fire can be immediately put closer to the target which fastens the final targeting process.
Methods of ranging
By careful firing, observing and adjusting before firing for effect to register fire preliminary on target. Sometimes the applied fire on target is hard to observe. Then it is then better to range the fire on better observable terrain/objects with similar outlining parameters (height, range,…).
Inconspicuous preliminary ranging by estimating the distance and trajectory influences. Most important methods for estimating distance:
Observing objects of know dimension
When you know the actual height of a target you can calculate the range by the observed height. This is commonly used through lenses with etched on length meters in scopes or binoculars.This is what happens mostly in your brain when you guess a distance.
With a map
If you know your position and the targets you can measure out the distance (also see Navigation).Be aware that measurements with the map does not include range through difference in height
If you know the position of two units on the map you can crosspoint the enemy location and measure out the distance (also see Navigation).
Laser rangefinders can quickly identify the true range, elevation and even the coordinates with the press of a button (depending on the model). Atmospheric measurement devices can measure air pressure, temperature and wind.
Flash – Bang Method
When observing enemy fire the time between the observation of a shot and the arrival of the gunshot sound can be measured in seconds. Every second equals about a third of a kilometer distance to the source. This is obviously very imprecise.
Final targeting process
The final targeting process means to observe the trajectory of the projectiles and the position of the target and being able to correct the fire appropriately, without this the final corrections cant take place and accuracy will generally be poor.
For small arms fire the trajectory is often observed by the bullet impacts in the hitzone.
Concealment, bad light, high ranges, a hard to observe hitzone, moving targets, low fire volumes can make this very difficult, costing time. Preliminary registration, tracers, additional light, smoke (to skyline), obstacles and increasing volumes of fire can help here.
Because moving targets will have moved when the bullet hits you have to aim where the target will be when the bullet finally arrives there. In this regard for infantry often only lateral movement is relevant. Soldiers have to estimate this lead through experience.
Your lead will likely not be spot on. It is therefore important that you spread your fire around your guess so you will also hit in the area of the actual lead. This need to spread is also a reason why moving targets are harder to hit.
In Arma you don’t have to accelerate your body. You can stop and start running almost in an instance and change direction of movement almost immediately. Because of that, especially on higher ranges, it is possible to dodge fire by sudden change in movement making hitting a moving target even harder. This is also why you wiggle to avoid headshots.
Your only chance to counter this is to lay a barrage of fire on a spot you guess he has to pass or you guess where he will dodge by chance or spot patterns in it.
Balance of volume and aiming
To achieve maximum firepower the right balance between hitchance and volume of fire has to be found. Since range and aiming effort go in squared this balance lays on the side of accuracy and precision and quickly becomes dominant on increasing range. This is why careful aiming is important and becomes vital on increasing range to achieve maximum effect.
The accuracy of full automatic fire can be increased by giving it off in solid bursts where maximum control can be achieved. Too short burst wastes round on the initial gain of control over the fire, too long bursts let you lose control again.
At one point the high but fixed volume of fire of automatic fire isn’t worth it anymore and single fire, adjustable and more accurate, generates more firepower on range.
Comparing fire volume heavy vs hitchance heavy weapons
While the same firepower can be achieved by a high volume of fire as by a high accuracy and precision they don’t behave the same. While volume of fire eases accuracy efforts and is more responsive, accuracy and precision allow for more reliable fire effect application and over range will surpass the other weapon system in effectiveness at one point.
Reservation of fire
Knowing when and how to preserve fire helps increase effectiveness and successfully accomplishes tasks It also increases weapon safety, preventing accidents.
Rule of thumb: “Fire should be as scare as possible and as frequent as needed”
Withholding fire aims to withhold the information given to the enemy by fire which can make it harder to find or confirm your location and/or builds down attention. Firing also requires you to focus your attention on it, leading to lower situational awareness and tunnel vision and needs you to hold still, bugging you down and making you an easier target.
Having your weapon under control and preventing negligent discharges also serves to increase the safety of your buddies.
Your supply of ammo in ArmA is almost always limited, often to the amount you can carry yourself in the field. Limiting your fire allows you to fight longer and probably achieve more tasks, increasing your momentum, and withhold reserves for times of need.
From the other side, limiting your fire allows you to decrease the amount of ammunition needed to achieve certain tasks allowing you to save weight, increasing your speed.
Limiting your fire to certain times where it is of higher effectiveness allows you to find the best balance between effect taken and economic efforts.
Accidental firing safety measurements
To help against negligent discharges of the weapon some safety measurements have profen themself:
Trigger finger off LMB:
You can’t discharge your weapon while lowered in Arma. To raise your weapon from a lowered position you need at least a slightly longer LMB click.
ACE3 allows you to put on a weapon safety (check keykinding) and take it off with the weapon mode switch (semi/auto/etc.).
It takes training though to habitually take the safety off when the weapon is suddenly needed.
Unloaded and/or Holstered weapon:
With ACE3 you can put your weapon on safe and with “0” holster your weapon.
Another often used method for long term safety is to unload your weapon. Do this by drag and drop your magazine from your weapon into your inventory.
The most neglectant discharges happen when tabbing in and out of the game. One additional trick against that is to open a menu before tabbing out.
Sector of fire
The possible lines of fire from a given position are often limited by terrain, objects, weapon capabilities, especially their range, etc. This creates limited sectors of fire also called fields of fire on which fire actually can be put down effectively. Sectors of fire can also be narrowed by order. This allowed sector of fire can be aimed at a critical point(s) or prevent friendly fire. For small units the sector of fire and sector of observation is most often identical.
Dead spaces are parts of a sector of fire which can not be observed and seldom effectively engaged.
Dead space can also be vertical so that lower/higher targets can’t be observed and seldom effectively engaged.
Areas with high object density (e.g. woods, build up areas,…) shatter the sector of fire with a lot of dead space. This creates avenues of approach for individual soldiers.
Interlocking sectors allows to form long gapless sectors where targets can’t slip through without possibly receiving fire. Where they interlock is the shortes way of passage which is determined by the amount of interlocking of the sectors.
Overlapping sectors create areas where multiple positions can engage the same target at once. The closer the angle to a perpendicular one the greater the crossfire factor is. These kill zones can be overwatched and engaged more effectively with good cross-fire. But good cover will also allow to filter cross-fire.
“Being and staying alive is the base to accomplish your tasks. Even if you fail to accomplish your task you will be ready for another try. Being able to draw out your existence on the battlefield gives your force the ability to develop a situation, take action and maneuver despite resistance. If you can live longer than your enemy you won the battle. Maximizing your survival capability is therefore key”
Notice without being noticed
Noticing the enemy first can give you the element of surprise but at least gives you time to react to the enemy before he can react to you. Maximizing tactical speed and the chance for surprise greatly enhances your combat effectiveness while maximizing your chances for survival.
The first part of noticing the enemy first is not being noticed yourself. The three parts of concealment are hiding, blending and deceiving (disguise, decoys & dummies).
The most reliable way to not be seen is staying out of sight. If you can’t see him, he probably can’t see you. Use the terrain and cover & concealment to completely mask you. Use your information about the enemy to exploit enemy dead spaces. (e.g. keep a tree between you and the enemy). One saying is: The longest way around is often the shortes way there.
Concealment can also be artificially created using smoke. While especially throwable smoke betrays your presents in the vicinity and can disclose your intentions it allows you to mask your exact location. Human tendency is to closely overwatch the buildup of the smoke screen, then to open a barrage of fire on it and finally ceasing it. This is the time to finally get out of cover and move behind a smoke screen.
This is the only reliable way to prevent spotting by AI.
Often you can’t always stay out of view of the enemy. In these times it becomes important how effective you can melt with the background (which is very hard in Arma).
Also the battlefield is 3D so keep in mind low and high ground and air observation.
There are certain aspects that allows to distinguish you from the background signature:
To recognize shapes distinct jumps in brightness and/or color have to form contours. If you can’t make out a contour, a shape blends in the surrounding and vanishes. But practically it is often enough if you and your stuff blends in with the naturally occurring shapes. The goal is to break up all shapes representing a living being or a man-made object (most notably is the distinct head – shoulder shape).
It’s often impossible to blend with the background from all possible view angles which forces you to set priorities (practically according to your enemy expectations). It’s therefore important to regularly check your background from your expected enemy angle of view.
The easiest way to make your shape clear though is through quick perpendicular movement relative from the observer which is an evolutionary eye-catcher and makes your contours immediately visible. When moving in sight of a (possible) enemy try limiting your horizontal movement to a minimum and keep horizontal movement behind concealment.
The movement in Arma doesn’t need any acceleration which makes movement very sharp and betrying for you. When stationary use the free look option (hold ALT while turning around) to look around without moving your whole body.
Shadows can telegraph your position even over corners.
Any unnatural light source can betray your presents. In Arma the main ways to do that are over your muzzle flash, your map reading light and your vehicle lights.
Sound betrays your presents even without a line of sight but by its loudness is limited in range. To recognize sound from you it not only has to be different from environmental sounds but also loud enough. In Arma sound doesn’t get realistically reflected or something so it always comes from the true direction and is only altered in loudness.
Be as silent as possible and try to mask sound with louder artificial sounds (artillery, suppressive fire).
Every object emits infrared light because of their temperature. To melt with the environment you have to emit a signature roughly equal to your surrounding. In Arma there is only one suit and helmet that can do that: The viper suit and helmet.
Notice that in Arma grass doesn’t get rendered after a certain distance and greenwork changes the amount of details after certain ranges.
Limit firing to a minimum. If you hide after a couple of shots it can be very hard to find you. If you only take one or sometimes two shots people have a tendency to ignore it especially if they didn’t hear the source (as long as it didn’t significantly wound them).
1.2.2 Traces & Tracks
Littering of items can betray your past presents. Especially used medicals simply get automatically discarded and are easy to spot with their brite withe and red colors. Also bleeding leaves a path of blood splatters.
Even when you are spotted, as long as you can disguise yourself as a non-lucrative target or not like a target at all you can avoid the enemy engaging you. Common ways for that in Arma are hiding the weaponry in the back pack (to make your weapon capabilities unclear) or by disguising as civilians or other forces by wearing their clothes, carrying and using their weapons and/or driving their vehicles.
Decoys work the other way by giving the enemy a target he falsely identifies as lucrative or at least dangerous. Common ways in Arma are the use and positioning of impractical vehicles (which are not or minimally manned and/or run out of ammunition and/or gas).
Dummies give indications about the present of forces where there are none. Common ways in Arma are trenches and real or fake mines and explosives.
The second part to seeing the enemy first is to keep situational awareness high. Don’t fear the man you can see. Fear the one you can’t see.
The most important input you get are your sight and hearing.
Attention is a limited resource. Per man only so much is available and can be spent on duties. Focused attention is also very exhausting requiring reliefs or breaks.
Good spotting is very attention intensive. Generally said the smaller the angle watched the better the spotting chances. Broder angles must not be swept. It blurs the sight. You check a fixed angle, moving only your eyes and then jump to the next angle.
Movement is especially disadvantageous for sight and hearing. Try to stand still when collecting information and try to stand still often.
It is everyone’s duty to keep his situational awareness as high as possible by keeping his eyes and ears open,memorizing and communicating to keep building and updating his and others’ picture of the current situation.
The most common cause for limited visibility will be blockage by foliage and light sources blinding you. The next are the night and mist/fog.
In Arma grass can be temporarily pushed down by crawling over it and light sources can often be picked up or shot out. Else continous small lateral adjustment can often significantly improve your picture through close foliage.
Creating artificial horizons helps make out the silhouette of targets. Do this by looking from an angle that will cause targets to silhouette against a striking background for example by getting a bright white wall behind your target area or by getting low and grazing with your look against the horizont to maximize enemy skylining.
Pinpointing the enemy
Often the enemy is not directly spotted but betrayed his position by firing. The first shots often just allow you to determine a rough direction and range of the enemy. You use this to guide your attention there and begin scanning with the most likely enemy locations (e.g. good cover). Every further shot will allow you to narrow down on his location.
Together with a map a minimum of two entities, which know their location, can even triangulate the location of the sound source .
Maximizing effectiveness of observation
There are some significant common points of improvement:
Often soldiers’ attention gets overloaded with duties. They are supposed to follow in formation, make regular eye contact to their buddies, keep track of their position on the map, answer questions, maybe make small talk and then also check their angles with all their focus they got left. That’s inappropriate.
Effective management and setting of priorities will maximize the attention on spotting and will so increase success chances. This can be done by decreasing the burden on their attention and their eyes.
Often not exploited is the ability in ArmA to move without having to care about the ground or what you hit, making you able to get totally absorbed in watching an angle on the move. But to profit from that change of movement direction and speed have to be communicated over audio.
Humans have natural tendency specific errors. People tend to:
focus in the direction of enemy intel (e.g. sounds,…)
People get nervous when they know about an enemy but can’t see them and/or are not meant to face them.
focus on easy observable and long range angles
People tend to focus on easy observable ground and long ranges. It seems it gives them the feeling they have a higher chance to spot the enemy if they observe more area even though an enemy suddenly appearing at close range is way more important to spot quickly.
don’t recognize or forget about their dead space
When you want to spot the enemy as early as possible you want to keep dead space out of the way (see Dead space). The closer to your position the more critical. The classic that gets often forgotten is vertical dead space e.g. on a hilltop position (see Dead space). Close enough it allows the enemy to assault you unseen. Leftover dead space can sometimes be diminished by moving around a bit to change the angle or by multiple positions which observe around an obstruction from two different angles.
not watch at all
Simple players get bored easily. If their job becomes to pull security in a frozen position they tend to do other things instead (e.g. browse, grab a snack,..) especially if they feel safe.
Teamwork is the art of not standing on each other’s feet while giving mutual benefit. The goal is to get stronger than the sum of each individual strength.
Friendly bodies not only block your field of view but also hold the risk of hitting them. Vise versa there is always the threat of getting hurt by your buddies or simply standing on their feet. This is the big disadvantage of working together, which risk of occurrence and exploitation has to be migrated to a minimum to make working closely together an advantage.
You do this by:
Identificate your target
Watch your fire
Hold fire close to friendlies and try to not mask friendlies fire
There are two different kinds of formations. Movement and combat formations.
This is because it’s easier to follow than to move beside someone but it is easier to fight together side by side than behind each other. These can even be mixed in higher echelons to get a wider variety.
These formations in modern combat are not very rigid anymore. Form and length are elastic to the extent they preserve the original formations properties (e.g. not masking anyones fire). This allows the soldiers to take care about their protection and effectiveness as best as possible. The looser the formation the more space they have to pick from.
Freedom of movement of the individual soldiers often goes so far that they can detach from the formation on their own discretion. This is used to avoid unnecessary exposure (e.g. open terrain in their lane), aid a buddy or other reason justifying the hole they leave. In the end formations dont have the same value as cover and concealment.
As a target for the enemy you also need to protect your buddies from you because the enemy has an easier time concentrating fire on you, engaging you successively or with area fire if you are closer together. Spacing also influences how much area in the vicinity of a soldier is available increasing the chance for higher value cover being available for both of you. At the same time you want to be as close as possible to him to be able to support him and communicate with him most effectively, requiring you to always try to strike the right balance in spacing (also see Sectors of fire).
In Arma the amount of spacing is generally given by the biggest threat that can be reasonably expected to be faced which are commonly launchable explosives but should not exceed communication range.
A force organisation has proven itself where small teams in verbal communication range work together with teams in visual communication range which form bigger teams working together in visual range, with radio communication, with other bigger teams.
These smallest units’ composition should be determined by their ability to absorb and care for their casualties while keep being effective and providing security while being as small as possible to form as many teams as possible, giving tactical fluidity. Practically limiting considerations are also vehicle space, leaders available and weapon availability.
Supporting each other
Security & Recon
Early information about the enemy is key to achieve the best possible outcome. Cohesively pulling security gives you the necessary situational awareness.
As a team you have the comfort to share this task with each other. Every unit (every company, every platoon,..) contributes. Some people can keep watch for other people doing something different (but no one runs around with his eyes closed). If they can deal with a sudden threat themself and/or can get support from the rest of the team in time no disadvantage is noticeable but getting surprised was prevented and freedom of action for the unit was achieved. And in case they get overwhelmed elements are kept as small as possible to limit the loss. This is the essence of security & recon.
Mutual support is the core of working together. Together you are stronger than your just sum of your individuals. If you neglect the mutual support of your forces you just piecemeal them.
Most important support in combat is support by fire between all arms. Good coordination and communication maximized its effectiveness.
Because infantry firepower and observation is quite limited on the move, effective support by fire requires these arms to stop and set up to be able to effectively cover another force which then can keep moving under support. Providing support by fire like that is commonly called overwatch.
Overwatch has the advantage of providing a prepared and set up team for observation and fire, increasing their responsiveness and effectiveness, but has the disadvantage that, if overhead fire isn’t possible, the team to cover masks a significant angle to them and with increased distance the chance of getting piecemealed by a geometrical disadvantage increases (filtering cross-fire).
Teams can now alternate between providing overwatch and moving allowing them to move forward more safely on cost of overall movement time. This is called Bounding.
Cover provides protection against fire, minimizing your exposure.
Sometimes cover from observation is also included when speaking about cover but generally the additional term concealment is used for this. Concealment doesn’t diminish exposure to enemy fire but makes it harder or impossible for the enemy to observe you.
One man’s cover is another man’s obstruction.
One man’s defilate is another man’s dead space.
Types of cover
Cover can be categorized into various types. The most important class are the types differentiated by direction (relative to the plane):
Cover where you can expose yourself over the top.
Here you are still open to all angles but less exposed. Its pure cover. (also see open position). Its advantage is its availability of a weapon rest for a bipod for all angles.
Cover where you can expose yourself to the side (Corner).
Working around a corner allows you to control your exposure to a certain angle. Another word used is barricade for this type of cover. A Corner only works as a weapon rest and only if very close to the corner.
Cover where you can expose between two verticals (Keyhole).
It allows you to pick a small angle of exposure and shift it around by working around the keyhole.
Cover which provides protection from above.
Deep cover: The piece of cover is farther away. Because of the distance it’s also harder to work around it but deep positions increase protection by limiting dead angles (see Geometry), limiting partially covered sectors, narrow keyholes, allow mightier pieces of cover (e.g. a whole building) and make engaging you with penetrators and explosives harder.
Open/Enclosed positions: Enclosed positions are positions which cover not only the front but also the flanks and probably the top and behind. The opposite is the open position. Enclosed positions provide excellent protection against unexpected, cross and indirect fire and hinder the enemy in assaulting your position. On the other hand they limit your situation awareness, are quite noticeable and also hinder your movement.
Back-free positions: Position without obstruction in the back. This removes impact detonated direct fired explosives the most effective area of attack and hardens enemy round impact observation efforts which hinders his final targeting process. It also allows you to use recoilless weapon systems.
The closer you are to the cover the faster you can work around it but the closer you are to a corner the more dead exposer you have.
Arma rounds come from the muzzle requiring you to compensate for the bore offset especially on closer ranges.
Be aware of your weapon length to not telegraph your position by producing your muzzle out of your cover. When not leaning on the corners of your cover always keep a muzzle length distance to it.
When using cover additionally a side step/lay can be done (with “ CTRL + A/D”) which has only one hight per main stance. Its main advantage over the lean is that it doesn’t slow down movement speed and doesn’t tilt the bore-offset and allows for a quick sideway movement when lying. Combined with a lean it allows for very low exposure over corners.
Because all persons in Arma are right hand shooters you will significantly expose more on left corners than on right. It is therefore very important to make a left sidestep when peaking left corners because it will switch your used shoulder for the weapon and significantly improve your protection.
Vertical cover allows you to control your angle of exposure. It grants you saver observation by limiting your exposure to what you currently observe. Also crossfire can be filtered like that and allows to separate multiple targets. Because of this it is much more worth than horizontal cover.
Keyhole positions are often practically horizontal cover with vertical cover somewhere on the side (e.g. window,…). To make it a keyhole position you have to go far enough back to create a practical narrow exposure angle.
Be aware that the best cover, especially when there is not much good cover, is very expectable.
When no cover is available you can only limit your target area by lying on the ground. This is not only minimally effective but in Arma it can easily become counterproductive when your sight is blocked by grass which doesn’t get rendered for the enemy. It also doesn’t allow you to move quickly and therefore react fast. Therefore it should be avoided and only used when you have to be every flat.
Dead exposure and peaking
To keep dead exposure as low as possible you should stay from your cover as far away as possible. Using corners as weapon rests and keeping dead exposure low is therefore problematic.
The resulting peaking strategies are therefore dependent on the ratio of you and your enemies distance to the corner. If the ratio is high to your disadvantage you need to peak the corner relative fast to not give the enemy extra time to react. The other way around you want to peak very carefully and slow to hit the small angle where you can see parts of the enemy body (but logical not his eyes) but he can’t see you.
Don’t forget the value of concealment and limited firing. Giving the enemy not the chance to put effective fire on you is the best protection.
Don’t clinch too much on a position. Time or fire will sooner or later betray your position. Be prepared to reposition to another cover or piece of cover.
Guiding principle for combat
There are some guiding principles for soldiers to survive combat and win the fight:
Keep combat effectiveness high
Work on don’t getting hit. Try to not exhaust yourself. Drop everything you don’t need.
Get involved and keep contributing
Get into the fight. Spot targets, apply fire, draw fire. Do everything you can.
Improve your and others situation
Work together and support each other. Make a plan. Communicate.
This simple 3 Points should be remembered by heart.
“Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics”. The best fighting force cant continue its success if it cant substain itself with the mediums to fight and so anyone can be beaten by sheer weight of logistical superiority. Maximizing your sustainability capability is therefore key.
Sustainment efforts need you to supervise, protect and continuously improve following points:
Your resource sources (Regular: Supply spawns, Irregular: Loot and recoveries)
Your stocks (On man, stored)
Your supply ways (transportation, redistribution)
The expenditure (Expectation, limitation & effective usage)
Sustainment efforts also need to take into consideration casualty care, soldiers missing in action and reinforcements/reserves.
By E. Heckler
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