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Old 01-10-2012, 06:29 AM   #11
Skybird
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I think they were tried by several people after that essay, two years ago, but almost all people left it behind again, probably. So have I, for the reason I already said: it is extremely difficult to fight, survive and win this way. Also, it is too tempting to use all the gizzmos the beasts are equipped with anyway, and still, in a typical cold war scenario you would expect to fight (on NATO's side) in numerical inferiority anyway, 1:3 and worse, so you already have your hands full with work.

Also, players may be tempted to "use" the assumed strength they gain from sitting in a heavily armoured Wetsern tank like the M1A1HA or even the Leopard-2E or Strv-122. One can fall into the trap and think "I have this thick skin, I just sit still and aim and fire, and just swallow every round the enemy is lobbying at me". For some hits, if you are lucky, this may work, but when you allow to take fire, even if it doe snot kill you, the likelihood that you lose laser range finders, thermal imagers and gunner'S primary sight early is quite high - and then you automatically are back to the secondary sights as described above. Also, while some of the Western tanks are hilariously thick armoured, THEY ALL HAVE WEAK SPOTS - and every round flying has a random chance to stray off a bit from it's aim point and find this weak spot by intention of the gunner, or by luck. So: even in a Leo-2E or Challenger-2 you can get killed by the first hit you eat. Does not happen often - but it could happen every time you are under fire.

Some tips, if you go with it: if you want to do old-fashioned gunning duels, leave it to switching off lasers, thermals, maybe lead, and see what this already does for you. You probably already find it satisfactory to leave it to this, instead of fiddling around with the map themes for example, as I described. Be aware that ammo choice in the mission editor is very important, a SABOT from late 70s is something totally different than a SABOT from late 90s, the difference can be that between night and day. Very interesting is to turn tanks-cenarios into IFV-scenarios, maybe IFVs or APCs even with small callibre only - you increase the chance that you get long-lasting duels in which you guys really battle it out in long-lasting firefights, wild shoot-outs like at the OK Chorral. It gets even more dramatic when being in woods (tanks in woods, okay...)! And for the novice: after having satisfied your initial curiosity and checked all vehicles, in the beginning chose one good tank, I recommend the Leopard-2A5 or higher, and then stick with it for a longer time to come, and play your missions by replacing it's playable MBTs with this tank type you have chosen. Learn this one inside out until normal and emergency procedures are second nature and you can command and control this tank and the platoon blindly - the real challenge in SBP is not the tanks' handling, but the geography, making best use of terrain, tactical panning, route-finding, locating good battle positions, timing of forces and actions. You can focus on these the more the less your concentration gets destracted by needing to think about how to do this and that with your tank.

By training the first days and weeks like this, you will see benefit in all other vehicles as well that you board later. And finally, do not try to command a batallion, not even a company. That you can do later. Start with small scale stuff: sections, and platoons. Doing platoon scenarios without the map function, is great, it can be a blast, really. For companies, you already need to do some "wargaming" on the map. However, SBP has the power to calculate scenarios the size of several batallions. Whether that makes sense allways, is something different.

Train shooting from secondary sights and using the TC's override options from all beginning on. This is the most difficult side of handling the tanks, but in battle, you WILL run into situations were you depend on these procedures and your competence to run them.

Oh, and much of your playing time should be over the map, before the mission starts. Very much time. The better your plan, the more detailed it is, the more eventualities you have calculated in routes and conditions, the better your chances. Spend the time and learn how to develope a good plan especially when you command a bigger force, a company, lay dpown that plan in conditioned routes and embark conditions from battle positions, calculate for eventualities and arty strikes. Stay mobile, do not sit it out - arty will get you. When the enemy has become aware of your platoon sitting in this place, it'S time to start the countdown until you get moving again.

And then the obvious stuff: even when being in the offensive, when advancing from a battleposition on a hill, do not just drive forward, BUT PULL BACK until you are fully covered, then stay low between high spots and advance in the valleys between hilltops. Stay stealthy. Make it a habit to never advance over hilltops, where possible. You make yourself visible against the clear sky, and you first expose your vulnerable belly, and then your vulnerable roof. Not good.

Do listening stops: stop and switch off the engine when you want to hear where the enemy is, maybe.

For the tank types, in their wikipedia they have diagrams for most tanks showing the scheme of armour by which they are protected, and where their weak spots are. Learn them even when the military teaches its gunners that they should put the crosshairs on the centre of mass in general - the weak spot is somethign you can go after only when the targets fills the entire sight, so to speak.

Thermal sights are no x-rays of infinite reach. They are modelled quite nicely in SBP.

On some vehicles, there is discussion on how they are modelled. While there are some known bugs, for the most these controversies ariose from people having misled expectations on the vehicle. But the sim, so claims eSim with pride, allows to reveal unknown implications of a vehicle'S characteristics by giving the best data they could find the best assessing they can come up with by insider'S experience. For example the Challenger-2 has a known problem with the driver'S hatch, which the MoD tried to cover in a hurry when it was revealed, at least the C2-version represented in SBP, and it is also known that the gun is lacking punch for several technical reasons, and the old ammo it uses. This made the C2 not the uber-tank some players expected, it is superior to Eastern tanks, but just one of several good tanks on the Western tanks - not the ultimate dominator.

Learn the map interface from all beginning on! You cannot do good plans if you cannot handle the map screen. The interface for mission editor and mission planning essentially is the same. It also is a very easy-to-handle-interface, the control logic speaks for itself once you got into the concept.

When you have problems with bridges and minefields, report back!

Note that infantry AI currently is far from being ideal, same for helicopters.

Don'T get frustrated - you will ge tkilled very often in the beginning, and not even know why, and from where. Use the after action report AAR feature, and use it always and frequently, switch it to "all units being visible" and "display vehicles instead of formation icons". It helps to understand your tactical mistakes and the genberal pattern of movements that took place. The AAR cannot be overemphasized. It's also great fun. From it'S map, you can always jump into the real world and see the scene of the crime smoking during any point of replay. It also helps to analyse who hit whom and where. If you wonder why this shot did this and not that, zoom in, and see where it punctured the hull - this often is the explanation already.
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Last edited by Skybird; 01-10-2012 at 07:16 AM.
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