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Q: When a unit takes weapon or mobility damage, do all of the subunits suffer the same result?

A: No. All destructive combat results apply to only one team or vehicle at a time. If a vehicle gets weapons or mobility damage, that vehicle is split out of the larger marker and a new marker is created for it.

Q: What determines losses to infantry inside when one of three vehicles goes up like the 4th of July?

A: When a multivehicle APC unit loses one vehicle, the program determines what percentage of the APC unit has been lost. The program then counts how many troops are embarked in the multivehicle APC unit and multiplies the troop count by the APC loss percentage. The result is the number of troops who are at risk - the program assumes the troops are evenly spread among the available APCs. The program then decides what percentage of the troops at risk will be actually lost. If more than one type of infantry is being carried (say a rifle squad, a machine gun team, and an ATGM) the losses will be apportioned amongst the different units. After the embarked personnel losses are taken, the program checks to see if there is still room in the surviving APCs for the number of surviving troops. If there is not room for everyone, then the program will incrementally split out excess troop units and dump them onto the map. By the way, vehicle units take their losses in vehicles while infantry units take thier losses in personnel. Once all vehicles are dead in a unit, the unit marker is removed from play. Once all personnel in an infantry unit are dead, that unit marker is removed from play. So you might see a marker for an infantry squad and it might only have one or two people actually still in it.

Q: One of my M-1s got a 1% kill on a tank at 3000 meters. Hey, I'm happy about that. I'm just surprised it was 1% considering that 2500 meters is an effective range for an M1.

A: One percent sounds like the target was moving in broken terrain and that the firing unit was taking effective return fire or artillery and maybe moving itself --- not exactly training range conditions.

Q: In the game, an M60 machine gun had the same chance to kill a BTR in the woods from the side as the M-1 did from the front at less than 100 meters. The SABOT round is much heavier than the RPG and has a greater velocity than the ATGM.

A: Well, just tell yourself that the tank SABOT round would kill the BTR extremely dead, while the M60 machine gun would only kill it a little bit dead. Dead is dead. The extent of the overkill is irrelevant. At point blank ranges an M1 and a M60 machine gun each have around a 95% chance of hitting a tank or squad-sized target (in TacOps there is always a 5% chance of divine intervention). A BTR has frontal armor of 20mm, side of 7mm, and rear of 5mm. One M1 SABOT round (DU) can penetrate two side-by-side T72 tanks in real life (but not in the game). An M60 machine gun burst can penetrate 25mm. The SABOT round gets through and the M60 machine gun burst gets through --- the BTR is dead, so what is the problem? Actually the SABOT round would probably blow right through the BTR without causing a brewup, but what the heck --- TacOps assumes that the tank crew would use HE in such a case. Afghan mujahideen had no problem lighting up BTRs with just about anything larger than a rifle when firing into the side hull.

Q: Why not have crew units that survive hits from damaged vehicles?

A: Couple of reasons. I suppose the main one is that I don't think the game would benefit from having a lot of one and two man units, armed with only pistols and rifles, running around underfoot. From a realism point of view, I can't really picture the average tank or apc crew climbing out of their burning vehicle, immediately forming themselves into a rifle fire team, and then marching off to toward the nearest enemy unit to fight as infantry. I am not questioning their courage, it just would not generally be their duty to do that, and I don't think they are trained to do that. I would think the proper thing for a crewman to do in this situation would be to first see if he could get his vehicle moving again. If that wasn't reasonable then he probably ought to head rearward to find a retriever to come up and get his vehicle. If the vehicle were a total loss then I suspect the right thing to do would be to go find another vehicle that needs a crewman.

Q: In the scenarios I've played on the defensive, I've noticed the formation of distinct "kill zones" which quickly become littered with a high density of wrecks.

A: There is a great deal of destruction in TacOps. I have gone over and over the combat tables and they appear to be OK, though they do assume that the warriors are willing and well-trained. Writing TacOps has convinced me that modern close combat between well-equipped and well-motivated adversaries would be a bloody business indeed. I don't think this grim lesson came out of Desert Storm very well because only one side was competent.

Q: I had five turns of 81mm and 155mm fire on infantry in the open. Not one of them was killed.

A: The artillery fire may not have "eliminated" a whole unit, but you were most likely killing individuals within the units. If you click on spotted enemy infantry units, you can see their personnel strength in the info line at the bottom of the screen. Artillery casualties are applied incrementally against the personnel count of infantry units. An infantry unit marker does not go away until its personnel count reaches zero.

Netscape HTML Checked! January 22, 1995 - Robert Lentz (

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