Renovation! Watch for falling links! Renovation!

This is the repository for bits that are too short to be set off by themselves and that donŐt have any clear category sometimes overlapping a number of them.

Contents:

  1. ATGM Flight Time
  2. Definition of a Unit
  3. Firing Order
  4. Lethality Values
  5. Line of Sight
  6. Purpose of DF TRP
  7. Recon/Sniper Teams
  8. Splitting Units
  9. Unit Id

1. ATGM Flight Time

Q: Playing team Davis, I experienced some instances where OPFOR ATGMs fired but did not impact.

A: Not a bug --- tis but another unpublicised realism detail. TacOps considers the air speed of ATGMs. If they take longer than 15 seconds to reach their target their impact will be "held back" until the next pulse of the combat phase. If they are "held back" in the last 15 second pulse then they won't impact until the first combat pulse after an intervening orders phase. In general this is only noticeable for OPFOR ATGMs firing at ranges of 3000 or more meters. If the target disappears before impact then the inflight ATGM cancels out.

Q: Is guided ATGM fire effected by suppressive fire and the 10 to 30 seconds of flight time, or is the ATGM treated as a fire-and-forget round?

A: The speed of ATGMs is in the data base and is calculated for every ATGM fire. You will occasionally see one of the slower ATGMs take two fifteen- second combat pulses to reach a target at three or four thousand meters. Guided ATGM fire can be effected by suppressive fire if the missile takes longer than about ten seconds to get to the target. Only the Javelin ATGM is currently treated as a fire-and-forget round.

2. Definition of a Unit

In general, in TacOps, when I mention a "unit" I mean a "marker". A marker can represent one infantry squad/team up to a company. A marker can represent one vehicle up to a company. A marker can also include all the infantry embarked on the vehicles in the marker.

However, when a unit/marker is exited, the program counts its strength pts and multiplies that count by the Unit Lethality Value shown for that unit on pages 110 to 112 of the manual. A strength point is the smallest possible unit that a given marker type can be broken down into. For infantry units one strength point is one squad or one team. For vehicle units one strength point is one vehicle. For example. One M1 tank has a value of 100 points. If you exit a marker that represents 10 M1 tanks then the exit score for that unit/marker would be 10 times 100. Its exit score would be 1000. If you exist an APC marker then the exit score would include the computed values for all the APCs in the marker plus the computed values for all the infantry units being carried inside the APCs.

3. Firing Order

In TacOps, who shoots first is sometimes a random thing once two units have spotted each other - though suppression tends to cause a unit to shoot last. However, if a spotting unit is itself unspotted and if it has not fired recently from its current position, and if it is unsupressed it will almost always be awarded "surprise fire". This means that not only will it get the first shot, but it will also be free from return fire for at least 15 seconds. Stationary, unfiring, defilade mode Infantry in woods become eligible to be spotted at either 50 or 100 meters (I forget which, but you can click on a unit during game play to see its current visibility range for sure). It could also be that the rifle infantry in question don't have anything that can get through the front armor of the M1, thus they don't fire until it gets right on top of them and they can conceptually maneuver for a side or rear shot - the OPFOR RPG, for example, can not kill an M1 head on and maybe not from the side.

4. Lethality Values

Q: OH-58 Kiowa helicopters seem less valuable than their points are worth...

A: Unit lethality values are on pages 110 through 112 in Appendix C of the TacOps users guide. These numbers are highly arguable. I welcome user assistance in tweaking them. Particulary welcome would be email containing the whole list with suggested changes annotated. I have a priority folder just waiting for the input.

The OH-58 Kiowa's points are based more on its ability to observe than on its ability to kill, i.e. it can observe large areas in a short period of time through high maneuverability.

The unit lethality points were extremely hard to analyze. At one point I became so disgusted with them that I almost took them out of the code. I wanted one number for each unit that could be used to generate force ratios for the edification of the players, to use as a guide for play balance during scenario creation, and to help the deep player determine when he had done a particularly good job "against the odds". But what is important and what is the value of that importance? Ability to personally kill main battle tanks? Ability to survive while observing for artillery? Rarity or replacement cost? The importance of a given weapon or unit varies greatly according to the tactical situation. Example: STINGERs are devastating against an oncoming wave of Havoc and Hind helos but they are almost useless in a scenario in which OPFOR has no air support. What lethality value is right for STINGER ? I finally settled on having the lethality index for a unit represent its overall contribution to the tactical battle when used by a good player against appropriate targets - observation capability and killing ability assumed the heaviest weights. It was a compromise.

5. Line of Sight (LOS)

In addition to a clear LOS, a unit also has to be visible and it has to be spotted before it can be fired on with direct fire. For example, say you have a helo moving at medium altitude 2000 meters away from an infantry unit that is in defilade in woods and that the infantry is not currently spotted and that it has not fired recently. In this case the helo may technically have a clear line of sight to the infantry unit but it will not engage because the visiblilty and spotting conditions can not be met. If the infantry unit opens up on say an enemy squad 500 meters distant, then by its act of engaging in a firefight it will probably become visible to, be spotted by, and then fired on by the helo.

6. Purpose of DF TRP (Direct Fire Target Reference Point)

DF TRP means direct fire target reference point. It describes a circle around a point on the battle map. You specify the size of that circle when you set the DF TRP. When you set a DF TRP for a unit, you are ordering that unit to place its first priority on shooting at targets that are within that circle. The unit will look in that circle for targets before looking anywhere else. If you hold down the option key while setting a DF TRP then that unit will only shoot at units that are in that circle. Using DF TRPs is a TacOps implemention of a real world method of distributing weapons onto multiple likely target areas so that all the weapons in a defensive position don't by chance end up shooting at the same one or two targets at the same time.

7. Recon/Sniper Teams

I added the US sniper and US recon teams as an experiment in "special case" units --- I wanted their OPFOR cousins to be more or less equal so I simply gave them similar weapons. In this case the OPFOR teams are more game constructs than anything else. The standard 7.62 SVD may not be capable of achieving the accuracy that it is given in TacOps - Isby's numbers for the SVD are some lower than the ones I had for the US Remington. Still...sniping depends more on human talent than equipment so they may be ok.

Why OPFOR Recon teams use 5.56 sniper rifles? I would be surprised if Motor Troops Recon carried scoped 5.45 weapons in real life. I imagine they carry ordinary service rifles. Spetsnaz might have more variety in their weapons, but I am no expert on small arms. The true caliber of the AK74 is 5.45 but for economy I am using the same data base item for both the US and OPFOR small bore sniper weapon. I am stuck with the 5.56 name for a while.

8. Splitting Units

Q: It would be nice if you could split a unit of AAV's and not have all the troops dumped out - just distribute them evenly among the individual vehicles as if the loaded vehicles were sitting in the staging area and went off in different directions.

A: In practice though, there usually is not an even split of troop types inside the vehicles. Common example - USMC Rifle Platoon (+) carried by an AAV platoon marker. That "combined" marker might represent 3 or 4 APCs, 3 rifle squads, 1 or 2 machine gun teams, 1 or 2 SMAW teams, a 60mm mortar team, a STINGER team, and 1 or 2 Javelin/Dragon teams. Do you really want the computer to decide who ends up where before they go off in different directions <grin>? If you did not like the troop split you would have to open up all those vehicles, dump troops out of each one, recombine the troops to suit your goals and then reload them.

9. Unit Id

Each unit gets a unique numerical id number when it is created (at startup or when it is split out of a larger unit). This number is shown in the Unit Info Window for each unit. This id number only has two uses and both are a bit esoteric. Ammo usage is tracked during combat. The user can call up an ammo report that reports all units that have fallen to or below the 10% level - this can be important in larger/longer scenarios where limited resupply is allowed. The id number and the Go To Unit dialog are primarily provided to allow a user of the ammo report an easy way to "jump" to and automatically open the orders window of a particular unit listed in that report. A second use of the unit id number is to allow players to use TacOps to administer a military style command post exercise where opposing teams of players would direct the battle using paper maps and the computer would only be used to "game out" the results for subsequent verbal or sitrep reporting back to the paper teams. In this case some sort of unique unit id is be needed to ease coordination.


Netscape HTML Checked! January 22, 1995 - Robert Lentz (ralentz@ralentz.com)

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