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Suicidal IFVs


m0317624
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I've been playing the Valley of Death scenario as the US, and I've come across a major frustration. Without spoiling too much, in this scenario a bunch of Bradleys in hull-down defensive positions under tree cover get rushed at high speed over a few km of open terrain by Russian T-90AMs. Moving at high speed these Russian T-90s lack the optics to spot my well-hidden Bradleys at such long ranges. One would think that a bunch of tanks charging headlong into such a decent defensive position would take some serious losses, but apparently most of my Bradley crews are actually Russian undercover agents hell-bent on committing suicide for the Motherland.

 

You see, instead of using their rather stealthy (SACLOS means no warning to the target) and effective TOW missile launchers upon spotting a Russian tank at a range of 2 km, most of my Bradley crews insist on firing their 25 mm cannons. Not only do those cannon rounds barely scratch the paintwork on a modern MBT, but aiming a cannon at such long ranges is hard. So my Bradleys happily use their laser rangefinders, at which moment the Russian laser warning receiver will happily point that nice 125 mm cannon straight at my Bradley. And that 125 mm round will do more than scratch the paintwork on a Bradley. Oh, and the Russian tank will also happily fire its smoke launchers now, messing up the aim of the occasional Bradley which did manage to launch a TOW.

 

This really makes Bradleys near useless in an anti-tank ambush role. In the Valley of Death scenario I've had 8 Bradleys simultaneously engage a column of 10 Russian tanks from excellent ambush positions only for them to mess it up every single time. The end result is always the same: 2-3 dead Bradleys, the rest of the Bradleys retreating under smoke cover because they got lased by the Russian tanks, 2-4 launched TOW missiles, at most one dead Russian tank.

 

Can we please get some adjustments to IFV targeting logic so they don't consider giving away their position just to scratch the paintwork of a MBT a good idea? Especially not when they have far more suitable weapon systems available to them.

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Its a hard AI problem. There are quite a few vehicles, various types of add on systems on those vehicles, and the angle  of the shooter relative to the target.  My personal impression is that ARENA will knock down TOW about half the time. I have not done a formal multi hundred shot test, but I am absolutely sure the number isn't zero.  Against BMPs of any type 25mm seems very effective out to 1500 or 2000 meters, and is the better choice.  From the front at a T-72, or T-90 with ARENA Tow is probably the better choice, but that is not saying its a good one.  I have seen 25 mm kills at short range with side shots. If the TOW gets swatted you don't get so much as suppression.  25mm banging off the turret gets their attention and might break something. It would be nice to know how many of the categories the AI can even distinguish or work with?

 

If was running the tank/IFV program I would be moving heaven, earth and bureaucrats(the hard part) to replace the TOW with either Javelins or Hellfires.  One is fire and forget and mostly dodges current opfor APS.  The other can be remotely designated, which trick needs to get in the game by the way, also has a diving attack profile, and LONG range to make use of that remote designation trick. I am sure the Army is trying to wait for the Joint Common Missile, but there might be a war between now and 2030.  Both missiles are already in the supply chain, which is a huge portion of the expense.

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The big problem with Javelins is they've got a max effective range of 2500 meters vs the TOW's 3750 meters, and the TOW has a better conventional warhead.  

 

Personally I think a Javelin with an optional booster would be best, basically at 2500 meter+ ranges an additional engine would punt the missile a little further before noseover, while shooter ranges the additional rocket would just be dropped out the back of the tube.  Would also allow for turret down firings without leaving the launcher above horizon (and concealing most of the launch signature).  

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It seems to be a mixed bag to me with the Bradley TOW 2's. In the US campaign I genuinely thought that they were bugged in the first battle as none of my Bradley's fired one once on any target and I even had one Bradley take out a T90 with it's cannons which seemed a little bit ballsy on the crews part and made me wonder if there was a minimum range the TOW 2 could be fired at - anyone know if that is a fact, seems reasonable there might be???

In the third battle however (post patch) I  have had a Bradley take out two T90's in the same round at around 900m, so they do appear to be working at range as advertised.

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It is a tough call.  I played Valley of death a few times in testing.  The first time I deployed one bradley platoon on the left  out of sight behind the forward treeline with a second in overwatch in the treeline behind them.  I then moved my jav teams from the 1st platoon up into the first treeline to hit the Russians.  I got a few, but the Russians were able to get a force into the low ground in front of me.  They then charged.  Smashed through the first treeline where they were annihilated by my overwatch Bradley's with TOWS and some M1s I'd positioned there.

 

On the right side I put a couple in ambush positions behind the trees.  As the Russians passed their positions they got multiple TOWs in the butt end,

 

In Poking the bear I was able to use TOWs from the Strykers and Hummv as well so overall my experience with TOWs has not been bad.  However you have to position them well as that long reach also means they have time to spot and kill you as well.

 

One thing I have noticed about Valley of death is the spotting can be intermittent as the T90s rush forward affecting TOW acquisition.  That might be a possible reason why they aren't firing.

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Its a hard AI problem. There are quite a few vehicles, various types of add on systems on those vehicles, and the angle  of the shooter relative to the target.  My personal impression is that ARENA will knock down TOW about half the time. I have not done a formal multi hundred shot test, but I am absolutely sure the number isn't zero.  Against BMPs of any type 25mm seems very effective out to 1500 or 2000 meters, and is the better choice.  From the front at a T-72, or T-90 with ARENA Tow is probably the better choice, but that is not saying its a good one.  I have seen 25 mm kills at short range with side shots. If the TOW gets swatted you don't get so much as suppression.  25mm banging off the turret gets their attention and might break something. It would be nice to know how many of the categories the AI can even distinguish or work with?

 

That's exactly the problem: 25 mm banging off the turret of a T-90 gets its attention, and the very last thing an IFV should want is to get the attention of a MBT. The small chance of breaking some outside equipment on the turret is not worth the massive risk of getting shot at by a 125 mm cannon. In the WW2 titles this was somewhat useful, as the suppressed tank would have trouble spotting, but with modern optics and laser warning receivers it's quite simply suicide that achieves nothing.

 

From my limited experience about 1/5 of launched TOWs will actually kill a T-90AM, the rest gets spoofed, destroyed or fails to penetrate.

 

It is a tough call.  I played Valley of death a few times in testing.  The first time I deployed one bradley platoon on the left  out of sight behind the forward treeline with a second in overwatch in the treeline behind them.  I then moved my jav teams from the 1st platoon up into the first treeline to hit the Russians.  I got a few, but the Russians were able to get a force into the low ground in front of me.  They then charged.  Smashed through the first treeline where they were annihilated by my overwatch Bradley's with TOWS and some M1s I'd positioned there.

 

On the right side I put a couple in ambush positions behind the trees.  As the Russians passed their positions they got multiple TOWs in the butt end,

 

In Poking the bear I was able to use TOWs from the Strykers and Hummv as well so overall my experience with TOWs has not been bad.  However you have to position them well as that long reach also means they have time to spot and kill you as well.

 

One thing I have noticed about Valley of death is the spotting can be intermittent as the T90s rush forward affecting TOW acquisition.  That might be a possible reason why they aren't firing.

 

I tried following the briefing, which stated: "best to keep the Russians at long range". A platoon of Bradleys with Javelin teams in overwatch on each flank, ready to take on the Russians before they entered the valley. Spotting was indeed intermittent, which caused some missiles to miss. But this was caused more by the T-90s' smoke launchers thanks to the Bradleys helpfully lasing them (and the Bradleys' smoke launchers from the return fire caused by said lasing) than due to the range.

 

I ran this part of the scenario 5 times, and each time the Bradleys were far more eager to fire their cannon than their TOWs. Maybe it was the change in Bradley TacAI from patch 1.1 that caused this, if you found it functioning well during testing?

Edited by m0317624
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