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CAS being underpowered


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I am playing the 3rd mission of the US campaign, a Russian MRE is attacking my position and the breifing says that i don't have enough forces to stop them, but my A10s should even  the score. I send the A10s, and my problem is not their AA, but the attacking limits of the A10s, some of them just abort mission ( which i can understand because of the AA) and others i put the 700m max attacking circle they have and the enemy just leaves the circle after i destroy 1-2 tanks, I abort their mission too, and redirect them. But it takes 8 minutes Wwith a TACP, nevermid 13 minutes with an FO. I think there should be a CAS reword, either extending the circlce to more than 700m, or getting an option to redirect the CAS to another area, like you have the option to adjust fire with arty.

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When an aircraft or flight like an A-10 does an attack run, they aren't going to just zip around our CM map attacking stuff. In real life the aircraft has an Initial Point (IP) which is where they start their run, under control of the FAC or FIST. Make the run. Aircraft exit to somewhere near to the rear and possibly loiter. Now if they get new direction in the middle of that, they have to leave the area, loiter, process the new info, and set up again with an IP and a new attack run. Those minutes are not unreasonable in an environment where you don't control the skies and there is a significant AA threat. I think it's unrealistic to just make a quick adjust. 

Keep in mind the size of a CM map and the fact that even an A-10 which can fly pretty low and slow, is moving at a speed about 10-15x faster than a tank speeding across open ground. 

Dave

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I definitely agree that in general aircraft do need a bit of love in CM. This is purely anecdotal so take the following with a grain of salt, but in CMSF1 aircraft (especially helicopters) tended to loiter on station more and engage area targets more frequently. However in the current engine it appears that they are much more likely to wave off if they cannot find a target right away. I've noticed this in all the CM games where aircraft are involved. 

I also agree that the area is too small when it comes to aircraft. I wish I could tell my A-10s or gunships to target a much larger area. That would make it a lot easier to engage moving enemy formations, and it would be a better way to abstract real aircraft CAS procedures, where a section of the battlefield is essentially declared a free fire area. 

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38 minutes ago, Ultradave said:

When an aircraft or flight like an A-10 does an attack run, they aren't going to just zip around our CM map attacking stuff. In real life the aircraft has an Initial Point (IP) which is where they start their run, under control of the FAC or FIST. Make the run. Aircraft exit to somewhere near to the rear and possibly loiter. Now if they get new direction in the middle of that, they have to leave the area, loiter, process the new info, and set up again with an IP and a new attack run. Those minutes are not unreasonable in an environment where you don't control the skies and there is a significant AA threat. I think it's unrealistic to just make a quick adjust. 

Keep in mind the size of a CM map and the fact that even an A-10 which can fly pretty low and slow, is moving at a speed about 10-15x faster than a tank speeding across open ground. 

Dave

Fair points regarding the quick adjust, although I agree with Stardekk that the 'attack area' could be be larger. Or perhaps having the option like a linear strike, as now it can be quite a challenge to choose the area especially for preplanned strikes or when targeting moving units along a road / axis.

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9 minutes ago, Lethaface said:

Fair points regarding the quick adjust, although I agree with Stardekk that the 'attack area' could be be larger. Or perhaps having the option like a linear strike, as now it can be quite a challenge to choose the area especially for preplanned strikes or when targeting moving units along a road / axis.

Those are good points. The attack area being larger would mean that (in real life) a coordinate and radius would be given to a pilot. He's going to go for the middle of the circle and if he can adjust outside of that he will, but there is a limit to 1) how easy for him to pick up a secondary target 2) his maneuvarbility on an attack run. Having a bigger circle would mean that he could hit one spot inside a bigger circle, not everything in the circle in one pass. 

Linear would be good. No reason that an A-10 (to pick a good example) can't set up on a run and fire that cannon down a line in a pass. They tend to normally use them in very short bursts (burrps) at a target. It goes through ammo REAL fast.

Dave

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IIRC, broad “kill boxes” were only assigned some distance beyond the forward line of troops, I think a distance that would exceed typical CM map sizes.  I believe CAS targets required more positive control from a FAC, making sure both FAC and pilot were in agreement what location was about to be attacked.

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8 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

I definitely agree that in general aircraft do need a bit of love in CM. This is purely anecdotal so take the following with a grain of salt, but in CMSF1 aircraft (especially helicopters) tended to loiter on station more and engage area targets more frequently. However in the current engine it appears that they are much more likely to wave off if they cannot find a target right away. I've noticed this in all the CM games where aircraft are involved. 

Probably all the thermal optics, spotting anything from an A-10A isn't going to be easy as it's just eyeballs or a maverick camera. But I agree that aircraft should keep trying unless the request is canceled or they're attacked by AA, I don't think your CAS would just shrug and leave if they didn't see targets right away.  

Also need a one pass haul ass option to drop everything on a point or line like artillery or on the first target in an area. 

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I've been really disappointed with CAS in the few multiplayer quickbattles I've played. Aircraft cost rather a lot in terms of points, but even if limited AA doesn't destroy it or convince it to leave accuracy leaves a lot to be desired, with an F4 making multiple passes dropping only 1 bomb giving AA extra opportunities to shoot it down. Even without AA interference they are kinda anemic.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, I'll pass. C-Rations were quite bad enough without trying something that could be worse.  I never saw an MRE (Yeah, I'm old), but from what I've heard they may or may not have been an improvement. Most people I've heard that hated them never had a C-Rat, so there's that.

In contrast, our mess hall was very good. 

Dave

Edited by Ultradave
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20 hours ago, akd said:

IIRC, broad “kill boxes” were only assigned some distance beyond the forward line of troops, I think a distance that would exceed typical CM map sizes.  I believe CAS targets required more positive control from a FAC, making sure both FAC and pilot were in agreement what location was about to be attacked.

I can believe that, not an expert myself but given the occurrences of friendly fire incidents I can fully 'grasp' why. 

However given the maps, missions and the fact we do have fixed wing available in game anyway, I'd say that keeping the area targets the current size isn't perse a better fit for realism and imo definitely not for playability. 

In CMSF IIRC helicopter area-targets used to be rather large and often could span the whole 'enemy zone' of the map. Not sure about fixed wing and whether area-targets for either have been adjusted between CMSF2 and CMCW.
Given CMCW map sizes and more mobile and more full spectrum warfare, it can be difficult to effectuate the order on the lines of 'engage enemy forces behind hill X or moving along road Y, towards Z'. 

So I know where the enemy approximately is, or which direction they will move and where the friendly zone starts, but not really have the means to tell the planes what I want. Or more precise, I can only give them a very small area to target on the scale of the battle.
Whereas if I was the pilot in the A-10 I imagine I'd be scanning for targets on the axis instructed and in the vicinity of the established coordinates (if given an area target instead of a fixed target). I'd be surprised if that zone could be as small as 500x500m or whatever the current max size is.

Having larger target area's would perhaps not be ideal in all circumstances either. But IMO will, given the current compromise already established, allow for more meaningful player control of airstrikes which doesn't directly lead to much more unrealistic effects compared to the status quo.

And indeed something like the linear strike for drones could be a way to do it, with the planes engaging stuff in the vicinity of that line so player control is still limited.

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12 hours ago, Ultradave said:

Thanks, I'll pass. C-Rations were quite bad enough without trying something that could be worse.  I never saw an MRE (Yeah, I'm old), but from what I've heard they may or may not have been an improvement. Most people I've heard that hated them never had a C-Rat, so there's that.

In contrast, our mess hall was very good. 

Dave

Ours were so good I got a camp cot in Gulf War 1 from some US types for a 10-man ratpack box ... even though it did have the dreaded cheese possessed (cheese processed).  The babies' heads were awesome (steak and kidney pudding).  Anyway ... back to CAS and yes I am in the dump the ordnance in one pass school.

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Posted (edited)

CAS could use some tweaking, for example allowing all dumb bombs to be dropped at once, but don't agree on wholesale changes. IMHO, daylight CAS is already too easy for the player.

In this time period, as in WW2, it was almost impossible for pilots with their MK1 eyeball to ID whether a target was friendly or enemy or even in most cases even to spot the target. Planes are too high, too fast and too far away to do that.

Because of that, USAF had a very strict policy that only FACs could call in air strikes, either a FAC on the ground on an airborne FAC orbiting the area. Requests from ground troops were never sent to the ACs directly, they would go to the airborne FAC who would ID the target and direct the strike. FACs would also generally mark the target with smoke, either rockets from the airborne FAC or artillery for the ground FAC. The time delay to call in strikes is already very generous to the player. According to USAF, the average time for an air strike was around 20 minutes.

ACs would never be allowed to strike random targets on their own close to friendly troops, the risk of friendly fire was too great. What USAF would do is desigante free fire zones where every target was fair game, but these would be miles away from friendly troops, so outside the scope of CM.

For those reasons, I don't agree with making area fire larger than the current size. I also don't agree with a linear bomb target, that is not how fighter-bombers, like we have in game, work, they would drop all their bombs at once.

Edited by Sgt Joch
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28 minutes ago, Sgt Joch said:

In this time period, as in WW2, it was almost impossible for pilots with their MK1 eyeball to ID whether a target was friendly or enemy or even in most cases even to spot the target. Planes are too high, too fast and too far away to do that.

But we are given A-10, F-16 and other planes which have precision optical guided munitions (Mavericks). I'm not arguing that a pilot from a Corsair going on a bomb run would be able to ID his targets, but CMCW also features planes with at least the ability to lock on a AFV sized target. Or more specifically, they are able to do that in CMCW.

33 minutes ago, Sgt Joch said:

Because of that, USAF had a very strict policy that only FACs could call in air strikes, either a FAC on the ground on an airborne FAC orbiting the area. Requests from ground troops were never sent to the ACs directly, they would go to the airborne FAC who would ID the target and direct the strike. FACs would also generally mark the target with smoke, either rockets from the airborne FAC or artillery for the ground FAC. The time delay to call in strikes is already very generous to the player. According to USAF, the average time for an air strike was around 20 minutes.

In CMCW AFAIK all US HQs are able to call in airstrikes, in 13 min. If the intent is to limit that capability, why not limit ingame ability to call in airstrikes to air controllers like for USSR?

 

40 minutes ago, Sgt Joch said:

ACs would never be allowed to strike random targets on their own close to friendly troops, the risk of friendly fire was too great. What USAF would do is desigante free fire zones where every target was fair game, but these would be miles away from friendly troops, so outside the scope of CM.

For those reasons, I don't agree with making area fire larger than the current size. I also don't agree with a linear bomb target, that is not how fighter-bombers, like we have in game, work, they would drop all their bombs at once.

If it's not a 'strike box' / 'fire zone',  than what is the 700m area target in CMCW representing? Inside those area's planes will strike random targets, including friendly troops. 

I'm not necessarily disagreeing on what would be historically accurate but the ingame implementation. I don't really get why the 'box' should max be 700m circle max vs for example a 1.5km rectangle. If such are considered outside of CM scope, I'd say the area targets shouldn't be in at all. 

But we are given tools like A-10 with Maverick missiles on free hunt in a 700m circle fire zone, in battles spanning several KMs of maneuver. So we can actually do the unrealistic stuff, although with a handicap. 
Sort of feels like being given a Ferrari (I imagine, never happened to me unfortunately) but not being allowed to go beyond 3.000 rpm in 2nd gear.

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15 minutes ago, Lethaface said:

But we are given A-10, F-16 and other planes which have precision optical guided munitions (Mavericks). 

The Mavericks in CW are the early model with optical guidance which uses a low resolution black and white monitor. Accurate enough to see and target, but not enough to say if it is friendly or enemy. Plus you are talking about a single seat plane where the pilot has to do everything at once (except for F4 of course). 

The ability to be able to ID targets really began with the Pave Tack pods deployed in the F-111 and F-4 beginning in 1982.

Currently the Maverick is probably too accurate for the period with a PK close to 100%, but that is another discussion. 😎

15 minutes ago, Lethaface said:

In CMCW AFAIK all US HQs are able to call in airstrikes, in 13 min. If the intent is to limit that capability, why not limit ingame ability to call in airstrikes to air controllers like for USSR?

I may not have explained it properly. The game assumes there is an abstract airborne FAC so gound troops can call in air strikes, but the call goes to an airborne FAC, hence the delay. As it is the 13 min delay is probably too short, it should probably be in the 20 minutes range, but this is a game after all.

15 minutes ago, Lethaface said:

If it's not a 'strike box' / 'fire zone',  than what is the 700m area target in CMCW representing? Inside those area's planes will strike random targets, including friendly troops. 

That is a compromise that has been around since SF days since you have to account for helos, as well as fast jets. It basically means there is an enemy target around that spot, see if you can find it and kill it. We can argue about how big it should be, but it would not be realistic IMHO to have planes roaming all over the battlefield picking off enemy units at low risk to friendly units.

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1 hour ago, Sgt Joch said:

I also don't agree with a linear bomb target, that is not how fighter-bombers, like we have in game, work, they would drop all their bombs at once.

I admit, I'm only really familiar with Soviet FAC procedures, but the pilots would be given anchor points and directed to enter combat through specific azimuths ("251, expect to work from control point 14, combat 270-280, offset 2.5-3" - meaning aircraft 251 is being directed to head to a predetermined point 14, typically coordinated through the ATO, then is expected to enter into the battlespace from a bearing between 270 to 280 and expect the target between 2.5 and 3 km from the point).

I'm only particularly familiar with the cockpits of the F-14A/B, Mirage 2000C and AJS-37, but they all have dials (or buttons) to adjust the spacing and quantity of bombs to drop (except the Viggen which I don't think can drop in singles or pairs). This would be the purpose of a linear fire mission: the FAC directing the aircraft to drop bombs along a treeline, down a street, etc.

Honestly, the way I would rework CAS would be the following:

  • Linear missions: Pickles all ordnance along the length of the mission, or fires a burst from beginning to end with guns or rockets (which might not be able to get fully expended, for example). With guided weapons, it gives the aircraft a bearing to fly along and the option to engage enemies spotted nearby the target area.
  • Point missions: Blow up that building, would drop two bombs instead of all of them.
  • Vehicle missions: This would be the bigger change, targeting a vehicle would be the equivalent of "Your target: motorised infantry company, 10-12 targets, in battle formation, moving with a course of 80-90, speed 5-10 km/h."
    • Gameplay wise, a vehicle target would give the aircraft the ability to search for similar vehicles in the vicinity of the callout like an area strike does now. This would be exceptionally dangerous to use directly on the frontline since it gives the pilot latitude to engage similar targets nearby.

Bonus points would be the ability to tell the aircraft what ordnance to use! I know we kind of have that ability, but if it was a lot more explicit (guns/rockets/bombs/missiles, etc) rather than light/medium/heavy I think usability would be much improved!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Sgt Joch said:

For those reasons, I don't agree with making area fire larger than the current size. I also don't agree with a linear bomb target, that is not how fighter-bombers, like we have in game, work, they would drop all their bombs at once.

The effect of releasing all bombs in one pass would be linear to some degree, as they would be rippled in pairs with an interval (short so that the area of effect of each bomb remains overlapping, and also probably necessary to prevent bombs on MERs from interfering with each other during release).  This is because, as if with all unguided projectiles, errors for range are more likely than errors for deflection. A linear string of bombs is more likely to have effect on the target if errors are made in the timing / angle / speed of bomb release.

A linear mission is not the best way to portray this, rather what is needed is a way to specify axis of approach toward a point target.

Edited by akd
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34 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

I admit, I'm only really familiar with Soviet FAC procedures, but the pilots would be given anchor points and directed to enter combat through specific azimuths ("251, expect to work from control point 14, combat 270-280, offset 2.5-3" - meaning aircraft 251 is being directed to head to a predetermined point 14, typically coordinated through the ATO, then is expected to enter into the battlespace from a bearing between 270 to 280 and expect the target between 2.5 and 3 km from the point).

I'm only particularly familiar with the cockpits of the F-14A/B, Mirage 2000C and AJS-37, but they all have dials (or buttons) to adjust the spacing and quantity of bombs to drop (except the Viggen which I don't think can drop in singles or pairs). This would be the purpose of a linear fire mission: the FAC directing the aircraft to drop bombs along a treeline, down a street, etc.

Honestly, the way I would rework CAS would be the following:

  • Linear missions: Pickles all ordnance along the length of the mission, or fires a burst from beginning to end with guns or rockets (which might not be able to get fully expended, for example). With guided weapons, it gives the aircraft a bearing to fly along and the option to engage enemies spotted nearby the target area.
  • Point missions: Blow up that building, would drop two bombs instead of all of them.
  • Vehicle missions: This would be the bigger change, targeting a vehicle would be the equivalent of "Your target: motorised infantry company, 10-12 targets, in battle formation, moving with a course of 80-90, speed 5-10 km/h."
    • Gameplay wise, a vehicle target would give the aircraft the ability to search for similar vehicles in the vicinity of the callout like an area strike does now. This would be exceptionally dangerous to use directly on the frontline since it gives the pilot latitude to engage similar targets nearby.

Bonus points would be the ability to tell the aircraft what ordnance to use! I know we kind of have that ability, but if it was a lot more explicit (guns/rockets/bombs/missiles, etc) rather than light/medium/heavy I think usability would be much improved!

No idea of the coding investment here, but, this sounds good to me.

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