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Author Topic: Non-sim pod training exercises?  (Read 621 times)

Middcore

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Non-sim pod training exercises?
« on: 17 January 2022, 21:33:08 »
I'm sure we're all familiar with the multitude of "it was just a simulation" battle sequences in BT fiction where the protagonist climbs out of a sim pod at the end.

I feel like there is at least one novel where war games are taking place using real 'Mechs, but with simulated weapons fire, where the 'Mech's computers are programmed to shake the gyros for hits and the HUD holographically paints in explosions and such that aren't really there.

Did I dream this?

If so, what canon sources do we have on how oppositional training is one with real 'Mechs? Is it any more advanced than a late 20th century to present day MILES system? Or is training MechWarriors on how to actually fight (as opposed to just driving the 'Mech around and shooting targets) literally all done in pods?
« Last Edit: 17 January 2022, 22:17:37 by Middcore »

AlphaMirage

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #1 on: 17 January 2022, 21:48:10 »
There was a whole big thing about Outreach having one of these so I guess its relatively uncommon in the Inner Sphere (reference the old Field Manual Mercs). Additional mentions of the complexity of their sim pods were mentioned in the NAIS College of Military Science I believe. If I were to develop the system then definitely you'd be spending lots of pod time early on in your program and then phase into live action in a Stinger/Wasp before graduating to the Chameleon/Crockett level of actual experience piloting a Battlemech.

The IS probably don't do that much live fire training against one another, except at Point Barrow possibly and New Samarkand, where the Daimyo keeps a broken city filled with rebels contained as target practice. Alternate rules in TacOps allow lasers to be powered down and it would not be a stretch to imagine that Simunition quality ballistic and missile weapons exist even if they are just smoke and frag rounds that don't do a lot of damage to the machines.

The Clans on the other hand do stuff with live ammo and full powered energy weapons, something that I imagine contributes to the significant washout rate among their sibkos.

Middcore

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #2 on: 17 January 2022, 21:57:01 »
There was a whole big thing about Outreach having one of these so I guess its relatively uncommon in the Inner Sphere (reference the old Field Manual Mercs). Additional mentions of the complexity of their sim pods were mentioned in the NAIS College of Military Science I believe. If I were to develop the system then definitely you'd be spending lots of pod time early on in your program and then phase into live action in a Stinger/Wasp before graduating to the Chameleon/Crockett level of actual experience piloting a Battlemech.

I forgot the Chameleon and Crockett and the references to the Chameleon being able to masquerade as other 'Mechs with VISMOD and spoofed sensor profiles. That certainly points to mock engagements taking place with real 'Mechs.

Failure16

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #3 on: 17 January 2022, 22:04:49 »
I feel like there is at least one novel where war games are taking place using real 'Mechs, but with simulated weapons fire, where the 'Mech's gyros are programmed to shake the gyros for hits and the HUD holographically paints in explosions and such that aren't really there.

The action on Outreach detailed in Main Event is probably the genesis of this memory. Though The Kell Hounds (FASA 1652) also describes live-action training on pages 38-9 in the scenario "Dragon of a Different Color".
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #4 on: 17 January 2022, 22:22:17 »
Kai runs through a live fire training course (using IFF modules and scrap metal targets) in Lethal Heritage, later we have reference to how a base on another world left their course running during the clan invasion fo the world, and it distracted the clan pilots long enough to evac some extra people. suggesting such courses are fairly common.

Dan Allard ran through simulated weapons fire engagement against the Kell Hounds in Warrior: Riposte, after getting his Wolfhound. which used basically MILES gear to track weapons fire but involved actually piloting mechs around.

the Dragoons used a similar MILES type set up on outreach in Blood Legacy for both training the heirs of the IS powers, and for the final trial they put them through.

in Main event the newly formed Black Thorns unit uses the system to duel a dragoon's unit on outreach. in D.R.T. they use the same system to run exercises to train their new members while on Wolcott.

the 17th Recon Regiment uses a variation of such a system (adding paint warheads for AC's and missiles) for in-unit training exercises in Close Quarters. dialog between the unit commander and Uncle Chandy during one such exercise suggests the technology is fairly commonplace, but not as popular as Simulation pods due to the fact that the mechs can still take damage during it. (a point punctuated shortly after when one of the 17th wasp pilots does a physical attack against his opponent, knocking it down. only to be "killed" by the referee right after.)

the clans use a variation of the system. their lasers and warheads are down powered but still capable of inflicting damage, instead of being completely harmless. as seen in Blood Legacy

Karasu

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #5 on: 18 January 2022, 07:14:26 »
I'm pretty sure Ardan Sortek did live weapons training through a specific course (that had time trials) way back in The Sword and the Dagger.

Colt Ward

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #6 on: 18 January 2022, 10:58:44 »
Besides the training scene in BoK, you also had the Nova Cats going . . . against the Alshain Avengers IIRC in Path of Glory.

Another one folks are forgetting is from Initation to War where Count Shu's (regional noble) roughly mech battalion had umpires in the mechs for training exercises, that part of the story pivots around when a umpire was tampered with resulting in a training death (and yes, they happen outside of Clan training.  Supposed to be some interesting comparisons pre-Afghanistan.) because the weapons went off.

Let's look at this from a complexity angle . . .

Simulators are expensive up front, but easy because all you have to do is plug things in and have power.  The real question is how much/well they simulate.  Apparently CapCon arcade mech simulators are good enough to create troops . . . Sim pods are for force on force engagements.

Next step up are training ranges which run the gamut from gunnery practice, (for mechs) mounted land navigation, tactical gunnery practice (pop up targets, movement through a course), familiarization/scenario training, and finally force on force.

Gunnery practice would be the simplest . . . walk through a series of bermed areas and light up targets, scored based on accuracy and speed.  Typically you would not be going full speed (for this purpose, 'tactical') so part of the purpose would be maintaining the feel for firing off the cannons and missiles as your mech rocks.  The restriction here would be X number of targets and Y number of shots with some targets playing with the time to improve your score, or navigation gates (like skiing & kayaking) that will penalize you with time.  Fancier versions get more like the Olympic biathalon where you race between shooting points, have limited shots at each point, and take time penalties for missing.

Mounted land navigation . . . well, trooper, bad news is the enemy took the sats down and your commo is being jammed . . . and it if was not being jammed, it would let your enemies close in.  Well!  Lookie there, your ticket off planet is over there . . . 40 hours away, you have 44 hours to make it . . . and watch out for bogies.  OR  Troop, you are going to be one of the mechs we are infiltrating through enemy lines to execute a flanking attack.  Now the crunchies have found a way through the enemy's LPOPs and remote sensors, so here is the map loaded in your system and you need to hit these check points on a timed schedule while avoiding the patrols which are also noted in your nav system.  This sort of training would be easier for mechwarriors with natural grace & terrain master SPAs.

Tactical gunnery practice would be more like what Kai went through . . . moving at combat speed & discipline, there will be pop up & moving targets that are gauging your response time against accuracy.  Targets activate and deactivate through either they being hit or timing out.  Some of the targets being presented test decision making- do you hit the Hetzer that is closing or the LRM Carrier currently raining fire on you?  Depending on the course you could integrate defensive drills with your runs, scoring could reflect how much you leave your mech out to be hit while you engage.

Scenario training is where you would be practicing certain tactical environments- this is what happens when a lot of Army units are 'in the field.'  They have a scenario (my command loved to have us being invaded from Orangeland in the North using a bunch of Chinese & Russian gear . . . ) either for your part in a big conflict or a small action- for mechs or armor it could be escorting a convoy.  Your company is escorting a convoy to a forward unit trying to push through enemy lines and the area is not secure which is why you are assigned.  The company commander has established a escort formation (part of their practice & eval) and is calling in as the convoy progresses through the checkpoints . . . when BAM!  AMBUSH!  Company commander orders the convoy to either speed through while mechs lay covering fire and call for artillery, airstrikes and VTOL coverage per doctrine.  Or a patrol . . . when BAM!  AMBUSH!  Near or Far?  Near?  Well you better hope that butter bar remembers you are supposed to assault through and gives the right order . . . all 12 mechs go charging in the ordered direction, firing blanks off at the 'enemy' position.

Then you get the MILES like umpires discussed in a few books like Initiation to War- or for the Clans just power things down a bit.  It is like the above but it combines everything . . . sort of hard to tell who you 'killed' when using blanks, but here we are looking to see if you can pull off the right responses to tactical situations with accuracy in your weapon's fire and smart decisions to protect your mech from fire as much as possible.  Closest you are going to get to full combat, better than even the most accurate sim pod.

One thing ALL of these besides the sim pods require is LAND . . . lots and lots of land, usually land no one wants is what is used.  The larger the unit you want to operate together, the more land you need- it is also not straight arithmetic.  A battalion will need more than 3x the land a company would to operate on- partly b/c you rotate where troops operate so the land recovers to maintain it's 'wild' status.  If you look at it in the US, it is why most of the armor and wargame training areas are out west- Ft Irwin in the Mojave Desert is 1000 square miles which tests units before rotations, Ft Hood has 214k acres for armor training, or Nellis AFB which hosts Red Flag (and thinking about it, is something like the Martial Olympiad for US & ally air forces).

Some of the older US bases also have 'no go' areas . . . which are where explosive shells, rockets and missiles are fired for live fire exercises.  You do not go there b/c you never know that all the munitions exploded.  Basically a BT base would have to plan on areas that will never be entered w/o being led there by EXO units (huh, we need a EXO IndiMech) . . . or is it UXO, been a while since I sat through one of those classes.

Now we DO get a few places that mention this sort of thing.  One that springs to mind is Small World.  The Chaos March SB said Duke Small had rented a lot of his planet's arctic regions to the AFFC for winter training.  Have to wonder how often formations rotated through the camp/training grounds though I would imagine they were a Sarna March asset . . . MABYE some Capellan March troops went there too from the Terra-ward zones.  Outreach has training zones for merc evaluations and the Dragoons have their own reservation on a whole other continent.  We get a bit about Kathil having training areas before the FCCW kicked off there- the Kathil CMM was using it and so was the NAIS Cadre on that planet.  I would imagine each major mech industrial world with a major on planet garrison has a large training range, both for the garrison and for the company to test their products.
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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #7 on: 18 January 2022, 11:32:57 »
did op galahad have any simulated wargames or was that just hanse's invasion force shell game?

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Colt Ward

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #8 on: 18 January 2022, 11:45:10 »
Well, besides in the field going at each other in the mud with mosquitoes buzzing in your ear you also have command exercises.  These test and train the way a large command operate, and they used to do them annually.  Basically, instead of a battalion out in the field you have a division set up to go up and down the chain of command and through the various attachments.  The input for what the command orders uses simulators- IE, I participated once as a contractor for testing a system in a command chain which was basically a lot of computers networked together in a basement while they put things through their paces.
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #9 on: 18 January 2022, 14:10:45 »
did op galahad have any simulated wargames or was that just hanse's invasion force shell game?

From descriptions in the warrior trilogy, the earlier ones were full simulation wargames across multiple worlds. Partly to get the IS used to seeing troop movements of that sort. That's what made the deception work so well. He was able to mass forces and his enemies just chalked it up to another exercise.

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #10 on: 18 January 2022, 15:29:59 »
Rim Worlds Republic Outpost #27 aka New Virginia aka the Coreward Confederacy comes to mind. Full size mock-ups of Terran cities.

Middcore

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #11 on: 18 January 2022, 15:35:55 »
From descriptions in the warrior trilogy, the earlier ones were full simulation wargames across multiple worlds. Partly to get the IS used to seeing troop movements of that sort. That's what made the deception work so well. He was able to mass forces and his enemies just chalked it up to another exercise.

Anybody else here ever watch Deutschland '83?

I am picturing some sort of Able Archer scenario with a Capellan military intelligence officer trying to convince his superiors they aren't just exercises.

RifleMech

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #12 on: 19 January 2022, 06:27:49 »
There's fluff of the Beagle Active Probe recording and then later the pilot being able to play it back and make changes. So it could Beagle could be used as a training aid by having a different pilot in run through the previous pilot's mission.

Arkansas Warrior

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #13 on: 19 January 2022, 08:20:36 »
The War College of Goshen does all live fire training.  FM:FS says the following:


Quote from: FM:FS P.41
All of its primary training is accom- plished using the actual 'Mechs, vehicles and weapons on live- fire ranges.


CamoSpecs even makes note of it in Goshen’s color scheme:
Quote
The War College of Goshen paints its machines maroon with white on black highlights. Students are proud of the tradition of live fire exercises, and only repaint damaged armor panel replacements at the start of the school year, leaving them in gray primer the rest of the time.
[/size][/color]

[/size]https://camospecs.com/unit/war-college-of-goshen/[/color]
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guardiandashi

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Re: Non-sim pod training exercises?
« Reply #14 on: 19 January 2022, 10:43:23 »
from what I remember I am going to say a lot of the "better" schools will have at least a few "sim pods" even if they are improvised, for instance, in decision at thunder rift, Greyson was doing a fair amount of sim training before his dada merc unit gets destroyed.

with that In mind I am going to suggest the normal training likely goes something like:
sim pod training, either through dedicated simulators, or improvised simulators (using a mechs cockpit with the mech "locked down" can manipulate controls and get input from systems, but can't actually move the mech)

basic training in a real mech, mostly movement weapons are still locked out

simulated weapons use, and or "firing range" this is a combination of training level (think laser tag, paintball, and or airsoft) essentially non damaging exercises, some firing on the "range" may be live ammo/ full power but only at targets/drones not real opponents

exercises with training ammo against live opponents

now at some point the clans graduate to using live and or only weakened shots.  personally I think it would still be wasteful to use full powered shots in training but ....

 

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