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Author Topic: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment  (Read 392 times)

Colt Ward

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Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« on: 10 March 2020, 11:26:27 »
I am setting up a map based battle using Campaign Ops (as one specific part of the whole merc's contract/campaign) though for the purposes of the discussion it might be considered a mini-campaign.  Using a map grid 5 wide by 8 deep and each single grid is 10x10 of BT maps, roughly the equivalent to 5 square klicks.  Attackers start on the N edge, defenders on the S edge with the attackers having a advantage in weight and experience while the defenders might have more numbers but are individually weaker & less experienced.  This will be using MegaMek, and in battles the most significant rule in use is double blind- while I have not set a visual range limitation I am thinking of doing 30-45 hexes and I am considering more advanced LOS rules.  Basically I want to prevent the cheat of lifting a VTOL to 20 levels up and being able to see everything.  I  prefer a wargaming approach to this campaign rather than 'balanced' force scenarios- where a outnumbered force can still achieve their victory conditions.

I also want the strategic game to reflect the 'fog of war' which is DB writ larger.  Both sides will have the option of scout/recon and skirmishers to keep the other side at bay to hide their movements & positions.  Fiction seems to give mechs/vehs with Beagle or other advanced sensor systems a larger range than what we get for tactical scale- able to detect enemy units at a further distance even if they cannot identify the specifics.  Basically sensors say there is a group of enemies to the west but not to the east, and they are about 2 klicks away.

But how to get that advantage?  For a recon run, perhaps the mechs or vehicles have to get within 10-20 hexes of the map edge for the grid they want to scan and stand still for 1 turn?  2 turns? on higher terrain (IE, L3 on rolling hills that are flat w/ mostly L1 & L2 hills) to get a good image.  The number of sensor image locations gives you X number of roll attempts to learn if anything was spotted in the neighboring grid?  This gives other lights, light mediums, VTOL and cavalry armor the ability to hunt recon assets (if the opposing player has a screen) as well as putting a cost on getting that data- do you want your old Locust 1E to stand on that hill without moving for two turns when you know a Kit Fox is roaming around looking for scouts?  Or do you need to put more distance between you and any pursuit before you stand in the open on top of a hill?

Then you get recon in force efforts, which basically can be summed up as penetrating a screen and maybe drawing fire/response from the main body of troops before escaping back through the screen.  This can IMO be carried out by running two 'breakthrough' type scenarios- one to get in and the other to get out past the picket line.

Finally, recon elements and skirmishers would also be involved with another type of action . . . the ambush.  IMO light & medium mechs/vehs  and Inf/BA are more likely to be involved in ambushes than heavier units as part of a force movement.  Heavy & assault mechs should be in the main body of troops moving which leaves point, screen and flank patrols who have to faster than the main body to be the target of ambushes . . . which are good ways to get intel.  Screening forces that detect a recon element's effort to penetrate the picket lines can set up a ambush- or recon elements trying to break out back past the picket line- that could stop the information from getting back to the enemy's side.  IF mechs, armor or infantry are taken down in the kill zone, the attacking unit can search the fallen for information- heck even a close look at the uniforms can give you information- before having to get out before a enemy response (like artillery) arrives.

Which after the skirmishes you get to results . . . obviously if you can stand still the required amount its good . . . if you can stand there longer your sensors get a better look and should record any differences moment to moment.  I am not familiar with any of the RPG rules, but are there any opposing rolls systems for recon on a more strategic scale?  Both sides will have infantry, so there is also a chance they may post LPOPs for low-detection monitoring of specific areas.

Everyone always talks about wanting to get lighter forces involved and find ways to give light mechs & recon assets a place in the game- a strategic map campaign game is IMO where they can come into their own.
Colt Ward

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dgorsman

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #1 on: 10 March 2020, 12:08:30 »
Not really a big fan of a unit needing to stand still for scanning.  It's electronic and computer controlled, after all, so the pilot can mostly focus on piloting.  Just being at the far edge should be good enough to check the neighboring map grid (multiple grids at corners).  How many grids, and how much information is gathered, depends on how long they can stay in that area and what equipment is carried.  Provided the unit makes it back to HQ the information can be downloaded for analysis at leisure.

There's a need to counter "roaming stack of doom" techniques.  Perhaps over a certain number of formations in a map grid, artillery can be blind aimed and still hit targets.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #2 on: 10 March 2020, 12:10:03 »
There's a need to counter "roaming stack of doom" techniques.  Perhaps over a certain number of formations in a map grid, artillery can be blind aimed and still hit targets.

Huh?
Colt Ward

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dgorsman

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #3 on: 10 March 2020, 12:31:58 »
What's to stop one force from putting all their formations in one grid, and moving that or occupying a must-hold grid and staying there?  That prevents any units from reaching the other side of a map grid for scanning.  And to have any hope of defeating them tactically means doing the same.

So, once the number of formations in a map grid reaches a certain density, it becomes practical to start lobbing artillery at them even with specific target information because it will hit something.
Think about it.  It's what we do.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #4 on: 10 March 2020, 13:04:51 »
Well with a grid being 10 BT maps by 10, even stacking everything in one grid means I can still safely be in that grid and move to the 'edge' of their formation to see them.  They are the attacker, and with a front of . . . 50 BT maps in total? and a depth of 80 which makes up the 5 by 8 grids.

Since I am still looking for someone to sit on the opposite side of the map I do not want to discuss my counters or options, but my plans for the defense have taken into account the big bumbling blob . . . and I have some artillery.  The fact it will take the attacker different amounts of time for various force components to cross a grid, and its turn based to cross the grid (orders, action, concurrent battle, results) allows a response.  Which is why I am trying to figure out some fair strategic/tactical recon roles- if I can find out my opponent is doing the blob I can shift to block his axis of advance with heavier units and come up with more mischief.

It being MM, I have fought BN+ on each side . . . and a deliberate attack with a battalion plus marching down a 160 hex wide front allows a degree of tactical finesse.
Colt Ward

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Daryk

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #5 on: 10 March 2020, 19:12:50 »
AToW has the specific ranges of various remote sensors, and Remote Sensor Dispensers are totally your friends in this kind of scenario.

Col Toda

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #6 on: 11 March 2020, 08:03:14 »
In campaigns  I have been in methods of recon differ greatly unit to unit ERA by ERA . Generally  boils down to this .

Recon in force lance of Argus heavy mechs with RAC/5s on an active probe . Stock model best in the city . Anything faster than them tends to be out gunned and armored  anything that really outguns them tends to be slower and can be out run .

Embedded  Pegasus Scouts and such  going in cold with enough firepower that guarantees that even if you lose you do enough hardware and property  damage and destruction that it's a win in a war of attrition  .

Just launching a stealth Satellite   with the sides of your drop ship  set up to pick up the Satellite  point to point laser Com.  Its sensor package out to give you numbers of mobile assets if nothing else .

Boomerang conventional  aircraft with reco camera  is an old method  .

The standard recon lance .

Stealth battle armor drop remote sensors around the perimeter .

No doubt other methods exists .

AlphaMirage

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #7 on: 11 March 2020, 11:59:53 »
Yeah this seems like the natural terrain for Boomerangs, ground scouting has been out of style since the First World War.  That would take care of anything not hiding in a forest, cave, or building.  For those you would be well served for Locusts or something else but if this was my game I'd be taking spotter planes and artillery to blast enemies in the open with concealed infantry lying in ambush within woods.

Colt Ward

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #8 on: 11 March 2020, 13:44:10 »
. . . ground scouting has been out of style since the First World War.

LMAO . . . have to let the WWII & Vietnam Marine Recon, Vietnam Cav LRRPs, and current Cav scouts know that is the case.

The scenario as explicitly stated was discussing a limiter on LOS for VTOLs and using more advanced LOS rules to simulate masking terrain.  Boomerangs do not last when either side has ASF . . . or even artillery able to fire AA rounds.

Specifically discussed using mechs and vehicles for recon, particularly to discover the form of how the enemy is moving- what mechs are in the van, do they look damaged, what is the distance between the van and the body, and other details.  ELINT vs HUMINT have known, established problems . . . and the Boomerang and Sat suffer the ELINT problems.
Colt Ward

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Col Toda

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #9 on: 13 March 2020, 09:21:32 »
Nothing wrong with Aerospace and or Artillery  assets revealed and exposed by conventional aircraft use if you have Artillery  and perhaps LAMs or VTOLs to react to their use when they choose to expose them . Sadly the recon Camera works somewhat  on a 9 + roll because  people  can see the flight path and take steps not to be seen.  It is not what you find out that will kill you but what you think you know that will .

Calimehter

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Re: Sensors, Strategic Recon and the Tactical environment
« Reply #10 on: 26 March 2020, 09:56:00 »
Then you get recon in force efforts, which basically can be summed up as penetrating a screen and maybe drawing fire/response from the main body of troops before escaping back through the screen.  This can IMO be carried out by running two 'breakthrough' type scenarios- one to get in and the other to get out past the picket line.

Another option (vs. 2x breakthrough scenarios) would be to run a single Extraction scenario, with the extraction 'objective' being the intel you have to go in to retrieve and get back to base with . . . be it an actual physical piece (data drop from lone scouts, a recording from a remote sensor airdropped earlier, etc.) or even just a getting good scan or view of the next sector over thanks to your visit to the extraction objective hex. 

 

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