Let's say that you managed to get to the part where you can select your troops to crush the capitalist pigs (or dirty communists). Now, you just bought 12 batteries of the finest artillery your selected nation can offer, as well as 5 flights of jets and helicopters. Now that you have clicked the start button, you want to start raining fiery hell on you enemies. And then it hits you.
You don't know what to do.
This guide is here to help new players in better understanding not only how to use fire support, but also to use it effectively.
Fire Support Edit
Fire support supplements direct fire (firing ordnance directly at a target in line-of-sight) with indirect fire (firing ordnance in a ballistic arc or dropping/firing ordnance from an aircraft). This can protect and assist ground forces by permitting attacks against targets behind terrain/obstructions or in defilade. It can also be used to suppress return fire and screen movements.
Used well it can greatly magnify the effectiveness of a military unit.
Using Fire Support Edit
TRPs (or target reference points) are points at the map where when a fire mission is requested, the nearer the target area is to the TRP, the faster it arrives.
To place a TRP, at the deployment menu, click the TRP button (at the far top right). Then left-click anywhere on the map. Consider where you place your TRPs carefully, as you cannot change them during the course of a battle (in real-life TRPs are usually scouted in advance and pre-ranged) and you only have a limited number depending on how many artillery units you have brought.
Artillery support is often provided by howitzers (for medium-range engagements) and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (for long-range engagements). Naval gun support is also classified similarly.
To use it:
- Click the Fire Support button below the LOS button.
- Now that a window has popped up, click the New Fire Mission button. Notice that a new fire mission has appeared on your list and the setting at the center of the window can be used.
- Okay, now that you have your fire mission selected, you can now begin to edit the parameters of the mission:
- The length and width of the target area.
- The type of ammunition to be used. (HE, DPICM, Smoke).
- How many tubes (artillery pieces) to be used for that fire mission.
- How many volleys, or rather how many times each tube fires.
- Whether if it fires when ready or at your command.
- After you have set the parameters to your liking, left click the target button. A yellow area will appear on your view of the battlefield.
- Left click where you want your fire mission to be placed. Wait for the timer. The timer is there to simulate the time taken to train the guns at the target. When the timer runs out, the fire mission will fire or, if you selected it to fire at your command, a message will display, saying that the fire mission is ready.
- If you set the fire mission to fire at your command, click the fire support button then select your fire mission, then click fire. You can also click the fire all button, firing all available fire missions. Fire missions can be used repeatedly without the timer unless you have changed the target. When you no longer need the said fire mission, simply click cancel. You may also call multiple fire missions at the same time, given you have enough remaining tubes.
Mortars are short-range tube artillery. Where Howitzer/MLRS/Naval Gun support is usually on-call at regimental or brigade level, mortar units can often be made available directly to battalion or company-level.
- Select the mortar. Then click the IF button on the menu that pops up.
- Select the type of ammo, whether it be HE-FRAG, Smoke or Illumination rounds.
- Now that you have selected the kind of ammo to be used, you then go to the main window, where you target where the mortar will fire. You cannot set the target area.
- Now that it has its target set, it will begin adjusting and loading. For this, you must wait.
- A message will appear, saying your mortar is ready to fire.
- Select the mortar unit. Click the IF button then select whether to fire for effect, in which it will fire off all rounds of that type of ammunition, or to fire one round. You can hold fire and cancel the mortar fire mission as well.
Spotting: Note that mortars are more effective when they have LOS to the target. Or if in defilade, they will be more effective if there is another unit (preferably a well-hidden reconnaissance unit) with LOS able to spot the fall of their rounds.
Air Support Edit
Close Air Support provided by Aircraft and helicopters add an extra dimension to the battlefield, ground commanders the ability to conduct precision strikes against the heaviest protected targets.
The disadvantages of Air Support are decreased total ordnance and short loiter times (particularly for fast jets). In a modern SAM-heavy environment the fragility of air units means that they cannot be used alone, and depend on ground forces identifying and eliminating enemy anti-air units.
- To use them, click the FS button at the right.
- A window will pop up. At the right, there is a list of available air support you can use. Click one of them. If you selected a helicopter support mission, go to step 4. Otherwise, go on to step 3.
- Now, you will go onto the main window. Click where you want your air support to rain leaden fury onto unsuspecting enemies. Wait for the timer to count down.When it has counted down, aircraft will automatically enter the field of battle. Air support can be called on again after a waiting time, to simulate the time it takes for the aircraft to fly home and refuel and reload.
- If you have selected a helicopter support mission, it is not as simple. After selecting the support mission, you will be prompted to place Battle Position 1 (or BP1). Left click on the map. Afterwards, you will be prompted to place TRP 1. The battle position is where the helicopters of that support mission will fly to. The TRP is the area in which they will look for enemy units.
- Afterwards, a timer will count down. When it has counted down, select the helicopter support mission. It will prompt you to left click to move it to its BP1. You may do this at anytime, unless the mission timer has not finished yet. You may select it again to move it to its BP2. Helicopter missions have only 2 BPs.
Note that air units require time to fly from their holding positions to their battle positions. Also, if enemy air is present, friendly air units will naturally prioritise protecting themselves against these.
Artillery Tactics Edit
While artillery is a helpful asset, never substitute a good strategy for massive amounts of support. Be prepared, and integrate support into your grand plan.
Second, artillery support is often used in warfare not to destroy, but rather to suppress enemy units and reduce their effectiveness. Savvy commanders will use artillery to soften enemy prepared positions before assaults, or to break up an attacking formation.
Artillery can also fire obscuring smoke to screen friendly maneuvers.
The effectiveness of artillery also depends on the ammunition choice; it is important to identify targets and match up the appropriate ammunition to the enemy formation.
- HE - High Explosive rounds are where the majority of the shell volume is explosive. This type of bombardment useful against softer-skinned vehicles. However, heavily-armored vehicles such as MBTs tend to be resistant to all but direct hits on thinner top armor. The density of the bombardment is lower when compared to DPICM, which makes this round less useful against infantry.
- DPICM - Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition. This type of round explodes in the air and rains down smaller bomblets onto the target area. A portion of the bomblets are fragmentation rounds, and the rest are shaped-charge HE (with standoff detonator probes) for armor-piercing. The armor-piercing ability is limited by the relatively small explosive content and is typically only effective against thin-skinned vehicles such as APCs and IFVs. The density of bomblets makes this type of bombardment most effective against infantry and mechanized infantry.
- Smoke - Upon detonation, this type of ammo releases a smoke cloud (usually white phosphorus), which may move depending on wind direction and dissipates after a while. Useful for obscuring line of sight. Other kinds of artillery ammo may produce dust clouds upon detonation, but these are not effective as obscurants compared to WP. This bombardment is typically useful for screening assaults against prepared positions, obscuring enemy artillery spotters, or to cover retreating forces.
- Illumination - This type of ammo illuminates the surrounding area using magnesium parachute flares. Often used in night engagements to illuminate suspected areas where enemy units reside. Note that the illuminating source will blow with the wind, so check wind direction and strength before choosing target area.
Mortars in Armored Brigade equip three kinds of ammo: HE-FRAG, similar to the explosion of a FRAG grenade but larger, Smoke, and Illumination rounds.
Aside from setting target reference points or battle areas, aircraft will select targets and allocate weapons autonomously.
Before calling in an airstrike:Edit
Use your ground forces to identify and neutralize (or suppress) enemy air-defenses, paying particular attention to approach corridors and battle positions.
When the aircraft has arrived:Edit
Arrival of air units will inevitably flush out enemy AA units. Identify the positions that your air is taking fire from and use your ground forces or artillery to neutralize or suppress these positions.
Aircraft will naturally tend to focus on SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) before engaging other targets, so if your ground and artillery can take care of that for them, they will be able to spend more time (and munitions) on attacking targets that are more of a threat to your ground forces.
Fast jets will attack with high-speed passes across the length of the map, initially concentrating on identification of targets (skilled use of recon assets will reduce the amount of time they need to do this) and SEAD.
- Guided munitions (for stand-off attack) will involve an approach and peel off once the weapon has been released. Examples include Paveway, JDAM, Maverick.
- Unguided munitions (bombs) can require riskier overflights of troop concentrations. Examples include Mark-82, Rockeye.
- Strafing runs are made when all other ordnance has been exhausted. Fixed-wing aircraft typically only carry enough ammunition for a few passes.
They will continue their attacks until either all munitions have been expended (radio call "winchester"), they only have enough fuel to return to base (radio call "bingo"), or are damaged/destroyed.
Also keep in mind the probability for the aircraft to become permanently unavailable after each pass is 20%, representing external factors like enemy air or missile interception, weather, or orders change.
Helicopters will fly in from the allocated entry-exit point and make for the first battle position (BP). They will be vulnerable to hidden AA units along this flight corridor, so plan accordingly and make effective use of reconnaissance. They will take station at the battle position and attack towards the allocated TRP for that position.
Spotter helicopters (such as OH-58s) are often unarmed but provide spotting capability over obstacles, either in support of ground forces, artillery, or other air units. This can permit use of stand-off munitions with reduced exposure of the firing units.
Note that helicopters will need to be ordered to proceed to their next battle position from the FS menu, and will be vulnerable along their transit corridor.
Scatterable mine systems enable the commander to emplace minefields in enemy held terrain or in others areas where it is not possible to emplace conventional minefields. Mines can force the enemy into kill zones, change their direction of attack, spend time in clearing operations, or take evasive actions. Scatterable minefields are delivered by artillery and therefore laid without a clear pattern. They have their own target reference points (separate from artillery TRPs) which are only placed before the battle starts. It is very important to note that mines cannot be deployed outside of their TRPs. Mines are deployed during the game by selecting mine ammunition (if available) from fire support screen. These are less effective against heavily armored targets.