Smash and Dash

The following screen shots are from a work-in-progress mission in ArmA II using the CDF against the Russian Insurgents. The premise is a surprise air assault at platoon strength against an airfield held by the enemy. The area of operations will be prepared by rocket fired artillery from a battery of three Grads, as well as covered by a flight of Su-25’s.

The platoon will embark on four separate Mi-17’s and parachute into a clearing just to the southwest of the airfield, where they will form at a designated location before commencing the sweep of the airfield. This platoon is going up against approximately four mechanized infantry squads outfitted with BMP-2’s. Once the airfield is swept of insurgents, the platoon will board the helicopters for a fast extraction.

As with any endeavor in the ArmA-verse as it is, the grandest plan can be cut short by an errant piece of coding, a trigger that does not fire when or as expected and above all else, combat-paralysis among your troops if led by an AI commander. Such as it is however, I have yet to find a better all-around sandbox editor/game in which to conduct my own private wars.

The primary area of operations: The drop zone, the forming-up point and three objective sectors ending with the extraction zone.

Prior to liftoff the platoon receives final instructions in the airfield hanger.

The Su-25 flight crosses over the airfield while the Grad battery opens up a can of HE whoop-ass on the Insurgency.

Air assault via some relics the Chernarus Defense Ministry picked up at an Army Navy surplus store in Scottsdale, AZ.

If these things could only hold together one more flight…

The air assault commences as the Grad battery launches the second salvo towards the area of operations.

I had to use the HCA (Helicopter Avoidance) script to keep from having a Blackhawk Down moment.

I put in a request for “Ride of the Valkyries” but all they were playing this day was a remix of "Somebody That I Used to Know" by that Gotye prick.

The platoon on the final approach to the drop zone as the second round of Grad rockets falls on the airfield. The third and final volley is already leaving the rails as we get the green light.

This is where ArmA could shine: If the developer would create a rail system where the helicopter will fly exactly where you tell it to in the editor, at the specified height with zero deviation for combat or anything else which could spoil an epic parachute invasion.

This specific mission requires a troop strength greater than 25 souls at each task objective to be successfully completed, which makes a parachute entry all the more of a dicey proposition (I tried landing the helicopters, and even with the HCS script it was a bloody disasterpiece).

I land 216 meters from the forming-up point, but because the Team Leader was the first out of the door (remember the Army Navy surplus from Scottsdale?), it was “Oh no you’re not going directly to the FUP!”

Before we ever make it to the FUP, sufficient force strength triggers the assault and we receive our orders from Crossroads. My squad, caught out in the open cow paddies, must make their way across more open field to the first sector.

I get pissed off waiting for my Team Leader to finish his "Dear Sarah We Are in the Shit Now" letter and sprint ahead to some more organized squads where we encounter the first mechanized Insurgent squad that was decimated by the Grad battery fire.

Just past this sector we encounter some enemy fire from across the airstrip. Somebody survived the rocket fire! These were the only rounds that would come down range at me today (other than Gotye).

Crossroads informs us that Sector 1 is clear and to move out. At this point it becomes apparent this could have simply been an artillery fire mission, however the King wanted boots on the ground up north to freak out the rebels.

Now here would be a nice place to have some preregistered mortar fire to make us pay for the incursion.

Rinse and repeat: Off to the extraction zone.

Note the soldiers clipping through the wall at the left. It is still one of the best combined arms games ever made though.

Let’s get out of here Bob before we receive some of that preregistered mortar fire!

And we are off…

One of the hardest things to do in any Operation Flashpoint or ArmA game is to strike a working balance between what is a realistic mission and what is an enjoyable mission. In this run through I did not fire my weapon once, healed one soldier and lifted off with the platoon virtually intact.

That in and of itself would have gotten some Captain an instant battlefield promotion to God on High, but in the world of video games where there is so much user content to be downloaded for this brand, it is sadly lacking in the entertainment department.

Once I add in some surprises and finish off the briefing, I will put this out on some of the community sites for download. As it is right now, it is not ready for prime time.

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