AeroTech Tactics guidelines

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AeroTech Tactics guidelines

Postby Euphonium » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:46 am

Copied from the forums archive.
Original Author: Trace Coburn

Tactical Essentials of Aerotech 2 Fighter Combat
AKA: The Dicta Coburn

What follow are the compiled 'Mantras' of Aerotech 2 fighter combat - though perhaps Commandments might be a better word. These points are not numbered; this is deliberate, as each one is as vitally important as any of the others, as are the details of each point. Remember them all, and you'll have as good a chance as anybody playing the game. Forget one of them, and you will pay the price. Cry Forget them all, and God couldn't save your ass. Angry

I don't care if you're a Clanner, a Spheroid, a Priff-rat, a merc, or a frickin' Tetatae: never, EVER leave your wingmate. The contract between you and him is that if you protect his back, he'll protect yours. A mutually supporting wing-pair of fighters is a thorny tactical problem for an attacker; an ASF operating on its own is pleading for a bleeding, and barring a miracle it'll get its wish. Pilots need to look out for enemy fighters trying to manoeuvre against their wingmates, as well as against themselves; if someone gets a favourable firing angle against your wingmate, axiomatically you should get one on him and make him pay for it.


As an extension of the above: when fielding a whole squadron, the three (or more) wing-pairs therein must look out for each other at all times once the furball starts - this is essential, not optional. If one element gets isolated and destroyed, you've got that much less firepower left to deal with the rest of the bad guys. Stick close to each other, don't go haring off on some cowboy solo run, and let the other guy make the dumb mistakes - like breaking up his formation.
On the flip-side of the above, if you can catch an enemy wing-pair (or even a single plane) on its own, or if you can separate it from its companions, do so and kill it without hesitation or compunction. The faster you cut down the odds, the faster you'll win the fight.

Another facet of mutual support; CLG isn't only for BattleMechs. Wing-pairs that aren't having to watch each others' backs should put all their fire on the same target and try to put it out of the fight quickly. If a squadron of six Corsairs scatters their fire across a squad of six Transgressors, they'll likely damage all six, but not enough to put any of them out of the fight completely; if those same six Corsairs concentrate their fire on only two of those Transgressors, admittedly they'll give the other four a free ride, but those given two will likely be disabled in one or two exchanges, reducing a nasty 6 v. 6 'fair fight' to a much-more-preferable 6 v. 4, in which one or the other Cappy wing-pair will find itself double-teamed by the Corsair pairs, depending on their relative threat indices. Fair fights are for losers; a smart pilot cheats every chance he gets.
If you can arrange a cooperative engagement, with fire-support platforms on the fringes of the fight adding their throw-weight to your cause, do it. The more those fire-support birds soften up the target(s), the easier it (they) will be to kill when you engage it (them) directly.

BattleMechs can afford to overheat, to a certain degree; fighters cannot. The 'Random Movement' rolls on the heat-scale can be the difference between making your planned attack run and blundering right into a Stuka's field of fire, and the importance of the 'to hit' modifiers is self-evident, so avoid them whenever you can.

When you launched, you were given a job to do: "protect the bombers", "kill that DropShip", whatever. This is your only concern during the sortie. If you're in a Stingray and you've been assigned to escort a flight of Rievers, you cannot and do not go swanning off to mix it up with a Transit just because it's there; leave it alone and stick to your job of protecting the bombers. If you go off and kill a pair of Transits solo, but someone smoked a bomber you were supposed to be protecting, you lost your battle. Gloryhounds get medals because they do something stupid and are lucky enough not to get caught out; Murphy is just waiting to punish those who take unnecessary chances - so lead him not into temptation. Believe me, he can find it well enough on his own already.

Do your job, then go home. If you're assigned to knock down a DropShip in atmosphere and you do it in two passes, don't make a third 'to make sure'; all you'll do it waste ammo on a target you've already mission-killed while running the risk of getting blown away by the defensive batteries or bounced by enemy fighters. The less time you spend in hostile airspace, the less chance you have of getting smoked by some hotshot interceptor-jock, so "get in - hit hard - get out!"

Know your bird's strengths and weaknesses; exploit the former, cover the latter as best you can; never accept battle on the enemy's terms. Cheetahs have no business trying to shoot up DropShips; Chippewas should never get into turning fights with enemy interceptors. Use your plane for the mission it's suited to and only do other stuff if there's nobody available who can do it better.
Never stay in another plane's forward fire-arc if you can manoeuvre to his flanks, or better get behind him; wing and rear armour in almost invariably weaker than the nose's, and his sternward arsenal is rarely a match for your forward-facing guns.
If you're in a Shilone with an LRM-20 and large laser, and the other guy has a Transit with quad MLs and an AC/20, don't get into a knife-fight with him: stand off and kill him from Long or Medium range, where he can't reach you. If you're the Transit driver, grab the other guy by his belt-buckle, haul him into the phone-booth with you, and don't let him extend.
If you've got a pair of Stingrays and you're offered a Stingray and a Lucifer as targets, don't get into a fight with the other F-90; the Lucifer will give him fire-support and you'll get smoked. Blow away the Lucifer instead; it's slower and thinner-skinned, making it a softer kill, and if you take all that fire-support out of the equation, the other Stingray will be a much easier target.

Once it turns into a furball, only stick with a single target for as long as it's safe to keep trying to kill that one alone; if you tunnel-vision on the guy in front of you, someone will get behind you and you'll meet the same fate. You'll either kill your target, or someone will threaten your flanks or aft; when either happens, break off your pursuit and look for another victim, preferably one that doesn't know you're there - a wandering singleton is perfect.
"Only turn to kill; otherwise, run away and fight another guy" - only chase someone if you can do it safely, without their reversing on you (if they're more agile) or some of his buddies coming after you. Never try to turn with an aircraft that has a better thrust-profile than you do; make one attack pass on him, then blow through him before he can react and find someone else to beat up, preferably someone slower and easier to kill.

This was raised during the discussion of the original posting: there will be times when strict adherence to one or more of these rules will be more dangerous than violating it/them - or indeed, when these rules will actively contradict each other. Unfortunately, the only way you can judge the difference between 'acceptable breach' and 'catastrophic brain-fire' is during the post-mission debriefing, and you only learn to do so through constant training and actual experience, so until you accumulate the necessary nouse, trial-and-error (in exercises) and sheer gut-instinct often have to serve in their stead: this is called taking a 'calculated risk'. The rule of thumb would be that, if what you're planning to do would prompt your CO to take you aside for the following conversation if you survive it, you might want to think it over once more:
CO: "You really believe in taking risks, don't you?" Ticked Off
You: "Calculated ones!" Undecided
CO: "Calculated on what - your fingers?" Ugly & Stupid Whap

Remember: have a plan. Have an alternate plan. Be prepared for the plan(s) not to work.

Well, this concludes "The Mantras". Undecided Laugh at my pomposity if you wish; lampoon my gravity if you will; forget these rules at your peril.
>>>>[I used to be against the idea of Mind Control Lasers, but now we've got them I can't imagine how I ever lived without them]<<<<

>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<
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