Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tips & Tricks: 10 Helpful Unit Order Tips And Tricks Everyone Should Know

Here are some helpful unit order tips and trick everyone should know! Wargame: Airland Battle is a very complex game, and the documentation isn't always complete, so a lot of players can play for months before figuring these out. If you are a beginner make sure you learn the keyboard shortcuts for unit orders, and customize them in the options to best suit you.

Thank you to my friends for helping me crowd source these tips. They are a great group of guys, who always have my back in game, and keep me laughing!


You can issue a queue of orders to a unit to be executed in sequence by holding down the shift button while issuing orders.


Right clicking on a FOB when you have a supply unit selected will tell it to move to the FOB, and resupply itself. This can be used with a queue of orders, for example - move fast to FOB -> resupply from FOB -> move fast back to the front line. This can also be used to tell a non-supply unit like a tank to move to a supply unit and resupply itself, but be careful doing so with a supply helicopter though as it will cause the supply helicopter to take off and move closer to the unit.


Holding down the control button while clicking on a unit in the deployment menu will automatically deploy a full group.


Holding down the shift button while placing a deploying unit will automatically duplicate the unit to be placed again.


You can choose the spawn sector a unit comes in through by placing the new unit in that sector, then once it flashes you can then click and drag it to where you want it to end up.


Shift right clicking two spots on the map will order a plane to keep flying a patrol between those two points.


You can queue attack orders for a plane by shift right clicking on a number of enemy planes. Add a shift evac order at the end to get your interceptors to automatically evac once the last plane is destroyed.


Issuing an attack order to a unit will cause it to move towards where you click and stop when within range to fire its weapons. This is extra helpful with kinetic weapon armed units, which might have to move closer than maximum range to damage a heavily armored unit.


Ordering a unit to reverse will allow it to move away from the enemy while still leaving it's better armored front facing the enemy. Queue this order after an attack order on a specific unit to have your unit automatically move forward, destroy the unit, then reverse back into cover.


Select a grouped unit, hit the split button, then right click somewhere on the map, and the unit will automatically split into individual units.

If you know of any tips I didn't cover here, leave them in the comments and I'll add them and give you credit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tactics: How to Attack Cities

So you're playing Wargame: Airland Battle and the enemy has turned a city into a stronghold, and you want them out! You order your infantry to assault the city, but against infantry in heavy cover that didn't go very well. You've tried dropping napalm on them, only to have your fragile, expensive, and low availability bombers shot down. You've tried screening the city with smoke, rushing APCs up to them, and unloading your troops into the heart of battle, only to have them inflict minimal damage before being destroyed. As a final desperate attempt, you've sent in flame tanks, only to have them torn apart by heavy ATGM infantry. After trying all of that you've decided all is lost, they got there first, and now nothing will get them out. So you've decided next game you will buy expensive helicopters to get your troops there first, only to have them get shot down by fighters at the start of the game. There must be an easier way right? Well there is!


- Infantry in heavy cover get a big defensive bonus from damage and suppression.
- Infantry in heavy cover are hard to spot from a distance, even if they are firing.
- Buildings & cities block line of sight, making it easy to hide soft units like air defense, resupply, and command vehicles behind the city.
- Buildings & cities are almost always along roads, making it easy to bring in reinforcements and resupply.


Taking cities is in my opinion easier than holding cities if you follow the correct method. The first thing you need to do is nothing, take your time, don't rush there with expensive fragile helicopters, just relax, contain the city with some tanks, and build up a combined arms force. People will rarely keep tanks in a city, thinking it's enough to hold it with infantry, leaving the infantry holding the city vulnerable. Here is what you are going to need to get the job done.


As with any attack, the first thing you will need is some anti-helicopter and anti-plane units to protect the rest of your attack force. It is very important that you don't forget this key piece of the combined arms puzzle, as air power can quickly put an end to an unprotected attack. Do this right, and you will quickly rack up some extra kills, as the enemy helicopters and planes get swatted out of the sky and crash and burn.


If there are ATGM infantry in heavy cover or an enemy counter attack from the flanks, you will need the smoke and suppression these units provide. The enemy will think they are safe with some heavy ATGM infantry protecting a city, but suppression and smoke will quickly render them ineffective. Remember units panicked by suppression are about 8 times less effective than calm units.


Infantry is crucial for getting close and spotting enemy infantry for the rest of your units. Split them up into single squads, and send them slightly ahead of the rest of your units to engage the infantry holding the city , this will cause them fire back and be spotted by your other units. Whether you walk your infantry to the city, or rush them to the edge in APCs will depend on the situation, but I usually prefer to walk them in, and have the APCs/IFVs provide supporting fire from a distance. Once you have used line infantry to empty a city sector on the edge, you can then send in special forces to occupy it, but this isn't required as line infantry should be able to handle the job when supported by your other units.


Tanks are the MOST important part of this method. They provide the massive amount of firepower to destroy whatever is in the city, and you should have lots of them! You really can't have enough of them while using this method. With your infantry engaging and spotting the infantry holding the city, your tanks are going to do the real damage to them using the high explosives of their main guns. Since the enemy won't have any tanks in the city it will be a one sided battle in your favor, and you will be amazed at how quickly the city will be cleared out. Once the city is cleared the tanks will then rush forward and destroy all the soft units hidden behind the city, and hopefully then breakthrough to the enemies rear. Engineering tanks like the CEV, assault guns, and low cost tank destroyers also work very well in this role as their large high explosive values will quickly destroy infantry even with their cover bonus. The best part of all of this is the city will itself protect your tanks from the enemy by blocking line of sight to them. Make sure you have plenty of supplies available, as tanks attacking infantry in cities will go through their ammo quickly.


Another great tactic that fits perfectly into this method is cutting a city off from resupply before taking it. Some heavy tanks or ATGM units in cover on the flanks of the city overlooking to roads into it can prevent reinforcements or resupply vehicles from reaching the city. Without reinforcements and resupply a city will quickly whither on the vine, and be much easier to take.


1) - Chaparrals and I-Hawks for air defense.
2) - Paladin and MLRS for suppression and smoke (you probably wouldn't want them to actually be this close to the city).
3) - Riflemen in close enough to engage infantry in the city in order to spot them for the tanks.
4) - Abrams and CEVs to blast spotted infantry with their main weapons.
5) - Super Chinook for resupply of air defense and tanks.


Here is an example of a Vasterbotten replay for you to see the method in practice. Watch as PACT attacks the center city with about 35:00 left on the clock. Although the two sides weren't matched as far as experience, it is none the less a good example of a successful city attack and subsequent break through. Vasterbotten Replay

That's all for now. Now get out there and take some cities back!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tactics: Attacking with a Cat A US Army Deck (Part 1 of 3)

NOTE: The following article is written within the context of 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 total destruction games in Wargame: Airland Battle.

I often hear people in the Wargame: Airland Battle community talk of the game mechanics favoring defense, or that after the initial rush, games tend to revert to trench warfare. I believe this is mostly due to use of trench warfare tactics, and not modern methods of force employment. I will from here forward refer to trench warfare tactics as "the old method", and modern methods of force employment as "the new method".

In the first part of this series I will describe the old and new methods of attacking. In the second part I'll show you my Desert Storm themed US Army deck, and describe how each unit fits into the new method of attacking. Finally in the third part I'll show you examples of the new method in use and provide some replays of the new method being used.


The two most common methods of attack I see people using are either a mass of tanks/infantry advancing in the open, or by trying to find gaps in the coverage of a forces combined arms (for example attacking with helos hoping the defender doesn't have enough air defense units or ammo to stop them). The latter is easily defended against by using a tight combined arms defense, and adequate logistics, often only effects a small point increase, or risks more than the reward. Advancing with a mass of tanks/infantry in the open quite often fails against a prepared defense due to the huge lethality of modern weapons systems modeling in the game. Exposure to this lethality can be reduced by using the new method.


The new method involves using cover, dispersion, combined arms, and suppression to reduce your attacking force's exposure to the huge lethality of modern weapon systems.


You might ask why attack, when I can just defend, and subject my opponent to the huge lethality of modern weapon systems? The answer is because with the new system you can use the reduced exposure to take objectives that will put your opponent at a disadvantage or remove an advantage they have such as denying a spawn point, or denying command points, or denying movement along a road or other avenue of approach, all the while causing more kill points than losses. Attacking is also more fun, and sooner or later everyone will be in a position where they will need to attack in order to win. Once you can effectively attack, there will be no where for the enemy to hide.


Cover is anything that will either prevent a unit from being spotted, or block a weapon's line of sight to that unit. You should try to have cover for all of your units all of the time, except in the cases where they are moving from cover to cover using the other exposure reduction methods. If you think a units cover has been blown after the unit or it's firing has been spotted, move the unit to another location to keep it's location unknown. Smoke is a way of producing your own cover that is NOT used enough.


Dispersion is keeping units spread out to reduce the effectiveness of weapons such as bombs or artillery that can effect an area, thus reducing the weapons effectiveness. This becomes especially important when using cover, as massing units in one area of cover can greatly increase the effectiveness of these types of weapons for your enemy as it is often obvious which areas of cover are being using. You don't want a single powerful bomb destroying your entire attacking force. Dispersion also directly leads to your force having areas of crossfire, which will help deny the defending force some of their cover. Using dispersion and cover should be easier for a Cat A US deck, since you'll have fewer expensive units in your force.


Combined arms is often in a simple way compared to a game of rock paper scissors. For example you might attack with your tanks, but the enemy can send attack helicopters to make quick work of them, so air defense is needed close by to shoot down the helicopters. Another example would be tanks attacking, and the enemy defending with ATGM infantry in buildings, which the tanks won't be able to spot until they are destroyed, so infantry and recon are needed to spot or destroy the threat. A tight and effective combined arms force will project a controlling bubble of influence on an area of the map. When I have a force occupying a portion of the map, I think to myself have I got RITAS?


RITAS stands for recon, infantry, tanks, air defense, and suppression. All these types of units are important for a tight bubble of combined arms that the enemy can't easily penetrate. Keep asking yourself is my combined arms bubble complete with RITAS?


Suppression is the effect on unit effectiveness modeled in the game by unit stunning, and unit morale. More often than not suppressing a unit will stun it for a few seconds, and cause that unit to become panicked for about 60 seconds depending on the level of experience of that unit. Why is being panicked such a bad thing? Well a panicked unit's accuracy is reduced by 50%, and the reload time is increased by 400%. So a panicked unit will be about 8 times less effective than if it were calm, making it almost completely useless. This is why weapons that don't really kill, but stun and panic are so important, my favorite of which happens to be the M270 MLRS which can quite often panic all of the enemy units in an entire area of the map. If you can suppress the enemy, then the lethality of the units able to shoot at your units while they move from cover to cover will be reduced, and your units will quickly be able to destroy the panicked enemy while remaining calm. I not care if there is a grouping of 3 T80U tanks in front of me, if it's suppressed I can kill it easily. Of course suppression works both ways, and if your attacking force becomes suppressed you will most often want to fall back, and try again after they have shaken off the effects of the suppression. If the enemy is using artillery to suppress your units in the same way, use yours in superior numbers to counter battery the enemies artillery.




You will keep a tight combined arms force dispersed in cover, while using suppression on 1) - visible enemy units that pose a threat, 2) - known enemy locations, or 3) - obvious pieces of cover that you think are being used by the enemy or that you want to occupy, in order to either destroy that enemy or to move into new cover and further project a tight combined arms bubble in the direction of your objectives.

That's all for now, stay tuned for part 2!

Red Dragon Unit of the Day: USSR Tor

The USSR Tor has been confirmed for Red Dragon. The 9K330 Tor is basically a replacement for the OSA, and most likely it will have a faster RoF, more accuracy, more damage, and 8 missiles. You should also expect the Soviet Navy in Red Dragon to be equipped with Tor missiles.

The Tor should make an excellent addition to the already solid family of Soviet air defense units.

Red Dragon Unit of the Day: Leopard 2A5

Germany's Leopard 2A5 has been confirmed for Red Dragon. The main difference between the 2A4, and the 2A5 is an upgrade of it's frontal armor with add on wedge shaped armor designed to defeat HEAT weapons, improvement to the armor composition, and stronger side skirts.

What do you guys think the new armor values will be for the Leopard 2A5 (assuming they don't change the scale of amor values from ALB)?

Red Dragon Unit of the Day: AH-64D Apache Longbow

The AH-64D Apache Longbow has been confirmed for Red Dragon. Check out those 16 Hellfire missiles! One thing we know is this will probably be one of the most expensive units in Red Dragon, but what we don't know is what affect the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar mounted above the rotors will have on the units attributes. Will it be given better optics due to the updated sensor suite, or will it be given stealth due to the in real life ability to hover behind cover while acquiring targets and shooting it's missiles?

What do you guys think?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Game Mechanics: Kinetic & HEAT Damage

One of the most often misunderstood game mechanics of Wargame: Airland Battle are the damage effects of kinetic and HEAT weapons. In this post I'll try to clear up the differences between the two, and provide the approximate formulas so you will be able to easily, and quickly do the calculations yourself, or at least know the general advantages of each type of weapon.


Before we begin lets go over some of the unit attributes we'll need to be able to calculate the damage.

KE/HEAT: This tells you which behavior the weapon follows, and thus which formula to use.

AP POWER: The armor piercing capability of the weapon.

ARMOR: The toughness of the front/side/back/top of the armor.

RANGE-GROUND: The max range of the weapon against ground targets.

STRENGTH: The amount of damage the vehicle has left before it will be destroyed. Stored as a floating point number (decimal), but displayed as a whole number.


Kinetic weapons, denoted in the game with the [KE] attribute, are the game's way of modeling kinetic energy penetrators. These weapons fire a long skinny rod of heavy metal that penetrates the enemy vehicle using kinetic energy which are related to the mass and velocity of the round fired. Once the rod penetrates the armor, the heat and pressure from penetration and small flakes of the metal called sprall are sprayed inside the vehicle destroying everything inside.

The formula for kinetic damage looks like this,

((AP POWER - ARMOR) / 2) + 1

The bad thing about kinetic weapons is that the AP POWER must exceed the targets ARMOR to do any damage at all. However the good part about kinetic weapons is that for every 175m closer to the enemy vehicle you are from the RANGE-GROUND (max range), the AP POWER goes up by one. So a kinetic weapon with an AP POWER of 15 at a max range of 2100m will have an AP POWER of 27 at 0m. This scaling of AP POWER combined with the scaling of chance to hit make kinetic weapons very powerful at closer ranges.

Lets go over some examples of a M1IP vs T72 at different ranges to illustrate this scaling. Note that chance to hit eventually scales to almost 100% at point blank range, but I won't be covering those mechanics in this post.

Here are the stats of the M1IP and T72 in the order of AP POWER/ARMOR/RANGE-GROUND. M1IP - 15/17/2100m
T72 - 13/11/1925m

Example #1 M1IP vs T72 @1925m:

At this range the M1IP has an AP of 16 instead of 15, because it is 175m closer than it's max range, while the T72 is at max range so nothing gets added to it's AP.

The damage done to the T72 by the M1IP would be ((16 - 11) / 2) + 1 = 3.5

The damage done to the M1IP by the T72 would be nothing because it's AP POWER of 13 at this range does not exceed the ARMOR of 17.

Example #2 M1IP vs T72 @ 350m:

At this range the M1IP has an AP of 25 instead of 15, and the T72 has an AP of 22 instead of 13.

The damage done to the T72 by the M1IP would be ((25 - 11) / 2) + 1 = 8

The damage done to the M1IP by the T72 would be ((22 - 17) / 2) + 1 = 3.5

So if you are the M1IP you want to keep the T72s at long distance where you have the advantage, and if you are the T72 you want to deploy smoke and get up really close to where you have a better chance. NOTE: The T72 has almost half the accuracy of the M1IP, so another reason it 's better to get up close is because chance to hit scales down to almost 100% at closer ranges.


HEAT weapons, denoted in the game with the [HEAT] attribute, are the game's way of modeling high explosive anti-tank weapons. These weapons use a shaped charge to create a hypersonic stream of molten metal to penetrate the armor, and then do horrible things to whatever is inside.

HEAT weapons use the same formula for damage as kinetic weapons, but with a few important differences.
1) - AP POWER does NOT scale with range, and always stays the same.
2) - They do a minimum of 1 point of damage, even if the AP POWER does not exceed the ARMOR.
3) - When their AP POWER is 11 or more greater than the ARMOR, the AP POWER greater than 11 does full damage instead of being divided by 2.

So the formulas are,

If the AP POWER is less than the ARMOR then the damage is 1.

If AP POWER is more than 11 greater than ARMOR the formula is,

AP POWER - ARMOR - 10 + 6

otherwise the formula is,

((AP POWER - ARMOR) / 2) + 1

Lets go over some examples.

Example #1 Light Riflemen hitting a T80U:
AP POWER is less than ARMOR, but the damage is still 1

Example #2 Konkurs hitting a M1IP:
((20 - 17) / 2) + 1 = 2.5

Example #3 Konkurs hitting a M2 Bradley:
20 - 2 - 10 + 6 = 14 (INSTANT KILL since damage of 14 is greater than the Bradley's strength of 10)


So what have we learned from this? Even weak kinetic weapons can be devastating at close range, and even the weakest HEAT weapon can still do a little damage to the mighty T80U.

Also worth mentioning is the special cases of ARMOR 0 and 1. These armor values are considered unarmored, so receive a 4 times damage modifier to what you get above. This really illustrates how important armor 2 is, and also how important top armor 2+ can be against artillery and cluster bombs.

Now that you've done all that complicated math, let me show you the cheat sheet! Someone has been nice enough to make a damage spreadsheet so you'll never have to do the math again!