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Mission building guidance

Prangster is the Resident Expert on Battle of Stalingrad mission designing and building. He will impart his great wisdom within the hallowed halls of this room.

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Eddie
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Eddie »

What I found during my mission building in 1946 was that if you wanted something to happen as you wanted, you had to make a reason for that.
For example you want the flight to fly low, tell them they need to stay under the radar, you want them to fly high, put some clouds low so they have to fly above them (who is gonna fly right above a cloud layer?).

And if you just want to kill them, create a bombing run on the airfield just as they spawn... Worked every single time😎


If you just say fly at 5000ft, of course people are going to ignore it, because it puts them at a disadvantage with seemingly no reason.
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Silk
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Silk »

Before I start, please forgive the tone of this post if you find it in any way condescending. It is not in any way meant to be so, but I am not good at teaching and have frequently been told that my attempts to do so end up sounding that way.

I guess that turnabout is fair play, so here is some guidance for in-game squadron commanders from someone that has actually given military briefings, has helped to prepare others and has listened to many of them. Those that have served operationally will understand what I’m getting at. This is in no way meant in a derogatory way to any that haven’t. We all have a massive respect for the generation that we’re emulating in playing this game whether or not we’ve had military experience of our own and I believe that this should carry on to our attitude to each other.

Firstly, the purpose of a mission brief is not only to let the unit know what they will be doing, where and when, but how they should be doing it while fitting in to the overall plan for the sector that they are operating in. Obviously, this is not much of a concern in a game, but in real life it is critical. Plans for each day’s operations will likely have been prepared in minute detail right down to where each unit is supposed to be at what time. The where in aerial missions is a three-dimensional coordinate for very good reasons that may not be explained in the brief, but would be expected to be adhered to by operational command authorities. For instance, you may not be told why you are expected to be heading in a certain direction at a certain time at a certain altitude, but if you were to be anywhere else in the sky but there it is quite possible that you would be fired on by friendly AAA units or other friendly Squadrons that had been briefed to expect you in a certain place at a certain time.

Secondly, Operational briefings are not meant as guidance, they are meant as orders. All appearances to the contrary a lot of effort goes into combining all the elements of an overall tactical plan so that the end result may be achieved. This includes combining all of the various armed services present in theatre in a way that makes the overall tactical situation as simple as possible to friendly forces whilst causing maximum disruption to enemy forces. If units break from the overall plan and get out of position or do not adhere to timings as closely as possible then the plan starts to break down and the result of this can be cumulative. Military history is littered with examples of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time because they did not follow their briefing plan and many of those instances have ended in tragedy.

Thirdly, I suspect that for many folks the responsibilities and place in the overall scheme of things for the military ranks that we tend to emulate are somewhat overestimated. For instance, a Squadron Leader in the RAF is the equivalent rank to a Major (Company Commander) in the army while a Wing Commander is the equivalent rank to a Lt Colonel (Battalion Commander) in the army. Neither of these ranks would be sufficient to have very much, if any, say in how operations would be conducted or to change their position in the battle space apart from to ensure that the forces under their command performed as required by the general plan as detailed in their operational briefings. The only instances during WW2 that I can think of any officers of equivalent rank having more responsibility for controlling disposition of troops/forces would be for Special Forces units such as the Special Air Service in North Africa and the Chindits in Burma and both of those would still have to be wary of exactly where they operated so that they didn’t get mistaken for enemy troops by their allies. There were around 34 operational Wings within 2TAF and within the Ninth Air Force the equivalent was the Group (three squadrons) of which there were around 32. Given these figures you can easily see how low down the actual food chain a Wing Commander (or Group Commander in the Ninth) actually was.

I honestly don’t expect anything much to change off the back of this, but I thought that I would let you guys know exactly why I have recently been so passionate about certain aspects of ops. I could also mention here that another reason is the fact that after trying to provide you guys with historical based ops for the last couple of years when I’ve only had the most basic of information available I have now been able to find detailed accounts complete with altitudes, locations, load-outs and the like. This has meant that I’ve been able to give the other mission builders accurate instructions and that it can absolutely ruin hours’ worth of work if someone arbitrarily decides to not follow the brief. We mission builders have no mechanism to say ‘if the player flight is out of position, then adjust by so much’. Let me give you an example.

During one particular operation that I read about the RAF were patrolling at a certain altitude and spotted an enemy formation below them. They promptly looked around, didn’t see anything and attempted a bounce. What they hadn’t seen was the other half of the Luftwaffe unit that had managed to manoeuvre themselves into their own bounce position while their colleagues played bait. Now then, that is easy to set up for mission designers if everyone sticks to where they are asked to be, but is darned well impossible if the commander of the day decides to fly out of position either laterally or vertically. Not, of course, that any of the mission builders would ever want to spring a trap like that on you guys, but you get my point.

This post is in no ways designed to aggravate folks, show anyone up or be in any way either disrespectful or promote any disharmony. Indeed, it has been stated that the goal is ‘historical accuracy but with flexibility’ which could also cover the exact responsibilities and prerogatives of unit commanders. I just feel that even though this is at the end of a day a game flown for fun and enjoyment, we would probably get more out of it by understanding how it would have been at the time even to the slightest degree.

Sorry that this was so long, but I really needed to get this off my chest in a way that hopefully comes across as considered and deliberate rather than any other way. Whether you agree with this or not, know that I enjoy flying with you and that it is a privilege to know you all and count you as my friends.

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Tom
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Tom »

No disrespect, offence or anything taken.

The difference between the ground and air forces is because when a squadron/flight/section was in the air whoever was in charge had some latitude in what they did. Some latitude, not complete latitude. Even in 1944 squadrons operated differently.

If the brief says patrol at 10k, that's what I'll do. But I'll always have a section higher because that's what they did. If the brief doesn't give a height then it'll be at the leaders' discretion depending on the mission objectives.

No biggie.

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Bigbyte
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Bigbyte »

It's a fair one Silk. I felt a bit bad last weekend when we were half a grid off the waypoints due to trying to Id some bogies. It crossed my mind that there might have been something lined up for us if we had corrected back on course. I think it's always been the case though that the lead adds +2K to the brief alt and puts a section higher. Mission designers can game this by anticipating it. Using the mission last week as an example, if you know we will be a tad higher, send the first Jabo flight in low and try and destroy the bridges. That would result in no MP for us and a win for the mission building team.

I will always try to have most of my aircraft at the assigned hight (ish). I'd also always expect that the last section is looking down at me from hight.
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Fritz
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Fritz »

Bigbyte wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:56 pm
... That would result in no MP for us and a win for the mission building team.
Well, to be fair, the us mission builders aren't necessarily trying to kill everyone or force everyone to fail the missions... :wink3
(but I do get your point BB).

Our main goal is to create realistic and - wherever possible - historically accurate missions while also adding elements of risk and surprise. It's only Jacko that tries to kill us every time. :cool2

Oh, and Bunny too. :bigsmile
James "Fritz" Bucholtz

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"Some friends are better shots than are casual enemies." - Eddie Rickenbacker

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Bigbyte
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Bigbyte »

Fritz wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:17 pm

Well, to be fair, the us mission builders aren't necessarily trying to kill everyone or force everyone to fail the missions... :wink3
I think every now and then you should to keep us on our toes.
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Silk
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Silk »

Just another quick point - nobody in the Intelligence community would want to cost friendly lives and will already have built many of the margins into the actual briefing itself as much as possible given the movements and deployment of other units in the area.

If it were easier for us to get Blue on Blue written into our missions, then believe me you would soon enough learn to to be out of your allotted zones :snigger

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Jacko
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Jacko »

Fritz wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:17 pm
It's only Jacko that tries to kill us every time. :cool2

Oh, and Bunny too. :bigsmile
Would now be a good time to apologise in advance of tonight's mission
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Fritz
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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Fritz »

Not at all - it was a brilliant mission. Those of us at Nijmegen were just overwhelmed. On our server Charlie and I engaged 4 190's inbound to the bridge, and the other 2 turned in on us at the same time 109s reached us. It was a fight for survival at that point.
James "Fritz" Bucholtz

"The duty of the fighter pilot is to patrol his area of the sky, and shoot down any enemy fighters in that area. Anything else is rubbish." - Manfred von Richthofen

"Some friends are better shots than are casual enemies." - Eddie Rickenbacker

"Who's the best pilot you ever saw?" - Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper

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Re: Mission building guidance

Post by Gosho »

Jacko wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:11 pm
Fritz wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:17 pm
It's only Jacko that tries to kill us every time. :cool2

Oh, and Bunny too. :bigsmile
Would now be a good time to apologise in advance of tonight's mission
No need to apologise, Jacko - it was a blast!

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