"Dslyecxi's guide is an unbelievably complex, detailed and informative resource, showing many ways how to be more efficient in combat in ARMA II and hopefully also get more enjoyment from the game. The previous guide was already unique, and it is breathtaking to see it this much improved right on time for the international release of ARMA II.
This guide is simply one of a kind and I strongly recommend it to everyone who will be sent to Chernarus!"
Marek Španěl, CEO of Bohemia Interactive
My official Arma 3 Tactical Guide, the successor to this one, has been released!
In the years since the creation of this guide, a great deal of video content has been produced by my group - Shack Tactical - chronicling our gameplay experiences in ArmA2 and Operation Arrowhead. I have included a sample below from my channel for those who would like to see us applying the TTPs of this guide in our actual gameplay. If you are interested in more, please feel free to check out and subscribe to my channel - the more interest is shown, the more videos I plan to create.
(skip to the 5-min mark on this video for the action - the first few minutes are briefing)
Greetings, and welcome to my ArmA2 "Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures" Guide. I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about this guide, how it came to be, what's different between it and my prior guide for ArmA1, as well as all sorts of other preamble topics. Please bear with me for a bit - I believe that there are some important things to convey before we dive into the heart of the guide.
First, let's talk about the intent behind this guide. This Arma2 "Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures Guide" - henceforth known as "TTP2" - was created with the intention of following up on the success that my previous ArmA1 guide brought to my gaming group, Shack Tactical. Having a well-established doctrinal reference for how we conducted ourselves as a group was a major factor in our gaming enjoyment for over two years of playing ArmA1 (and our OFP1 guide, before that, showed similar success for us). It gave us a common, group-wide understanding of various aspects of how to play, allowed us to easily integrate new players, and generally made things run more smoothly and enjoyably for all involved. That's ultimately why I wrote it, and that is again what drove me to update it to what you see here.
Now, as to what inspires me to make it available to everyone, utterly free of charge - that deserves explanation. I am a strong believer in this style of gaming, and I also very strongly believe that this sort of information should be disseminated as widely as possible in the interest of helping everyone, without bias or restriction, to have a more enjoyable time while playing games like ArmA2, and not locked away in a private forum where few can read it. Even when I offered a print version of this guide for A1, I always kept the free version available. I have no intention of changing that here.
This guide is available for all who have the time to read it - I offer it up warmly, and hope that everyone can take something from it in some capacity. A strong community benefits us all, and if this guide helps facilitate that in any capacity, I will consider it to be a great success.
To those of you reading this - if you like it, I would encourage you to spread the word to anyone else that might benefit from it. Word-of-mouth has always been my favored means of promotion, and anyone is welcome to participate.
Note that this guide is not "the only way to do it". It is, however, the way that we (ShackTac) do things, and it works exceptionally well for us. Hopefully you can find a use for these TTPs in your gaming as well.
For those of you who read my first guide, let's talk about what makes this one different.
The primary source of changes and expansions to this guide are the result of having a solid foundation to work from (TTP1) and being able to take all of the myriad lessons we learned throughout our ArmA1 experiences and apply them to the creation of new content, as well as updating the existing content.
The result of these changes shows itself in a variety of ways - content in general is more info-rich as well as more organized and digestible, and important topics like leadership and tactics have received a tremendous amount of additional attention. That's not the extent of it, either - every part of the guide has received an overhaul and expansion. If you've read the first one, you should find this to be a refreshing and interesting sequel to it.
The first guide ended up as being a bit over 60,000 words in total. At last count, this new one doubles it at around 120,000 - and I think you will find that it is 120,000 words used in careful moderation to convey a vast amount of information that truly is pertinent and relevant to ArmA2. There is no mil-sim "fluff" here. More on that shortly.
When I sat down to write up my goals for TTP2, I was struck by how much effort would be required to even come close to doing that vision justice. At the time, an old saying popped into my head - a question, rather, that mirrored the difficult task that I found myself faced with. The question was - how do you eat an elephant? The answer to that guided me through the writing, and at the end of it all, it turned out even better than I had hoped.
I mention that for those of you who are now faced with the rather daunting task of reading through this. It's a big guide - you might as well bookmark it now - and there's a ton of info to take in. If you heed the answer to that question, though, you'll make it through - perhaps not in one sitting, but after a few, you'll suddenly find yourself done.
How do you eat an elephant? It's simple, really - one bite at a time!
Hope you brought a good appetite.
As before, the point of this guide is to convey material that truly is relevant to Shack Tactical's style of realism-combined-with-fun combat simulation. This is the sort of information that our players use every session to work as a well-oiled and diverse team. We have maintained a very practical and pragmatic outlook on "milsim" (military simulation) and have taken every measure possible to avoid doing things "because the real military does them" and thus becoming what we call "hardcore milsim".
In our eyes, that hardcore milsim (which often simply is referred to as "milsim" in general) is chock-full of "tactical fluff" that is irrelevant to the games at hand. This hardcore milsim typically presents itself though excessive rules, regulations, attempted recreations of full military rank structures far beyond what is relevant in the scope of your average ArmA mission, doing things "because the real military does them" regardless of their actual application to the game at hand, and other things that we believe do not have a place in these games.
This guide reflects that mindset as well. One thing that I noticed back before doing my first guide was that military game guides commonly fell victim to two pitfalls - the first being the recitation of actual military publications, without any attempt to separate the wheat (info relevant to gaming) from the chaff (military or real-world procedures that are irrelevant or not simulated in games). Now, don't get me wrong - there are many things that can be learned from military publications and field manuals. This guide benefits heavily from being referenced against a number of such manuals. However, this is not a recitation of them word-for-word, as that would be pointless. The information presented here is what is truly relevant to the game, as we have experienced ourselves through our years of gaming.
With that being said, military field manuals and publications can be very interesting reads for people who are into this kind of realism. With this in mind, I have provided download links for many of the most applicable field manuals. These are entirely optional, but if you are curious on how the real military does things, or want to know more about a specific subject, I encourage you to download them and check them out. You can find those linked from the final page.
Another thing that must be kept in mind is that the kind of missions most commonly found in games like ArmA, in the real world, require a massive amount of planning and preparation by well-trained professional military personnel well before the first shot is ever fired. The goal of groups like mine is to be able to play to the best of our ability without requiring such huge time-sinks in the pre-mission planning - basically, we want to get the best results we can without having to spend hours in advance planning out each operation. Planning is great, but we strive to keep the initial planning short and sweet - minutes at most - and further develop our plans as we carry out the mission. After all, as the saying goes, "No plan survives first contact".
The second pitfall is that of gaminess. "Gamey" guides are those that are oriented around giving very precise info about things in a fashion that takes advantage of knowledge that would not exist in reality - for example, a list of tanks, their armor values, and the precise 'damage' values of anti-tank weapons. These "gamey" guides also tend to give tactics that are meant to exploit the game itself. I don't believe in this type of guide, so if that is what you're fond of, you will need to look elsewhere.
Finally, it is worth reiterating that we are playing games here. The point is to have fun - in our case, we strive for organized, disciplined fun. We are not trying to pretend that we're in the military - many of us have already been there, done that, or are still there and doing that. We're in ShackTac and playing ArmA2 to have a good time. We're a community of friends, ultimately, and that is far more important than any milsim make-believe ever will be. This guide is written in that spirit.
For those of you who read this guide, I have one main request - once done, please take a look at the finale page. In particular, check out the survey there. A minute of your time in filling out that survey would mean a lot to me - it helps me to evaluate where to take future training materials like this. You can reach that page via the index, or via the "Next page" link at the end of the final section, Vehicle Usage.
After releasing the first ArmA TTP, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many other groups had an interest in adopting large parts of it for their own group's usage. In addition to that, several requests came in for permission to translate it into a slew of languages, many of which were completed whole or in part.
If you are interested in either topic - using it as part of your group's tactical toolbox, or translating it into another language - please don't hesitate to contact me at .
For those of you reading this who are not familiar with my group, Shack Tactical, and would like a bit of information about us and how this document is tied to us, read on.
Shack Tactical is a gaming group I run that focused on Operation Flashpoint in the past, then moved to Armed Assault, and is now focused on ArmA2 for the future.
The basic guiding principle is that we are interested in developing and maintaining a mature yet fun group that has a common interest in realistic tactical combat simulation. I'm sure that many people reading this are familiar with some of our "After Action Reports" and have seen videos of our sessions. If you have not and are interested, you can find the AAR's on my articles page, and the videos on my Youtube account.
At the time of this writing, ShackTac has played ArmA1 for over two years, and Operation Flashpoint for over a year prior to that. In that time, we've evolved considerably as a group. All of our evolution has been based upon experience in the games we play - I have tried very hard to avoid introducing elements that are not truly necessary, or would over-complicate things and cause a negative impact on the enjoyment of what at the end of the day is ultimately a game.
We are not all real soldiers (though many of us, like myself, have served in the military in the past, or are still actively serving), and we do not pretend to be. We do, however, enjoy fighting as a cohesive, skilled, and tactically knowledgeable group of like-minded gamers.
This guide was created to help further our gaming experiences as well as introduce them to the general public, in the hope that it may have even a tiny positive impact on the overall tactical gaming community.
I hope that you all enjoy the material that is presented within this guide. Many ShackTac members contributed valuable input to it, and as I said, it would not have been possible without the experiences of the group as a whole these past years.
Before we move on, here are a few notes to close off the intro to this guide and Shack Tactical.
For those of you new to ArmA2, the basic premise is that it is a military combined-arms simulation with an incredible scope and a second-to-none ability to convey large-scale modern military combat. In addition to that, it is a fantastically configurable and moddable game - it comes with a robust mission editor and scripting language, and tools are available to allow any manner of units, weapons, vehicles, terrains, etc, to be created for the game.
ArmA2 follow in the footsteps of ArmA1 and Operation Flashpoint to provide the most realistic combined-arms from-the-infantry-up experience around, bar none. It is a military sandbox environment that can be tailored exactly in accordance to what you want from it.
In addition to that, ArmA2 supports a robust set of multiplayer features. It has the capability to handle up to a hundred (or more, with good hardware) players in a single mission at a time, playing against each other in teams, together against the AI in cooperative scenarios, or any imaginable mix. The mission design possibilities are almost unlimited - if you can think it up, you can probably make it.
Like ArmA1 and OFP before it, ArmA2 is the game of choice for my group, Shack Tactical. The experiences we have had in these games for the past many years have been unlike anything else available in gaming, and it continues to pull players back week after week in large quantities into ever-changing and new scenarios. We play the whole range of serious to not-at-all serious, and all of it is an utter blast. It is our enthusiasm for this sort of group-wide "Build Your Own Adventure" method of content and mission creation that has allowed us to thrive as a private group for so many years.
I hope that anyone who is looking into the multiplayer facet of ArmA2 is able to find a place to play where the vast possibilities of the game can be appreciated with a quality group of players. I also hope that this guide is able to provide the base of knowledge to help players work together throughout the community, if not exactly "by the book", then at least more informed because of it.
When it comes to mods for ArmA2, the community is bound to come up with a huge variety of fantastic stuff. A2 introduces so many new possibilities to modders, it will be incredible to see what all is developed over the lifespan of the game.
With that being said, there is one mod I feel confident in recommending already. That is the Advanced Combat Environment 2 mod - sequel to the ArmA1 mod of the same name, which I promoted in the first ArmA Tactical Guide.
Let's talk about ACE2 for a moment.
ACE2 is oriented around the concept of "fun realism" - which is to say, the focus is on introducing systems that are not simply realistic for the sake of being realistic, but rather because they increase the fun factor and enhance the gameplay of the mod. ACE1 was arguably the most popular and significant mod to come out for ArmA1, being adopted by countless servers and played by thousands.
ACE1 was the mod-of-choice for Shack Tactical in ArmA1, and set the stage for hundreds of memorable missions and experiences. I can't recommend it highly enough - it set a gold standard in gameplay that simply has not been matched since.
Always looking to improve, the ACE team is ready to take this even further in ACE2. While full details are not yet ready to be revealed, there are some bits and pieces of ACE2 scattered throughout this guide - signified by the logo - such as references to the stamina system, crew-served weapons, and a variety of other slick gameplay features such as resting weapons on obstacles, improved rocket ballistics, an improved penetration model, and more.
ACE2 is definitely a mod to watch out for in ArmA2. Once it has been released, I'll make sure to update this section with a link to it.
Update: ACE2 is out, you can find more here.
The ArmA2 community, like the ArmA1 community and the Operation Flashpoint one before it, contains a huge variety of playstyles and a diverse collection of communities and servers to cater to those styles. You can find the official BIS forums Squads & Fanpages section here, in which many, many different groups and communities maintain a presence.
I would of course encourage all A2 players to take their time and look throughout the community to find what they think will best suit their style. There are hardcore groups, less-serious ones, ones oriented around roleplaying, others oriented around all sorts of fun and silly stuff. There are even weekly tournaments that pit large forces against each other in progressive campaigns where the outcomes of each major battle influence the next one. In short - there's a flavor for everyone.
With that being said, there are several communities that I'd like to specifically promote in this guide. Whether you look into them is up to you, of course.
My own group, the reason for this guide's creation, has been kicking around for over four years at this point. We're always welcoming new members into what has evolved into quite a community. If you would like to know more about us, you can both read this guide as well as check out the Shack Tactical site. Information about joining us can be found there as well - anyone is welcome to apply, so long as you feel that you can live up to our basic requirements.
If you do take that step towards joining us, best of luck, and hopefully we'll see you on the battlefield soon! We're pretty sure you'll not be disappointed by what you find in our group. :)
United Operations, in short, is a new community worth checking out. Based primarily upon ACE and the ACRE radio mod, it features a good-sized and active community with plenty of opportunities for play. In their own words:
United Operations is a grassroots community dedicated to tactical gameplay in a professional, fun environment for players of all skills and backgrounds. As the official Advanced Combat Radio Environment (ACRE) testing community, we offer a realistic and immersive environment for cooperative mil-sim and tactical adversarial play. United Operations operates both ACE2, vanilla, and test servers for public use.
United Operations is democratic member-operated community, with an expansive and empowering Charter that gives every member a voice and oppourtunity to contribute to United Operations as part of the Regulars
This last one is a player-vs-player oriented tournament that's open to all to apply. I'll let them speak for themselves. If you're looking for a good PvP experience, CF is one of the best you're going to find for A2.
Charlie Foxtrot is a large scale Team Vs Team tournament for ArmA II. Our Concept: An open battle field, defined by the players, as the battle progresses.
The tournament is run by the same folks who operated the highly successful ArmA tournament IC-ArmA which, to the best of our knowledge, holds the record for the largest number of human players in an ArmA game (128 people). Drawing upon over 2 years of highly successful large scale multiplayer gaming using the ArmA engine, Charlie Foxtrot transfers this knowledge and experience to create a very similar environment for ArmA II.
Game Parameters/Functionality: We have one large battle-space (1km x 1km) which is the contested region. Points are given to your side for two things, being in the battle-space (called a Zulu on the map) & for killing enemy soldiers. You get 1 point for being in the zone and 10 points for killing an enemy soldier. In addition to this you get 1 point for killing an enemy outside the main Zulu. You also give the enemy points if you die or suicide.
These points are added to a team total every 5 minutes. Once 500 points has been reached by one side or other, the Zulu moves to the next sector in the region. The counter is reset and you fight in the new Zulu. As a result the battle is dynamic and your commanders decide how, where and when to fight.
How do these two armies fight each other? Charlie Foxtrot utilizes ArmA2's multiplayer component to stage large-scale battles. The two armies fight on an official “battle day” to determine who is victorious. The armies fight over territory, in which gains and losses carry forward to the next battle.
How Large is Large? We plan to have an average of about 100 players (we pushed ArmA to 128 people) each battle is configured for 60 players per side.
To look into Charlie Foxtrot, go to Charlie Foxtrot.
With the intro bits out of the way, let's go ahead and move into the meat of the TTP2.
First stop... The Basic Rifleman. Click the "Next" button, below, to move forward in the guide.
Oh, before we start... a note about navigation through this guide. The index button you see at the bottom of each page will take you to a full-fledged, in-depth index of the guide. From there, you can pick through the different pages, or even the subsections of each page. The previous/next buttons will, predictably, take you to the previous and next pages in the guide, of course.
Also note that the full index is not completely linked-up yet (ie: subsections do not have direct links). I will try to have those in place 'soon', but I wanted to get the guide itself released first, and worry about that aspect of navigation later, as I would expect most people to go through the guide in a linear fashion their first time through.
Anyhow.. hit 'Next' to hop to the Basic Rifleman page. Hope you enjoy the ride.