General

Attachments Theory/Info

While the ShackTac Platoon carries a great variety of weapon systems organically, it does not have access to all of the best weapon systems available to Marine infantry. The heavier and more specialized weapons in the Marine inventory are typically brought into a mission as 'attachments' from a variety of other organizational structures such as the Weapons Platoon, Weapons Company, Scout/Sniper Platoon, MARSOC, et cetera.

This page details the most common attachments that ShackTac infantry can expect to see accompanying them on missions that require their particular skillsets.

 

Attachments (General)

Anti-Aircraft Team

An anti-air missile team consists of a gunner and assistant gunner. Equipped with a Stinger man-portable AA missile system, and an additional missile, the two must be ready to use their launcher to engage and destroy any enemy air threats that might appear over the battlefield, either fixed-wing (jet) or rotary-winged (helo). Their proficiency and situational awareness can be the difference between life and death for a squad or platoon.

Launching a Stinger missile

Basic Anti-Air Missile Gunner Guidelines

Good shots: Rear Oblique (L), Rear (R)

Good shots: Flank (L), Rear Oblique (C), Rear (R)

Bad shots: Frontal (L), Flank (R)

Demolitionist

A demolition unit can be an engineer, saboteur, or any unit that is carrying something like a Claymore mine, satchel charge, or anti-tank mine. They are extremely valuable in the defense and are also the key to enacting brutal and deadly ambushes. In the offense, they are a critical part of cracking enemy obstacles and defenses with their satchel and breaching charges.

Placing an anti-tank mine in a patch of grass on a road

Types of Demolition

Demolition comes in several forms, with many different uses. The basic types are as follows.

Demolition Tips

Designated Marksman

A Designated Marksman is a squad-level unit that is equipped with a special rifle fitted with some sort of magnified optic. Their task is to provide accurate fire and observation on the enemy from ranges beyond what the normal riflemen can achieve. They are the precision shooting asset of a squad.

The 7.62x51mm Designated Marksman Rifle

The important distinction between a Designated Marksman and a true sniper is that the DM is attached to a squad and operates with it, to support the squad, whereas a sniper team operates independently and is a platoon-level asset, under the direct command of the Platoon Commander. The DM typically engages at medium to long ranges (ie - 300-700m), whereas the sniper team can operate out to ranges in excess of one kilometer.

A DM takes a knee behind cover before scanning nearby terrain for signs of the enemy

Basic Designated Marksman Guidelines

Forward Air Controller

The "Forward Air Controller" or "FAC" is a player who is tasked with coordinating air elements in the support of ground forces. The FAC is expected to be knowledgeable in the employment of any CAS elements, be they fixed-wing (jets) or rotary-wing (helicopters). The more familiar the FAC is with the aircraft, the better he will be able to direct its employment. The best FACs have extensive experience as a CAS aircraft pilot.

The primary job of the FAC is to locate enemy targets and call in air strikes on them. He acts as the 'eyes on the ground' for the CAS aircraft and increases the effectiveness of the air support with the information he is able to relay to the aircraft.

It is of great importance that a FAC is used when player-controlled aircraft are operating in a close air support role. Without his support, the CAS aircraft cannot reach the same level of responsiveness and effectiveness.

The Forward Air Controller role is described in greater detail in the Combined Arms: Close Air Support section, later.

A Force Recon FAC laser designates a target for an AV8 Harrier

Forward Observer

The Forward Observer or "FO" is a player who is tasked with coordinating artillery support for the platoon. He is expected to be knowledgeable in all things artillery, from the types of rounds to use, how to call for fire, how to adjust fire, and everything in between.

The Forward Observer role is described in greater detail in the Combined Arms: Artillery Support section, later.

Artillery impacting on an enemy treelines position. Can't see the enemy anymore? Yep, that's the beauty of arty!

Scout / Sniper Platoon

Scout/Sniper & Spotter

The role of a Scout/Sniper team is to both provide battlefield recon and intelligence and deliver precision shots on key enemy personnel. A Scout/Sniper team can be highly effective without ever firing a shot in some situations, whereas other scenarios will see them having a dramatic effect due to their ability to 'lock down' an area with precision shooting.

A scout/sniper team observes the battlefield

Scout/Sniper Team Organization & Responsibilities

Each Scout/Sniper team consists of two people - a sniper and his spotter. They are typically outfitted in ghillie suits to assist in concealment, and tend to operate at a significant distance from any friendly forces. Their mission is primarily scouting/reconnaissance, though their marksmanship will often be called into play when things heat up.

Their responsibilities are as follows.

Scout/Sniper Guidelines

Ready, willing, able...

Adjusting for Elevation Differences

When firing up or down at a significant incline towards an enemy target, one must be aware of the fact that their bullets will generally strike higher due to weapon ballistics. In situations like this, a player needs to use the horizontal - or "map range" - of a target to calculate drop, and not the actual straight distance to the target. This is a rough rule of thumb that works acceptably to most shooting distances that ArmA2 portrays.

As you see in the below illustration, the direct range to a target when on an incline is further than the horizontal range. If you use the direct range to calculate your hold-over, you will inevitably end up firing over them. When in doubt, if shooting on an incline, aim lower than you normally would at the target.

Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC)

'Special Forces'

Special Forces soldiers are defined by their high level of training and proficiency, above-average gear, and the fact that they typically get the toughest of assignments.

A Force Recon member in the midst of executing a High Altitude, Low Opening (HALO) parachute jump.

Special Forces troops are considered to be advanced roles due to them requiring more finesse and skill to play compared to normal infantry, largely because of the fact that they get tough assignments and rarely work in anything larger than a squad-sized element. SF units require patience and level-headedness to play, particularly when stealth is an element of the mission, as it often is. Unfortunately, it is all too common to see players in the 'general public' take SF roles without a clear comprehension of their intended usage, usually because they're seen as "cool roles" and whatnot. This tends to result in a lot of dead "SF". :)

Special Forces soldiers are often the ones behind enemy lines calling in close air support or acting as forward observers for artillery. To this end, they often carry a SOFLAM laser designator which can be used to guide in laser-guided bombs. SF are expected to be familiar with how to act as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) and a Forward Observer (FO) - both topics are covered in the "Combined Arms" section of this guide.

Basic Special Forces Guidelines

Weapons Platoon

About the Weapons Platoon

The Marine Weapons Platoon is a Company-level organization that contains the more specialized weapons available to an infantry Company. It has several types of weaponry, organized into squads and teams. The real-world structure of the Weapons Platoon is as follows.

For our purposes, we do not field an entire weapons platoon. Instead, we often will have elements of the weapons platoon 'attached' to our platoon for a specific mission. If we're expecting enemy armor, we will bring along several SMAW teams. M240 teams are common to see, and mortar sections will be employed as soon as we have them available in-game (likely in or sooner).

 

Weapons Platoon Roles

What follows are descriptions of the core teams that the weapons platoon consists of.

 

M240G Medium Machinegun Team

The machinegun rules the realm of infantry. The ability to place sustained accurate fire in high volume on the enemy is capable of inflicting a large number of casualties in short order when properly employed.

The M240G is a medium machinegun firing a 7.62x51mm caliber bullet - significantly more powerful than our infantry's normal 5.56x45mm round, which is the same round used in our automatic rifle, the M249. The M240G has a longer range than our M249s, and by default are loaded to fire daylight-visible tracer ammunition every fifth round, unlike our M249s, which employ "dim trace" that can only be seen under NVGs.

When employed in a base-of-fire or support-by-fire position, or when employed in the defense, the M240G is a powerful asset to our platoon.

M240 gunner engages targets while his assistant gunner observes and supports with rifle fire

M240 Team Organization & Responsibilities

The M240G MMG team consists of three people - a gunner, assistant gunner, and ammo man. In some situations the team will be reduced to a gunner and a-gunner, in which case the a-gunner gets the responsibilities of the ammo man as well as his own typical responsibilities.

Their responsibilities are as follows.

A machinegun squad is comprised of two M240G teams and a squad leader.

An M240 gunner, wounded, continues to lay down suppression as his assistant gunner leads a medic to him

M240 Team Guidelines

The M240 Team uses the same guidelines as the basic fireteam members, with the Gunner using the guidelines for the Automatic Rifleman, the Assistant Gunner using the guidelines for the Assistant Automatic Rifleman, and the Ammo Man also using the Assistant's guidelines.

Assault Team (SMAW)

The SMAW "Assault Team" is a rocket team that is capable of delivering accurate and deadly direct anti-tank/anti-bunker fire. They are commonly attached to the ShackTac Platoon when assaulting fortified positions or when enemy armored assets are expected.

SMAW gunner and assistant prepare to engage an enemy-occupied building during an urban fight

About the SMAW

The SMAW - or Shoulder-fired Multipurpose Assault Weapon - is a crew-served anti-tank/anti-bunker multi-munition reloadable rocket system with a spotting rifle that can be used for increased first-round-hit probabilities. It can fire a range of rocket types and is generally more effective than the AT-4 or comparable light anti-tank weapons. The specific features, in detail, are as follows.

SMAW gunner as seen through NVGs

SMAW backblast

SMAW Team Organization & Responsibilities

Each SMAW team consists of two people - a gunner and assistant gunner.

Their responsibilities are as follows.

SMAW Team Tips

Mortar Squad (60mm)

Mortars are a specific type of artillery support that is organic to infantry units due to its ability to be man-carried along with the grunts. Mortars provide integrated indirect fire support to the infantry, with quick response times, the ability to bring fire safely to within close range of friendly forces, good accuracy and range, and solid terminal effects.

The mortar is often called the 'hip pocket artillery of the infantry'. The 60mm mortar is the most man-portable of those available to US forces. It can safely be used to drop rounds close to friendly forces (when in the defense, the 60mm can hit targets as close as 70-100 meters away from the gun position). The 60mm mortar is capable of striking almost anything within three and a half kilometers of it. This allows for the mortar team to be well out of enemy direct fire while still supporting an attack via fire. The typical time-of-flight for a mortar round is from 20-40 seconds, so that must be accounted for when planning fires.

60mm Mortar Ammo & Fuze Types

A variety of ammunition and fuze types give the 60mm mortar a range of possible applications.

Ammo types include:

Fuze options include:

60mm Mortar Squad Organization & Responsibilities

Each 60mm mortar squad consists of three players - a gunner, assistant gunner, and ammo man. Depending on the situation, they may or may not have a vehicle transporting additional ammunition for them. When used in the defense, they typically have crates of mortar shells available for their usage.

The responsibilities of the squad members are as follows.

Basic Guidelines for the 60mm Mortar Team

A few basic guidelines for mortar teams follow.

 

The 60mm mortar system will be implemented either by , or by ShackTac in-house developers (and then rolled into ACE2).

Weapons Company

About the Weapons Company

The Marine Weapons Company is a Battalion-level organization that carries the heaviest weapons of an infantry battalion. Organizationally, it is far above the level of the ShackTac Platoon, and we will only see small elements of it at any given time. Like the Weapons Platoon, the ShackTac Platoon will find itself attaching elements of the Weapons Company to it for specific missions.

The Weapons Company consists of the following platoons.

Weapons Company Roles

The different roles of the Weapons Company units are described in the following sections.

Javelin Anti-Tank Missile Team

The Javelin team wields the most deadly anti-tank infantry-carried weapon system in the Marine Corps. When heavy armor is expected, they are great assets to have attached to the platoon.

A Javelin gunner searches out targets through the powerful optics

About the Javelin

The Javelin is a fire-and-forget top-attack anti-tank missile system that uses an explosive formed penetrator (EFP) to kill tanks and other armored vehicles by striking them in their thin top armor.

The Javelin assistant gunner observes a target as the gunner prepares to fire his missile

The Javelin characteristics are as follows.

Javelin missile taking flight

Javelin Team Organization & Responsibilities

Each Javelin team consists of two people - a gunner and assistant gunner.

Their responsibilities are as follows.

The same shot, from a different angle

Javelin Team Tips

Crew-Served Weapon (CSW) Team - M2, Mk19, TOW, 60 & 81mm Mortars

Crew-Served Weapons (CSWs) are heavy machineguns, mortars, grenade machineguns, anti-tank missile systems, and other weapons which require more than one person to carry around, deploy, and operate due to their bulk and weight.

These weapons typically break down into three components - the gun itself, the tripod to mount it on, and the ammo. A crew-served team consists of however many people are necessary to move the weapon and ammo around the battlefield. One person acts as the gunner (and carries the gun itself), another acts as the assistant gunner (carrying the tripod), while a third and potentially fourth and fifth haul around the ammo and act as security for the gun team.

Crew-served weapons tend to be extremely powerful and can be effective in both the defense and offense when employed correctly. The following guidelines should help to ensure that these powerful weapons are in fact employed correctly.

.50cal M2 Browning Heavy Machinegun

General "CSW" Team Organization & Responsibilities

A crew-served weapon team typically consists of a gunner, assistant, and ammo man. The exact responsibilities will differ based on the type of weapon it is, but their general responsibilities are as follows. Adapt the relevant guidelines for other teams (ie: M240, SMAW, mortar) where appropriate.

General Guidelines for a Crew-Served Team

Man-portable crew-served weapons will be a introduced in the Advanced Combat Environment 2 mod. 'Static' varieties exist in ArmA2 out of the box, but cannot be moved around. It is anticipated that ACE2 will introduce the ability to move deployed weapons around while they're assembled - proof-of-concept work has already been done on this, infact.

Tripod-based TOW missile system. The main advantage of the TOW missile over the Javelin is that it has approximately two times the range of a Javelin - almost 4 kilometers.

Mortar Squad (81mm)

The main difference between the 60 and 81mm mortars lies in their terminal effects. The 81mm mortar fires a significantly more powerful shell, causing greater damage upon detonation.

81mm mortars set up to support an infantry assault

The 81mm mortar is also significantly heavier than the 60mm mortar and requires more effort to transport around the battlefield. They will often end up carried in HMMWVs and other vehicles, with minimal 'foot marching' occurring. This is in contrast to the 60mm mortar, which can fairly easily be man-transported over the battlefield.

Other than these differences, the mortar squad and 60mm mortar team are virtually identical. The 81mm Mortar Squad uses the 60mm mortar and Crew-Served Weapon guidance as their baseline.