A couple of posts ago, the TCA Staff mentioned the MILSIM Battlefield and it's nodes, along with the new timing (Recon Phase/Airborne Phase, Main Battle Phase). I had a chance to participate in Broken Dagger 2 and received first hand observation of the Recon Phase on both occasions (Phase 1 and Phase 4). With Serious Viking 2 at Guardian Center in September and the addition of SOF/Task Force Darby on Western Forces, and on Eastern Forces, the Airborne Regiment and Commandos, which will be operating during the Recon Phase (SOF and Commandos along with DMR/Snipers from the Companies) and during the Airborne Phase (Darby and Airborne Regt), I wanted to give my take and also get some more questions answered from the TCA Staff.
Impression on Recon Phase
A departure from the "3,2,1...Game On," was achieved, but leaders and players from both sides did some discovery learning on what to use their Recon assets for. Both sides did a good job at Broken Dagger 2, using parts of their DMR/Snipers to get down field and establish their Forward CCPs and grab some of the digital terrain points. "Hard contact between the two sides recon teams did occur, with Eastern losing more than a couple of players," remarked Zmonster on PM with me, "The following day we saw Western lose a few as well, but on both phases it was an exception and not tasked by either side to conduct counter recon." Broken Dagger's AO was small compared to Viking 2 (GTI).
Looking at the WARNO 1 for Serious Viking 2, I really spent some time looking for what I would want to see the Recon Phase make up remembering it would be 30 minutes prior to the start of the main battle. Each Company has 12-15 DMR/Snipers (36-45 in total) which would depart their respective AAs on foot and the SOF/Commandos (24 each side) would be "air" inserted. Their focus could be anything from setting up observation posts trying to identify the other sides' CCP, TAC, Mortar Firing Points (MFPs), or UMCP, to setting some of those points up. Zmonster relayed to me that a side cannot have close air support or mortar support until the Tactical Command Post is set up (for CAS) or the MFPs have had ammunition delivered (for artillery support). The loss of those support nodes to the enemy denies that side those assets for that Phase.
Recon, then Airborne
Serious Viking 2 has the addition of the "Airborne" Phase, 15 minutes before the Main Battle Phase, Task Force Darby for Western and on Eastern, the Imperial Airborne Regiment (40 players each), get dropped on the field. I asked if their drop zones are staff assigned or Faction Commander selected, and Zmonster stated that the Faction Leaders have a free hand with the limitation that they will be reminded that they are being air dropped or choppered in. I noticed on the ticket selection, there was no specific weapon classes (Rifleman, Support, or DMR/Sniper) for either the SOF/Commandos or Darby/Airborne, "This was not by accident," Zmonster replied, "Those elements are given a free hand in equipping themselves, if they wanted to all roll as DMR/Snipers (not recommended), or wanted more support gunners, that is on them." The thought of these heavily armed "paratroops" coming in and moving according to the reports of the recon teams and SOF/Commandos really got me head thinking, these guys could wreck shop based on the reporting of the Recon guys and really move to support the SOF/Commandos or possibly set up blocking positions to slow the companies moving out of the Assembly Areas at the start of the main battle phase. They would have the time to develop defenses over certain digital objective(s), move to destroy critical nodes, granted, I am forgetting that the other side has them as well, but still.
To be sure there will be a lot that could be accomplished prior to the start of the main battle phase. Players looking to "up their game" should definitely be looking towards these opportunities, and leaders should be thinking big picture. SOF and Commandos could even set up IEDs, but before I spill all my ideas, I'll be looking forward to seeing this all come together at Serious Viking 2 and Trenchknife. Other TCA staff that I had the opportunity to talk with about the phases gave me a lot to think about. Kraut added that what these forces (Darby and Airborne) are used for after the start of the Main Battle Phase interest him as an OC/Admin. "They will have to consolidate and reorganize somehow, then be placed at those points the commander needs the most firepower." Add in live air to ground support from a little bird, and it's going to be good. Big thanks to Zmonster and Kraut for their time to answer questions and share some in sight.