Tagged: combat

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Army to Test First Next-Gen Ground Combat Vehicles in 2019

Army[1] maneuver officials on Monday said the service’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle will allow it to team manned and unmanned vehicles and create an unbeatable overmatch against enemy armored forces.

Developing the NGCV to replace the fleet of Cold-War era M1 Abrams tanks[2] and Bradley Fighting Vehicles[3] is the Army’s second modernization priority under a new strategy to reform acquisition and modernization.

The Army intends to stand up a new Futures Command this summer, which will oversee cross-functional teams that focus on each of the of the service’s six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires; next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; a mobile and expeditionary network; air and missile defense capabilities; and soldier lethality.

“The Next Generation Combat Vehicle needs to be revolutionary,” Gen Robert Abrams, commander of Forces Command, told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium.

“It’s got to be 10X better than our current fleet and guarantee our overmatch into the future.”

The Army will need such an increase in capability to deal with threats such as Russia’s T14 Armata tank and China’s efforts at improving composite armor and reactive armor combinations on its ground vehicles, said Col. Ryan Janovic, the G2 for Army Forces Command.

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, deputy commander of the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning[4], Georgia, and leader of the cross-functional team in the effort, said the NGCV will consist initially of three phases of prototyping and experimentation to refine the program’s requirements.

Part of the Army’s intent with its new acquisition and modernization strategy is to develop requirements in two to three years rather than the traditional five-to-seven-year process.

The program will seek to develop the robotic combat vehicle and a manned combat vehicle that can be used in an unmanned role based on the commander’s needs, Lesperance said.

There will be three phases for the “delivery of capability for experimentation” between 2018 and 2024, he said.

By late fiscal 2019, “we will deliver one manned versus two unmanned combat platforms that will initially go through [Army Test and Evaluation Command] testing, then will go through a six-to-nine month, extended experimentation in an operational unit in Forces Command,” Lesperance said.

Army officials will take the results of that effort and use it in the second phase of the program to deliver “a purpose-built robotic combat vehicle and a purpose-built manned fighting vehicle” in 2021 to ATEC and then to operational units at the beginning of second quarter of 2022, he said.

For the third phase, the Army plans to deliver seven manned and 14 unmanned prototypes in late 2023 and into early 2024 “that allow us to look, at a company level, [at] what manned-unmanned teaming could be,” Lesperance said.

“Imagine making contact with the enemy with an unmanned robot, and allowing a decision-maker to understand quicker and then make a better decision out of contact. Then move to a position of advantage to deliver decisive lethality in a way that we do not do now in 100 percent manned platforms,” he said.

“Each phase of the program in 2020, 2022 and 2024 will ultimately allow us to write the best requirement we can come up with based on experimentation, and the analytics to back it up that ultimately allow us to write the right doctrine, develop the right organizations and then deliver the right capability that will be compliant with how we are going to fight differently in the future,” Lesperance said.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at [email protected][5].

Show Full Article[6]

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ M1 Abrams tanks (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Bradley Fighting Vehicles (www.military.com)
  4. ^ Fort Benning (www.military.com)
  5. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
  6. ^ Show Full Article (www.military.com)
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1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: 326th BEB provides diverse combat enablers

While most battalions have one primary role in its support of the brigade combat team, brigade engineer battalions provide multiple critical functions to enable combat operations.

Soldiers from 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, showcased their unit’s versatility during a weeklong field training exercise, March 12-Friday, at Fort Campbell’s training area.

The FTX prepared the battalion to better integrate into brigade-level combined arms training events. The FTX also certified certain elements on their mission essential tasks.

“The 326th BEB is the most unique battalion within the Bastogne brigade,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Zimmer, 326th BEB commander, who often compares his battalion to a multipurpose tool. “Each tool performs a different function, and this is how our battalion supports the brigade.”

Those tools include six companies from which there are two engineer companies, a signal company, a military intelligence company, a forward support company and a headquarters and headquarters company.

Soldiers from A and B engineer companies conducted engineer qualification tables, Sapper missions focused on reconnaissance, mobility and counter mobility, and survivability operations.  “We have an area reconnaissance lane, and a complex obstacle breach lane, a route reconnaissance lane, and a complex obstacle emplacement lane where they are actually emplacing a deliberate crater and an 11-row wire obstacle,” said Capt. Benjamin Speckhart, A Co., 326th BEB commander.

The Soldiers of C Company, the signal company, performed retransmission and networking training, and sling load operations to hone their military occupational skill-specific and air assault skills.

The Soldiers of D Company, the military intelligence company, consists of three platoons – the unmanned aircraft system platoon that operates the RQ-7 Shadow UAS, a multi-function platoon that has signal and human intelligence capabilities, and an information collection platoon that, with the brigade intelligence section, analyzes information from all reconnaissance assets for Bastogne. The Soldiers conducted aerial reconnaissance missions in support of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st BCT, and 326th BEB’s platoon defensive live-fire exercises,

The forward support Soldiers of E Company increased their lethality during the platoon defensive live fire as well as conducted sling load operations to certify day and night aerial resupply missions. Additionally, the maintenance platoon conducted recovery operations, the field feeding section cooked and served meals for more than 500 Soldiers during the week, and the distribution platoon supported the entire battalion with fuel and ammo.

During the defensive live-fire exercise, the chemical reconnaissance platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company conducted decontamination training to increase the knowledge and skills for Soldiers throughout the battalion.

“We’re training on how to properly decontaminate equipment and vehicles so that in the case we are attacked, we can set up a decon line and get them back to the battle,” said Spc. Thomas Rivera, a CBRN specialist. This training is important because there are countries who are experimenting with chemicals, and there’s a history of chemicals being used, so I feel it is our responsibility to actually make sure everybody is prepared for such an attack.”  

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Keeping women in the military takes more than just opening up combat roles, committee says

As the military is turning more toward women to fill its ranks, a 67-year-old advisory board is lending a hand to the Defense Department on how to market to and attract women to serve in 2018 and beyond.

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services released its annual report[1] earlier this month and a large chunk of the recommendations focus on how the military can keep women in the service and keep them from leaving in the middle of their careers.

“There is concern across all of the branches at mid-career retention for women versus men. All of the services in varying career fields, at varying points but still within that mid-range of a 20 year career, they are experiencing challenges with women leaving at higher rates,” said Janet Wolfenbarger, chairwoman of the committee during a March 19 event at the Association of the United States Army in Arlington, Va.

The committee is guiding DoD to possibly retaining more mid-career women with recommendations like making policy changes that make transitions of service members between components and even military services easier.

DoD already adopted one of the committee’s recommendations, which is to start exit surveys to assess why the attrition level for women is higher than men at certain career points.

“It turns out at the time the committee did this work that there wasn’t a concerted effort that got after those exit surveys universally across all those surveys. It turns out that as we were publishing this report we were informed there will be exit surveys,” Wolfenbarger said.

Another issue affecting women mid-career is options for maternity leave.

In 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced[2] an increase in maternity leave to 12 weeks and expanded paternity[3] leave to three weeks.

Wolfenbarger said the committee found there need to be some tweaks to that, specifically how it’s used. The committee recommended allowing flexible, noncontinuous parental leave by request.

“Although current maternity and parental leave policies are a strong step in the right direction, more can be done to tailor leave to families’ unique situations,” the report stated. The flexible option “is one potential way to support a service member after a child joins the member’s family, whether through birth or adoption. The committee believes allowing noncontinuous leave, when requested, could help service members better balance their unique family needs during critical junctures of their lives and, in turn, help support retention efforts.

The committee also suggested removing the stipulation that a couple needs to be married to receive full parental leave benefits.

While the military continues to do its best to retain women in mid-career, it also wants to help recruit new women to the force.

“We had briefings from all across the services on marketing efforts. All of them are doing relative to gaining women who are [eligible] now, who not only qualify but want to raise their hand and serve in the military. Our belief was after listening to some of those marketing approaches … there may have been missed opportunities there from looking at the things women were most interested in, in the [marketing] surveys,” Wolfenbarger said.

The committee suggests tailoring some marketing to women’s specific interests in order to inspire them to join.

“Women were more likely than men to be motivated by travel, education, and helping others and their communities,” the survey stated. “Data such as these can help the military services optimally tailor marketing messages to encourage more women to consider the many benefits of military service. Although a marketing strategy focused on patriotism may have been successful at recruiting men in the past, current data indicate that strategy does not align with the motivations of prospective female military members, and the data also illustrate more effective ways to recruit women.”

The committee also suggests studying best practices of other countries for better recruitment of women.

References

  1. ^ annual report (dacowits.defense.gov)
  2. ^ announced (federalnewsradio.com)
  3. ^ expanded paternity (federalnewsradio.com)
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God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
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God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enenmy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

Army Wants Armed Ground Robot Prototype by 2019

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

BAE’s Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle (ARCV), originally developed for the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program

WASHINGTON: After 20 years of cancelled programs, the Army[1] now wants prototypes of all-new robotic[2] and “optionally manned” combat vehicles by 2019 so soldiers can begin field-testing them in 2020. Compared to current vehicles, they’ll be lighter, smaller[3] and optimized for urban combat, said Brig. Gen. David Lesperance[4], head of the armor school at Fort Benning, Ga. and the hand-picked head of the service’s Cross-Functional Team[5] on future ground vehicles.

Army photo

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance

Both established defense contractors and non-traditional companies are currently working on concepts, he told me and two other reporters this afternoon, and there’ll be intense experimentation, modeling, and simulation in the next “six to 12 months.”

Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley[6] created the Cross Functional Teams last fall to advance his Big Six modernization priorities. What’s called Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) is No. 2, second only to long-range artillery and missiles[7]. Until this week, however, the CFTs have kept quiet. But Gen. Milley promised the Army would seek “radical,” ten-fold improvements[8] in technology on a tight timeline. Lesperance’s proposal would definitely deliver on that promise — if it works.

Army slide showing the elements of the (later canceled) Future Combat System

Risk Factors

The problem is the post-Cold War Army’s track record[9] on new armored fighting vehicles is unblemished by success. (The successful Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle[10] is essentially a modified Bradley, not an all new design). While continually upgrading and modernizing[11] the 1980s-vintage M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley, the Pentagon has cancelled the M8 Armored Gun System (1997[12]), the Crusader howitzer (2002[13]), the Future Combat Systems (2009[14]), and the Ground Combat Vehicle (2013[15]). FCS in particular is the dead elephant in the room, because it was the Army’s last attempt at this kind of technological great leap forward, specifically including both manned and robotic vehicles.

Army photo

Gen. Mark Milley

Milley has said specifically his Big Six modernization program won’t repeat the mistakes of FCS, and there are grounds for hope. First, technology is just better. The private sector has made dramatic advances in computing power, artificial intelligenc and ground robots since FCS was cancelled in 2009, when the iPhone was in its infancy and self-driving cars were a fantasy.

The Army, for its part, is taking care to prototype the new technology before it commits to an acquisition program, unlike FCS. It has also abandoned the cumbersome mega-program approach of FCS, which was a single contract for eight manned vehicles, multiple ground robots and drones, and a mobile network to link them all. The Cross Functional Teams, by contrast, are loosely coupled. Lesperance’s combat vehicle team holds weekly video conferences with the others, and it’s working closely with the CFTs for the soldiers[16] who’ll ride in it, the network[17] that’ll connect it, and the simulators everyone will train in. But they are separate efforts that won’t all collapse with the failure of the weakest link.

Mark Esper

Only this week are the CFTs beginning to talk to selected press. They’re opening up in anticipation of the AUSA conference in Huntsville, Ala. March 26th-28, where the Army will formally unveil the org chart for its new Futures Command[18], to which the CFTs will belong, along with other Army entities as yet unspecified.

“Futures Command is a critical component (of modernization), but we are impatient and speed is critical, which is why we have these Cross Functional Teams stood up now,” Army Secretary Mark Esper[19] told the House defense appropriations subcommittee this morning. They’re called cross-functional because each CFT combines combat veterans, military futurists, scientists, technologists, and acquisition professionals — disciplines historically scattered around the Army — in order to short-circuit the bureaucracy and accelerate modernization. The goal, Esper told Congress, is to cut the time to field a new weapon system from 10-15 years down to five to eight.

BAE Systems image

BAE’s design for the cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle

Robots & Humans

Brig. Gen. Lesperance — whose name means “hope” in French — understandably declined to commit himself to a fielding date today. But he wants what he calls “experimental prototypes” in “shakedown testing” in 2019, followed by full-up field tests with an operational combat unit in 2020. (That’s two years ahead of the original Next Generation Ground Vehicle timeline[20], which didn’t even include robotics). The Army will take the troops’ feedback and refine the design, tentatively aiming for a second round of field tests in 2022 and a third in 2024. Only then will the Army decide whether the vehicles are ready to produce.

M2 Bradley in Iraq

Lesperance also declined to discuss the vehicles’ weight, armament, or power plant, saying those all remain to be decided. He’s still waiting for the industry concepts to come back and he doesn’t want to prejudge them or cramp their creativity, he said. He wouldn’t even say whether the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle would replace the M1 Abrams heavy tank or the M2 Bradley troop carrier, two very different roles. (Historically the Army’s prioritized replacing the Bradley[21], which has been upgraded so many times its electrical system and drivetrain are at their limits).

What Lesperance would say, however, was eye-opening enough. Over and over, he emphasized the new combat vehicles must be “optimized for fighting in dense urban terrain,” in contrast to current vehicles optimized for open-field blitzkrieg across Europe. Fighting in narrow streets, in turn, requires smaller vehicles than the massive M1, as does the need to deploy rapidly by air and to keep operating despite frequent disruptions to supply lines[22].

One way to reduce the weight is to take out the humans — not because people weigh a lot, but because the armor to protect them does. A robotic vehicle can be smaller, lighter, cheaper, and expendable, scouting ahead of the human force and springing traps like roadside bombs, landmines, and ambushes. It would be armed, Lesperance said, but a human soldier would always be “in the loop” and make any decision to use lethal force[23]. Initially, the Robotic Combat Vehicle will probably require close human supervision, he said, but as artificial intelligence improves, he envisions the robots acting more and more autonomously.

Army photo

Army M1 Abrams tank with a trial installation of the Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection System (APS)

The Next Generation Combat Vehicle itself, by contrast, will be “optionally manned.” It’ll have the space, seats, and above all the protection to carry human troops, but it’ll also have enough artificial intelligence to navigate the battlefield without them. Depending on the tactical situation, commanders may decide to send in the vehicles unmanned, with few human crew, or with a passenger compartment full of infantry ready to jump out and assault.

Lesperance doesn’t know yet how many soldiers the NGCV troop carrier should fit, a hotly contested question. The tracked M2 Bradley can manage a fire team of four or five, the larger but more lightly armed eight-wheel-drive Stryker[24] can carry a full squad of nine. Trying to combine better-than-Bradley protection with a Stryker-sized passenger compartment drove the cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle[25] north of 60 tons, so the Army is now studying trade-offs among passenger capacity, protection, size, weight, and cost.

The robotic[26] and optionally-manned[27] machines are intended to complement each other, Lesperance said, but they’re “not inextricably linked.” In other words, one program might be delayed or even cancelled without dooming the other. Given the stakes and risks, that’s probably prudent.

References

  1. ^ Army (breakingdefense.com)
  2. ^ robotic (breakingdefense.com)
  3. ^ lighter, smaller (breakingdefense.com)
  4. ^ Brig. Gen. David Lesperance (www.benning.army.mil)
  5. ^ Cross-Functional Team (breakingdefense.com)
  6. ^ Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley (breakingdefense.com)
  7. ^ long-range artillery and missiles (breakingdefense.com)
  8. ^ “radical,” ten-fold improvements (breakingdefense.com)
  9. ^ track record (breakingdefense.com)
  10. ^ Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (breakingdefense.com)
  11. ^ upgrading and modernizing (breakingdefense.com)
  12. ^ 1997 (olive-drab.com)
  13. ^ 2002 (edition.cnn.com)
  14. ^ 2009 (breakingdefense.com)
  15. ^ 2013 (breakingdefense.com)
  16. ^ soldiers (breakingdefense.com)
  17. ^ network (breakingdefense.com)
  18. ^ Futures Command (breakingdefense.com)
  19. ^ Army Secretary Mark Esper (breakingdefense.com)
  20. ^ original Next Generation Ground Vehicle timeline (breakingdefense.com)
  21. ^ replacing the Bradley (breakingdefense.com)
  22. ^ frequent disruptions to supply lines (breakingdefense.com)
  23. ^ decision to use lethal force (breakingdefense.com)
  24. ^ Stryker (breakingdefense.com)
  25. ^ Ground Combat Vehicle (breakingdefense.com)
  26. ^ robotic (breakingdefense.com)
  27. ^ optionally-manned (breakingdefense.com)
0

1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: 1-32nd CAV demonstrates lethality …

Bandits from 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, recently conducted crew gunnery training to confirm mastery of motorized crew fundamentals and maximize lethality.

The two-week gunnery training that ended Friday qualified 49 crews on their assigned machine guns; MK19 grenade launchers; and tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles, building crew confidence in the process.

Captain Daniel T. Little, commander, A Troop 1-32nd Cav. Regt., said Bandit troopers need to be proficient in crew tasks and weapons systems so they are able to conduct continuous reconnaissance and surveillance operations in any environment.

“This gunnery exercise tested the Bandits in a variety of harsh weather conditions including periods of daylight and darkness which increased the overall complexity. Crews were forced to transition rapidly between optics and lasers in order to identify and engage multiple targets within the time limit.  Our crews executed their tasks expertly,” Little said.

Specialist Luis Abad, an A Troop gunner, said his favorite part of gunnery was “waking up in the cold” because it built up his character as an individual and Soldier. Not only did gunnery build the grit and resilience of Bandit troopers, but it also reinforced the “deploy and fight now mentality” that is first on the 1st BCT commander’s list of expectations for the Bastogne brigade.

“Anything can happen in combat and gunnery allowed [my] whole crew to move and execute using live rounds, giving everyone a good grasp of what their job is within the truck,” said Spc. Joseph Levato, a B Troop MK19 gunner.

The Bandits recognized the importance of growing as teammates within their crews during gunnery in order to maximize their performance and lethality.

“[Gunnery] helped me develop by giving me a hands on situation for engaging targets while working as a [mounted] team [member], unlike regular ranges that usually focus on individual performance,” said Pfc. Louis Dekany, an A Troop gunner. “It develops everyone’s roles within the team.”

The teamwork of the crews led them to succeed in the competition for the coveted title of “Top Gun,” awarded to the highest-performing crew for each weapon system at gunnery.

Winning crews included Sgt. David Kelly, Spc. Brando Cervantes, and Pvt. James Osburn for the TOW system; Sgt. 1st Class Eric Harder, Sgt. Ayrton Leiser, and Pvt. Brandon Beecher for the MK19; Sgt. Seth Jarrell, Spc. Jonathan Passman, and Pfc. Nickalas Woody for machine gun; and Lt. Col. Adisa King, Spc. Zackery Khan, and Spc. Austin Heiser for the Commander’s Cup on the mine-resistant ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicle. The competition sparked crews to work harder and outperform each other.

Staff Sergeant Anthony Renza, a senior scout in B Troop, said his favorite part of gunnery was “being in the running for Top Gun and seeing [his] crew come alive with motivation and drive to succeed.”

Notably, D Troop successfully qualified nine crews, which is the highest number of qualified crews in any forward support company in Bastogne. D Troop now holds the only qualified crew of food service specialists. This shows the unit’s focus on ensuring every trooper is trained and ready for combat, no matter their military occupational specialty.

The troopers of 1st Squadron developed their fundamental motorized crew skills, contributed to 1-32nd CAV’s readiness, and displayed their proficiency and lethality during gunnery training. The Bandits will continue to train to ensure they have the most lethal crews in the brigade and are ready to fight and conduct reconnaissance whenever called, in any conditions.

0

1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: 1-32nd CAV demonstrates lethality at gunnery training

Bandits from 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, recently conducted crew gunnery training to confirm mastery of motorized crew fundamentals and maximize lethality.

The two-week gunnery training that ended Friday qualified 49 crews on their assigned machine guns; MK19 grenade launchers; and tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles, building crew confidence in the process.

Captain Daniel T. Little, commander, A Troop 1-32nd Cav. Regt., said Bandit troopers need to be proficient in crew tasks and weapons systems so they are able to conduct continuous reconnaissance and surveillance operations in any environment.

“This gunnery exercise tested the Bandits in a variety of harsh weather conditions including periods of daylight and darkness which increased the overall complexity. Crews were forced to transition rapidly between optics and lasers in order to identify and engage multiple targets within the time limit.  Our crews executed their tasks expertly,” Little said.

Specialist Luis Abad, an A Troop gunner, said his favorite part of gunnery was “waking up in the cold” because it built up his character as an individual and Soldier. Not only did gunnery build the grit and resilience of Bandit troopers, but it also reinforced the “deploy and fight now mentality” that is first on the 1st BCT commander’s list of expectations for the Bastogne brigade.

“Anything can happen in combat and gunnery allowed [my] whole crew to move and execute using live rounds, giving everyone a good grasp of what their job is within the truck,” said Spc. Joseph Levato, a B Troop MK19 gunner.

The Bandits recognized the importance of growing as teammates within their crews during gunnery in order to maximize their performance and lethality.

“[Gunnery] helped me develop by giving me a hands on situation for engaging targets while working as a [mounted] team [member], unlike regular ranges that usually focus on individual performance,” said Pfc. Louis Dekany, an A Troop gunner. “It develops everyone’s roles within the team.”

The teamwork of the crews led them to succeed in the competition for the coveted title of “Top Gun,” awarded to the highest-performing crew for each weapon system at gunnery.

Winning crews included Sgt. David Kelly, Spc. Brando Cervantes, and Pvt. James Osburn for the TOW system; Sgt. 1st Class Eric Harder, Sgt. Ayrton Leiser, and Pvt. Brandon Beecher for the MK19; Sgt. Seth Jarrell, Spc. Jonathan Passman, and Pfc. Nickalas Woody for machine gun; and Lt. Col. Adisa King, Spc. Zackery Khan, and Spc. Austin Heiser for the Commander’s Cup on the mine-resistant ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicle. The competition sparked crews to work harder and outperform each other.

Staff Sergeant Anthony Renza, a senior scout in B Troop, said his favorite part of gunnery was “being in the running for Top Gun and seeing [his] crew come alive with motivation and drive to succeed.”

Notably, D Troop successfully qualified nine crews, which is the highest number of qualified crews in any forward support company in Bastogne. D Troop now holds the only qualified crew of food service specialists. This shows the unit’s focus on ensuring every trooper is trained and ready for combat, no matter their military occupational specialty.

The troopers of 1st Squadron developed their fundamental motorized crew skills, contributed to 1-32nd CAV’s readiness, and displayed their proficiency and lethality during gunnery training. The Bandits will continue to train to ensure they have the most lethal crews in the brigade and are ready to fight and conduct reconnaissance whenever called, in any conditions.

0

1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: 1-32nd CAV demonstrates lethality …

Bandits from 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, recently conducted crew gunnery training to confirm mastery of motorized crew fundamentals and maximize lethality.

The two-week gunnery training that ended Friday qualified 49 crews on their assigned machine guns; MK19 grenade launchers; and tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles, building crew confidence in the process.

Captain Daniel T. Little, commander, A Troop 1-32nd Cav. Regt., said Bandit troopers need to be proficient in crew tasks and weapons systems so they are able to conduct continuous reconnaissance and surveillance operations in any environment.

“This gunnery exercise tested the Bandits in a variety of harsh weather conditions including periods of daylight and darkness which increased the overall complexity. Crews were forced to transition rapidly between optics and lasers in order to identify and engage multiple targets within the time limit.  Our crews executed their tasks expertly,” Little said.

Specialist Luis Abad, an A Troop gunner, said his favorite part of gunnery was “waking up in the cold” because it built up his character as an individual and Soldier. Not only did gunnery build the grit and resilience of Bandit troopers, but it also reinforced the “deploy and fight now mentality” that is first on the 1st BCT commander’s list of expectations for the Bastogne brigade.

“Anything can happen in combat and gunnery allowed [my] whole crew to move and execute using live rounds, giving everyone a good grasp of what their job is within the truck,” said Spc. Joseph Levato, a B Troop MK19 gunner.

The Bandits recognized the importance of growing as teammates within their crews during gunnery in order to maximize their performance and lethality.

“[Gunnery] helped me develop by giving me a hands on situation for engaging targets while working as a [mounted] team [member], unlike regular ranges that usually focus on individual performance,” said Pfc. Louis Dekany, an A Troop gunner. “It develops everyone’s roles within the team.”

The teamwork of the crews led them to succeed in the competition for the coveted title of “Top Gun,” awarded to the highest-performing crew for each weapon system at gunnery.

Winning crews included Sgt. David Kelly, Spc. Brando Cervantes, and Pvt. James Osburn for the TOW system; Sgt. 1st Class Eric Harder, Sgt. Ayrton Leiser, and Pvt. Brandon Beecher for the MK19; Sgt. Seth Jarrell, Spc. Jonathan Passman, and Pfc. Nickalas Woody for machine gun; and Lt. Col. Adisa King, Spc. Zackery Khan, and Spc. Austin Heiser for the Commander’s Cup on the mine-resistant ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicle. The competition sparked crews to work harder and outperform each other.

Staff Sergeant Anthony Renza, a senior scout in B Troop, said his favorite part of gunnery was “being in the running for Top Gun and seeing [his] crew come alive with motivation and drive to succeed.”

Notably, D Troop successfully qualified nine crews, which is the highest number of qualified crews in any forward support company in Bastogne. D Troop now holds the only qualified crew of food service specialists. This shows the unit’s focus on ensuring every trooper is trained and ready for combat, no matter their military occupational specialty.

The troopers of 1st Squadron developed their fundamental motorized crew skills, contributed to 1-32nd CAV’s readiness, and displayed their proficiency and lethality during gunnery training. The Bandits will continue to train to ensure they have the most lethal crews in the brigade and are ready to fight and conduct reconnaissance whenever called, in any conditions.