May 21, 2011

Weekend Warriors - "Cowboys From Hell"

In this exciting installment of the Weekend Warriors, I will be describing our playthrough of the user-made scenario "Cowboys from Hell" which has a multitude of tasks to complete, for a team of thirteen. The scenario has "Revive" enabled, which means that when one of the players gets killed, others may find his corpse and spend a few seconds to get him back on his feet, or the player himself can respawn at a mobile spawn point set up by the group leader, spending one "life". We have set up 20 lives for each player in the scenario settings, and, as later events have shown, needed every single one.
The Task:
This time, the multinational team of US marines has to insert into an area held by the radical Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star, take out a generator feeding electricity to the local broadcast tower, proceed to a nearby city and take out two APCs, serving as mobile headquarters for the insurgents, and assassinate two insurgent leaders, disguised as civilians.

The Team:

                Group Leader Sekundaari (callsign: "Sniperman"): "God damn jackpot"
                  Heavy Gunner bucaneer (callsign: "bucaneer" ): "It's your turret that's getting stuck"
                  Marksman Someone (callsign: "GAME"): "The blastwave is huge"
                  Rifleman Manny (callsign: "total expert"): "I don't know what it looks like"
         well as nine brave bots.

The Map:

The Execution:

We start out in a small base a dozen kilometers away from the target zone, sort out our gear (I take the M24 sniper rifle and a Javelin guided AT missile system) and board the choppers.

After a short flight at minimum height, we are inserted in a field to the east of our targets: the town of Zelenogorsk and the radio station on a hill overlooking it.

The transport choppers lift off (only to have their rotors get caught in power lines and land again) and we move into the woods surrounding the hill. We fight the patrols drawn to the noise of our insertion, get into the woods and end up caught on the road to the radio tower, between the soldiers defending it and reinforcements that have just rolled in on a truck, supported by an APC and a T-72 tank. We snipe the soldiers trying to leave the cover of trees and cross the road, the bots draw enemy fire (and destroy the T-72 somewhere along the way) and, before long, clear the hill of hostile presence and blow up the tower's power source, completing the first objective of the mission. A transport chopper drops in enemy reinforcements, but we quickly deal with them and move down the hill and closer to Zelenogorsk, dealing with stragglers along the way.

Trukkie the Ammo Truck in his natural habitat
After getting an ammo truck I found at the radio tower, filled with assorted weaponry and thirteen RPG-7 grenades, closer to our position, we start sniping the enemy forces in the town. At this point the operation begins to stagnate. I run out of M24 ammo and have to switch to an SVD, which is an automatic marksman rifle with much shorter range. The only person on the team who can effectively snipe at the distance we are at is Sekundaari, who still has his high-caliber Anti-Materiel Rifle. In addition to that, I lose my Javelin missile (the weight and bulk of which has prohibited me from taking enough ammo for the M24) to a bug, and we can't move closer without risking to attract the attention of numerous stationary defenses and armor units patrolling the town.

See the Vodnik? Well it's here
Zelenogorsk has many layers of defense. The road leading into the town is overlooked by a small bunker full of soldiers, several entrenched machinegunner positions, numerous howitzers hidden in the surrounding hills and several APCs. We start by knocking out the bunker. I ineffectually fire two RPG shots at it, killing one soldier and slightly injuring others within, try to approach it and get blasted by machinegun fire before I can even see where it's coming from. A Vodnik APC, with a fully armored turret, armed with an extremely powerful automatic cannon, spewing explosive rounds and high-caliber machinegun fire, becomes alerted by my advance and starts harrasing our group with long-range fire from 500 meters away, cruising back and forth through the town, taking cover behind buildings and ground elevation. I attack it with the RPG, but the first shot barely glances it. It drives closer to the bunker, giving me a perfect opportunity for a second shot, but I aim too low and the grenade hits the concrete of the road about 10 meters away from the Vodnik, which promptly responds with cannon fire and tears me to pieces.

Not having much success in the open, bucaneer and I try to advance through a small patch of trees southeast of town, while Sekundaari remembers that we were given clearance to call in artillery and tries to figure out the proper targeting procedure.

Me and bucaneer, on the lookout for hostile schoolteachers
I get the ammo truck, which I have taken to calling Trukkie, to the southeastern woods, and wait for bucaneer before moving further, but the local populace, both men and women, swayed to the Dark Side (alternatively known as communism) by the insurgent propaganda, steps into the fray with silenced submachineguns instead of performing the Traditional Liberation Greeting, and we repeatedly get our asses handed to us by schoolteachers, punks, woodsmen and other formidable adversaries. We manage to take down a few of them, including a redhead woman (Sekundaari asks if she has blonde hair, to identify if she is one of the mission targets), but their weapons are too quiet to determine the direction of incoming fire before it's too late, so we get killed.

Meanwhile, Sekundaari manages to score a hit through the small frame of Vodnik's unarmored windshield and kill the driver, taking the vehicle to himself, and failing to inform us about it until it's too late. He tries to get to the warehouse complex we've been denied access to by bloodthirsty guerillas, and take the two unoccupied T-90 tanks we've spotted there to help us secure the city, but the tanks end up being inexplicably locked and he gets killed by a stray rifleman before he can drive away the trophy APC.

Meanwhile, as our increasingly unsuccessful encounters with guerillas bring me down to my last life, Manny joins the server and makes the encounters slightly more successful. Before long, we manage to get past the woods and into the warehouse complex, which also hides the stolen LAV-25 APC - one of the mission objectives. It takes 5 satchel charges to destroy, all the while defending against incoming infantry.

Having lost all my extra lives, I try to keep a low profile and not get killed by infantrymen, before deciding to hide in the armored turret of the captured APC, which we retrieved and parked in the warehouse complex. bucaneer hops behind the steering wheel, but gets stagefright after I compliment his driving, and runs away, leaving me completely immobile. Luckily, Manny is there to do what abandoneebucaneer didn't and drive the Vodnik around town.

I'm about to find out how explosive rounds affect BTRs
What happens next is a bit of a haze. We start taking out the rest of the town's defense. Like a wheelchair-bound billionaire with his personal nurse, I start ordering Manny around, as he tries to understand my disjointed movement requests and repeatedly drives into concentrated fire, all the while Sekundaari goes on a rampage with an RPG, hunting APCs, heavy AA tanks and everything that looks at him funny, while bucaneer does... I'm not actually sure what, probably provides him with cover from infantry.

I repeatedly pester Sekundaari for targeting orders and rain explosive ordinance on howitzer operators, enemy troops and APCs, while the whole town turns into an explosives festival. We search for the remaining targets - the rebel leaders and a mobile HQ. The search starts to drag on, as the male leader goes down in one of the skirmishes, I blow up the HQ and we start sweeping the village for the elusive final objective - the female leader only known as 'Svetlana'. Me and Manny deal with the remaining enemy forces concentrated around another warehouse complex a small distance away from the town, while Sekundaari gets bored, takes over one of the now-vacant howitzers and levels half of Zelenogorsk in a desperate bid to flush out the target. We deal with a few more howitzers and MGs at the warehouse when I run out of explosive shells and our lightly-armored vehicle takes several rounds from a grenade launcher hidden somewhere amid the warehouses. Manny retreats the vehicle behind a concrete fence surrounding the complex, drives close to the launcher position and rams down a hole in the fence, preparing to take the operator out, when I notice a blonde civilian woman hiding in the corner, crouching in fear, hesitate for a moment, but remember that Sekundaari asked about the target's hair and gun her down, completing the final task of the mission and showing the endmission screen, rendering our vehicle paralyzed and unable to return fire from the proverbial grenade launcher, which blows us up. Nevertheless - Mission Accomplished!

Last moments of the target's (and my) life


Sekundaari said...


I remember defending that former enemy forward camp for some time. The enemy troops, especially many AT guys, were running up the road. But I had taken a VSS from the camp, so they didn't get that close, and defense and offense mostly lost their differences.

In the screenshot with my quote, you can actually see my indicator inside the tent, which had about every Russian sniper rifle in the game, with spares. Most importantly, it also had more ammo for the VSS I already had. Got to admire that gun.

You certainly flattered my... flattening of Zelenogorsk. The hunt for the woman was getting annoying, as she didn't seem to be anywhere near the objective marker. Bucaneer was searching for her too, I think, though I don't know what he was doing earlier, around the time I tagged the other target person (and his numerous henchmen) with bullets. Most probably, he was participating in the general cleaning of the town.

Actually, you didn't have a Stinger (AA) in the beginning but the formidable guided AT, Javelin.

Someone said...

I don't know how I mixed them up. Fixed. Thanks.

I'm sure I would have described your artillery architecture in more... livid terms if I had actually seen it, and haven't been too busy trying to defy laws of physics and spin the turret faster than Manny turns the car in the opposite direction.

Don't really care for VSS, as the scope doesn't have zoom, and a VAL would probably serve better at medium range (it's basically the same gun, but with assault rifle bits instead of DMR bits).

Sekundaari said...

(Psst you still have one mention of a Stinger. Also you switch to using Sekundaari instead of Sniperman almost immediately. I have many names.)

I find that the lack of zoom isn't a big issue, it even helps when firing at moving targets and judging the lead. Wikipedia says the effective range of the Val is 300m and the VSS 400m, so no big difference there. The PSO sights made aiming at very close range a bit awkward, but it wasn't that bad, and I was making longer range shots too.

Someone said...

Right. Thanks. Again.