To be clear from the outset ALOT of the information found here is from guides and documents that can be found online, this is NOT an exhaustive list of tactical do's and dont's for ArmA III!! Nothing beats getting out there and getting stuck in. With that said here is a quick intro to the game:
Arma 3 is a first/third person open world shooter developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio and offering a very depth simulation of a real battlefield really hard to find elsewhere. The game, as its predecessors, is completely mods open and present an integrated editor system allowing you to create your missions (and by extension your campaigns) with all the very same tools the developers used to build the scenarios of the official Arma 3 campaign. It is, to give more justice to the game, a military sandbox: wide open terrains with no zone restrictions, ground, air and sea (over and under) vehicles, a full under-water environment, local flora and fauna, day-night cycle, an accurate night sky, tides and moon phases. And of course a large variety of weapons, uniforms, backpacks and military equipment. The possibilities are endless.
The maps you will be operating on are based on real terrain found in the Aegean Sea, The island of Stratis is almost 20 square kilometers large and presents many valleys travelling the entire island in the W-E direction. It has a few civilian settlements, a military airport and some other military camps and installations.
Altis is the main island, with a surface of 280 square kilometres it is the largest terrain ever made in the Arma series. Local flora and fauna are, like on Stratis, typical of the Mediterranean area. Altis offers a rich variety of terrains: the N-W part has a rough terrain, with hills, forests and rocks making travelling outside the roads very difficult. The central and eastern parts are plain with wide areas separating the numerous towns: the perfect place for armoured fighting. Along the Eastern coast you can also find a marsh and two dry salt lakes. There are also many settlements, form scattered cabins in forests to cities, many military installations and a few airports: the main one is the Altis International Airport is located on central Altis. And of course you will find factories, ports, containers’ yards, power plants and power lines, chapels, castles, mines and much more. Together the two islands form the fictional Republic of Altis and Stratis located in the Mediterranean Sea and stage for the Arma 3 single-player campaign.
There’s a total of five factions in Arma III: three are regular armies, one is a guerrilla group and the last is Altis civilians. Each faction has its own uniform/clothes, vehicles and weapons (except for guerrillas).
NATO is a defensive alliance formed after the second world war by western block powers and still effective today. The main power in the NATO ranks are the USA followed by the EU states, UK and Canada. It has partnerships with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, eastern Europe and African countries. In Arma 3 the NATO faction has a dark earth distinctive coloration for uniforms and vehicles that nicely blends with the surrounding environment absolving the purpose of camouflaging. NATO soldiers are well trained and equipped, their vests and helmets are designed to offer the maximum level of protection with the downside of a reduced mobility/speed.
CSAT is a fictional alliance with no counterpart in real life: in Arma 3 it is formed by emerging countries in Middle and Far East and Africa with the goals of expanding influence, sustain growth and mutual military assistance. The troops of CSAT are of Middle-East look – mainly Iranians. In Arma 3 the CSAT faction has a hexagon mimetic pattern with brown-red coloration for uniforms and vehicles; another distinctive peculiarity are the helmets with their unusual shape. As pertaining to regular armies CSAT soldiers are well trained and equipped: they represent the main opponent to NATO forces. CSAT vests and helmets provide limited protection but high mobility and the same concept applies for vehicles. Also, CSAT uniform provides little protection to the entire body (while NATO uniforms are for mimetic purpose only).
AAF is the regular army of the fictional Republic of Altis and Stratis, created in 2030 and, officially, operating under NATO surveillance. According to names and faces the main ethnic group in the AAF is Greek. In Arma 3 the AAF faction has a digital green-beige mimetic pattern for uniforms and vehicles, thus the nickname ‘greenbacks’. AAF soldiers appear to be slightly less trained then the soldiers in the two main factions and with less assets; AAF weakness resides mainly in the lack of experience of commanders. They have little artillery, but they have access to helicopters, jets, tanks, armoured vehicles and boats. Their vests and helmets offer a medium level of protection and mobility: they are not too protected or fast, but they are not too exposed or slow as well.
FIA is a guerrilla group active in the Republic of Altis and Stratis. FIA was created in response to the political and military turn of the Republic Government into a dictatorship (or close to one). The FIA faction employs weapons and equipment taken from the enemy or smuggled in the country by arm dealers. FIA members have no uniform and little vehicles: mainly civilian pickups with a machinegun mounted on the back. Many FIA members are former AAF soldiers so they have military training.
Though the island of Stratis was abandoned by locals, Altis still has a high level of civilians on its soil. Civilians are (usually) unarmed and dressed in common light clothes. There are many civilian vehicles on Altis: cars, pickups, SUVs and more.
The Blessing of Stance Adjust LEFT CTRL + W/S/A/D
Almost every shooter allows you to position in three different stances: standing, kneel and prone. Problem is when you seek for cover behind a vehicle, a wall or any object and no stance actually serves the purpose of keeping you as covered as possible while allowing you to attack what is on the other side of it.
Here’s a very easy – yet common – example: you enter a building and get in position at a window, so if you stand up you are able to shoot outside but you expose all your torso, as well as your head, to enemy fire. If you crouch only the top of your head is exposed but you are not able to return fire anymore. Only solutions are standing on one side of the window (reducing your fire window) or continue to alternate standing and kneel stances.
The stance adjust feature allows you to have intermediate stances between the above mentioned as well as other firing positions unique to Arma 3. To cycle the stances simply hold left ctrl while pressing W or S to change your height or while pressing A or D to set you horizontal position; notice you can combine the horizontal stance adjust with a normal lean (Q and E keys) except when in one of the prone stances.
When in first person your current stance will be displayed by an indicator next to the weapon and ammo informations. The three basic stances are each represented by an icon, the adjusted stances are indicated by an arrow on one side of the icon. So for example couched icon plus lower arrow means lowcrouched stance; crouched icon plus right arrow means right-leaned crouched stance.
Surroundings Awareness by Free Look LEFT ALT
In most of the shooters you are forced to look where you are aiming: if you want to check what is going on somewhere else you’ll have to point your weapon in that direction. This isn’t an issue for most of games, but when you want a game-play to be tactical like the Arma one, perception of your surroundings is a key factor.
This is partially compensated in third person shooters and Arma 3 offers you the possibility to switch from first person to third person at any time. Still, for reality purposes or else, this is hardly enough. Looking in one direction while pointing your gun in another allows you to keep suppressive fire on an enemy position while checking if your teammates are advancing or simply verify if there’s more enemy trying to flank you.
To activate the free look simply hold the left ALT key, once you release it you’ll get back to where you are aiming. Notice that if you are aiming through an optic the free look will work differently: you will aim were you look and when releasing the ALT key you’ll get back to the original aiming direction (more about this in part III – shooting)
You can toggle the free look by double tapping the ALT key. Free look works both on foot and in vehicles.
Move and Fight: Combat Pace C
When you move on foot in Arma 3 you can walk, run or sprint. If you start firing while moving though, your speed is highly reduced. Sometimes the situation requires to advance while keeping pressure on an enemy position (by firing on it) also maintaining a certain speed. The combat pace, or tactical pace, allows you to do it.
Notice that if you activate the combat pace by pressing the C key, your soldier automatically keeps his weapon a little higher, ready to engage. Combat pace can be switched off by pressing again the C key on the keyboard.
Keep in mind that combat pace causes your soldier to be fatigued as much as sprinting or running for long distances.
There is Zooming and ZOOMING RMB
The action of zooming is usually bind to the usage of an optic or a binocular. Arma 3 offers both this items, along with laser designators and rangefinders, but you can perform a slight zoom even without a weapon.
This action is performed via the right mouse button – or RMB for short, by pressing it your soldier will hold his breath. This can be done for a short time (your soldier will then recover from the lack of air) and causes fatigue but gives you some advantages.
If you hold RMB while aiming through an optic that has a fixed zoom capability you will gain a bonus in stability for you weapon (and your aim) but you won’t increase the zoom level. When you release the RMB or when your soldier runs out of air the effect ends and your aim will sway for a bit while you recover.
If you hold RMB while aiming with an adjustable zoom optic you will zoom in to max zoom level. To normally adjust the zoom level with these optics use the + and – keys on your numpad.
If you hold RMB while aiming with an optic that has no zoom, like an holographic optic, or when you are not looking through an optic, you will gain a little zoom and a stability bonus. When you release the RMB or when your soldier runs out of air the effect ends and your aim will sway for a bit while you recover.
If you just press the RMB once you will switch between fire from side and fire using the optic.
All the most physical demanding actions cause your soldier to be fatigued. When the fatigue reaches a certain level you are prevented from sprinting and holding breath, affecting your moving capability and shooting accuracy. The more you are fatigued, the slower your movements are, the rate of slowdown varies according to action performed, weight carried and circumstances. Managing your fatigue is one of the keys to remain effective in a firefight and higher your overall chances of surviving in a mission.
Keep in mind your stance influences the fatigue you accumulate: avoid running while crouched if you can, and be aware that both walking and standing still help restoring fatigue, but standing still is the best way.
Manage your load according to circumstances: the more weight you’re carrying, the harder resting is. A heavy load does not influence your speed, but causes slowdown to take place much sooner.
Of course the terrain you’re travelling on affects your fatigue level. The higher the slope, the more exhausted you’ll become by ascending it.
There’s a variety of uniforms, vests, backpacks, headgears, goggles and of course weapons and ammo in Arma 3. In order to keep under control and have rapid access to what you carry the game presents a well-crafted inventory system.
The inventory is accessible by pressing the I key, once you’ve done it a window will appear. On the central column, at the top, are three slots indicating your uniform/clothes, your vest and your backpack. The white bar under each represent the actual load, once the bar is full there’s no more space for gears. If you click one of the slots the list of the item that gear contains will appear right under it. You can move objects from/to uniform/vest/backpack by dragging them with your mouse. If you right click one item it will be moved on the ground or in what you are looking, like another soldier’s inventory or an ammo cache. Uniforms have little capability and offer little if no protection. The vest is designed to both protect and carry ammo, grenades, optics and has more space available then clothes/uniforms, but it will be quickly filled by heavy and large objects such as rockets and explosives. Those items usually find place in the backpack as well as extra ammo and grenades, tools and extra first aid kits.
There are different uniforms even within the same factions: NATO autoriflemen have a no-sleeves uniform, pilots have a coverall, divers have a diving-suite and so on. Of course the difference are more marked between different factions, with NATO having a sand/olive color, CSAT forces brown/ground and AAF green/beige mimetic pattern. Vests and backpacks are present with many different models as well – differences are both in shape and capability. Vests also offer different protection levels. Notice that you can put another weapon in your backpack/vest/uniform.
On the top right of the inventory window are four slots for head-related items. First on the left is the helmet/cap; there are different type of helmets, they all offer head protection but some have a few accessories like a camera, which is useful in some mods that allow you to see what other group members via their helmet cameras. Boonies, caps and civilian hats offer very little protection. Second slot is for goggles/glasses. They have an esthetic only impact on the game. Only the tactical glasses are equipped with a small screen that can display informations and feeds from other soldiers’ helmet cameras. Third slot is for Night Vision Goggles, NVGs for short: they are really useful in night scenarios. They can be turned on and off by pressing the N key.
Last slot is for binoculars or rangefinders/laser designators. A rangefinder is basically a binocular with a laser for measuring distances. A laser designator is used to designate targets for artillery or CAS.
Right under the head-related items the carried weapons are displayed with their current ammo type, optics and accessories. On the top is our main weapon, usually an assault rifle with the attached elements in withe. Right under the weapon four slots display the accessories and the ammo type loaded (first slot on the right). The white bar next the ammo mag shows the remaining bullets in the loaded mag. The first slot on the left is for the muzzle accessory, if a suppressor is mounted it will show here. Second slot is for a side-rail accessory: infra-red laser (can only be seen with NVGs) or flashlight. Third slot is for the optic. All slots can remain empty (no accessories for the weapon); if the fourth is empty you have no ammo for your weapon.
Under these slots is the launcher (both rockets and missiles, both AT and AA) slot. Same as above for the four accessories slot except launchers have – so far – no accessories. Bottom part for the sidearm: pistol and related accessories are located here. Pistol, as of now, can only be accessorized with a suppressor. To take another weapon simply drag it on the corresponding weapon slot, right over the current one, and it will take its place; all the accessories will be updated as well. You can keep more accessories in your vest/backpack/uniform and mount them as the situation dictates.
Rearming I, MOUSE SCROLL
Object and weapons can also be taken from dead soldiers, ammo caches, vehicles and directly from the environment, like on the ground or on a table. When you are near, for example, an ammo cache, you can open your inventory as usual by pressing the I key or you can move your mouse scroll and select either the ‘rearm at ammo cache’ or ‘inventory’ option (you select by clicking the scroll). The two action are slightly different. The rearm option automatically takes what you are in need of, like grenades and ammo compatible with your weapons. It is useful for quickly looting a body while in combat but not recommended when looking for a specific item. The inventory options opens your inventory window, in the left column you will find everything the cache/soldier/vehicle contains and get what you need. Notice that vests, uniforms and backpacks contain objects and you’ll need to open them by double-clicking on their icon.
In order to access a fallen soldier’s inventory get close to them, once in the scroll menu you see the ‘rearm at’ option you can access the soldier’s gears by clicking the ‘inventory’ option. Once again, the ‘rearm at’ option must be present but you’ll have to click the ‘inventory’ one. If the first is not shown then you will only see what is on the ground, typically the main weapon.
Finally, at the bottom of the central column in the inventory, five dedicated slots are displayed. Here is place for basic items (every soldier should have them all, only exception is GPS) very useful to all soldiers.
Location - Map M
The map is the basic item to have a general understanding of what is around, on a medium/large scale, and to plan movements. It can be recalled directly using the M key and each soldier can put marks or else on it so that the other friendly forces can see them. To mark a position on the map simply double click on it, then circle the possible markers with the up and down arrows, once that is done you can add some text. This way you can mark enemy positions, minefields, rendezvous and everything you think is worth to be marked. Whether your mark will be visible to other soldiers or not depends on what radio channel you were in when you put it on the map (more about this on the Radio section). Remember not to saturate the map with markers. The map presents a grid, useful to determine coordinates and value distances. The smaller grid presents squares with a side of 100 meters, zooming out the side becomes 1 km and the largest grid has a square side of 10 km. Each square of the small grid is linked to a particular coordinate. Coordinates are two values, each represented by three numbers, for axis X and Y (in this order). When you hoover on a position with your cursor the grid coordinates will appear on the screen, along with altitude on sea level.
Position – GPS RIGHT CTRL + M
Second slot is for the GPS. You can display it by holding right CTRL and pressing M; it will show you a small portion of the map keeping your current position always centered. The GPS is very useful for helicopters and jet pilots to know exactly where they are and their immediate surroundings. Notice that the GPS screen shows all the marks on the map.
Comms – Radio CAPS LOCK
Having a radio allows you to communicate with every other player that has one himself. It serves the purposes of sharing intel, asking informations, coordinate soldiers and groups and many more. To talk through the radio simply hold the Caps lock key while speaking into your microphone, you can double-tap the key to keep the channel open. The radio has multiple channels - frequencies – each one has a different purpose as it will reach a particular group of soldiers. You can cycle the radio channels by using the , and . keys. Different channels allow the radio traffic to be distributed via multiple ways so that more people are able to communicate at the same time.
Note that when you are talking, on whatever channel, the people in your immediate vicinity can hear you, just like when you talk to the telephone. A game chat is also present, you call it with the – key, then you type the message and press Enter. The chat is linked to the radio channel you are using, so you may/ may not reach every player. Finally, when you put a mark on the map its visibility will be given by the radio channel you are using when you put it down. So if you are in Group Channel and put a marker on the map indicating a minefield only the soldiers in your group will see it.
Direction – Compass K
The compass shows you the cardinal points, which is useful to navigate the map and follow a pre-determined route. It also has two rings of numbers in the outer part. Here you’ll learn how to use the inner circle of numbers. You can call the compass by holding the K key or double-tap it to keep it on screen. When you spot an enemy, or you want to point out an enemy shooter, or just want to give a rough direction to your teammates you describe to them where you are looking at (“top of the hill, behind that group of rocks”). Sometimes this isn’t sufficient: there may be too little references. The compass is a helpful tool in situation like this. Hold it while pointing it at where you want to and report the number you read in the inner circle to your squad like this “Enemy shooter, bearing 120”. If the squad is close enough to you, every member will have the 120 bearing in the same direction and they will look exactly where you are. Of course the best method is to combine the two above: “Enemy shooters, 200 meters, top of the hill bearing 85”.
Time – Watch O
You can call the watch by pressing the O key, or double-tap it to keep the watch on screen. The watch displays the in-game time. It is used to estimate the time remaining before sunset/sunrise and to coordinate actions.
Finally, the white bar at the bottom of the inventory window represent you actual load. The heavier your load, the easier you will be fatigued when sprinting, running and performing other fatiguing actions.
Peace is rarely an option in Arma 3, and you are equipped with a complete arsenal: assault rifles, pistols, launchers, grenades, mines, explosives and so on. This part will focus on how to effectively manage a firearm in Arma 3.
Choose your Weapon Ò, SCROLL MENU
You can carry up to three weapons: a rifle or LMG, a launcher and a pistol. To select what weapon to equip use the mouse scroll, on the left side of the screen a list of your carried weapons will be displayed, along with possible actions. Weapons are listed by their name. You can also use the ò key to switch between rifle and sidearm. Your current weapon appears on the top right of the weapon/ammo window.
Select your Firemode F
Many weapons allow you to fire in different modes once you press the trigger: single bullet, burst, automatic fire. Also, some weapons have a grenade launcher attachment under the barrel design to fire M203 grenades as well as smokes and flares. The possible fire-mods can be cycled by pressing the F key. Some weapon may or may not present all the fire-mods listed above. The current fire-mod is displayed on the HUD in the weapon/ammo window. Under the weapon’s name are white bars: one bar for single shot, three bars for burst and five bars for automatic fire. The grenade launcher will appear as an independent weapon in the weapon window. Notice it has its own optic, sometimes mounted on the left side of the barrel.
Use the Crosshair MOUSE
The crosshair gives you a general idea of where your weapon is pointed at. Firing from the side using the crosshair to aim usually results in bullets dispersion in the targeted area. This kind of fire is useful for suppression or when in close quarters. It can also be used to return fire while seeking for cover by shooting some rounds in the general direction of the enemy. The crosshair presents a few useful features. When firing repeatedly in a short period the crosshair enlarges itself indicating your shots to be less accurate due to the weapon’s recoil. The same effect is present while moving. Your stance influences you precision: shooting from a crouched or prone position results in more accurate fire.
Since the optics are mounted on top of the barrel sometimes you can see the target through it but your muzzle is pointing at your cover and when you shoot the bullets hit the cover. The crosshair position itself on where the bullets will impact thus giving you the ability to know if you are going to hit the target or you need to raise the weapon or adjust your stance.
Zeroing PAGUP, PAGDOWN
All bullets are influenced by gravity when flying, meaning the longer they travel, the more they drop. When firing, especially from great distances, this effect must be taken in consideration, and adjustments need to be made in order to balance it. On the bottom left of your weapon/ammo window is a value in meters: this is the distance at which your shots will impact where you aim. This value is known as zeroing. So if you aim at the head of a target distant 300 meters and your weapon has a 200 meters zeroing, your bullet will impact lower than the head, probably in the chest. With the same target at 100 meters your bullet will fly over his head.
All weapons have a fixed zeroing, usually 200 or 300 meters. Some optics present a reticule that allows you to compensate for bullet drop (see optics for details), like the MRCO and RCO. Sniper optics, as well as vehicle turrets optics, have adjustable zeroing. To increase and decrease the zeroing use the PagUp and PagDown keys.
Make it Easier: Optics RMB,CTRL+RMB
Optics absolve the purpose of delivering a more precise fire and offer an overall increased capability of scouting. They came in different models and magnifying power; some also have night or thermal vision modes. Some optics actually present two distinguished optics: take the RCO as an example (Rifle Combat Optic: standard NATO optic for rifleman). The optic closer to the barrel has a fixed zoom and a reticule to adjust your aim according to target’s distance, the upper optic, right on top of the first, has no zoom and only presents a red dot to help you aim. To switch between the two optics hold right CTRL and press the RMB.
The reticule is employed in making vertical adjustments to compensate bullet dropping: the center of the main cross is used for targets at 300 meters (standard assault rifle zeroing), every 100 more meters you have to use one of the lines below, some of them present a number (number x 100 = distance of target). The longer the bullet has to travel, the higher you aim to compensate gravity fall. Lines are progressively shorter, indeed they represent the distance shoulder to shoulder of a target at the corresponding distance, thus giving you a chance to evaluate distances, tough the enemy soldier has to face your direction.
Sniper rifles have powerful optics, like the SOS optic. It has an adjustable zoom (+ and – keys on the numpad) up to x70 magnification and the rifle itself has multiple zeroing levels, allowing precise shooting from 300 to 2700 meters.
Even when using an optic, your aim will sway making a precise shot harder; this effect can’t be eliminated but it can be greatly reduced. Stance influences your aim, better to be prone or crouched when firing. If you hold RMB you will hold your breath and gain a temporary boost in precision, but you will need a little recovery time if you don’t breath for too long and your aim will sway in recovery. Optics count as accessories, meaning they are carried and attached to weapons in the inventory (see part II – Inventory). You can of course carry different optics and switch between them as the situation dictates.
Silence with Suppressors I
When you are playing stealthy a suppressor can really come in handy. You can mount it on your weapon and take it off at any moment in the inventory. A suppressor provides a marked reduction either in your shooting noise and your muzzle flash (the flash originating from your weapon when firing), thus reducing the chances of being spotted or heard when firing by enemy soldiers. Be aware that within a certain distance enemy will still be activated (start behaving aware of enemy presence) or alarmed by your shots. Even when firing from a distance your muzzle flash can be spotted (the suppressor reduces it, doesn’t eliminate it). Also when a suppressor is equipped, the bullet carries less energy when shot, so you will deal less damage to your target.
Side Rail: Flashlight and IR laser L
A flashlight can be attached to the side of your rifle barrel and turned on by pressing the L key. It illuminates the area where your rifle is pointed and results useful at night when NVGs aren’t available or in dark environments like the inside of a building. On the downside a soldier with a lit flashlight is very easy to spot in the dark, even from great distances. It is recommended to use the flashlight inside buildings and reduce its usage as much as possible in the open. The infra-red laser is also turned on, when equipped, by the L key, but it can be seen only when using NVGs, so careful: both you and enemies with NVGs can see it. It projects a laser in the direction you are aiming, allowing you to mark targets quickly for your teammates and point a precise spot. The laser is useful within a certain range, beyond that it disperses and can’t be seen. Be aware that even though you can use only one side barrel accessory at a time, you can carry the other in your inventory and put it on when needed.
Ammo SCROLL MENU
Each weapon presents different calibers and each requests its particular ammo. Weapons with the same caliber can use the same ammo. Single bullets are packed in magazines (mags for short) that you carry in your inventory. Mags can accommodate a various number of bullets: pistols mags carry around 10 bullets each due to the compact size, assault rifles have 20 to 30 rounds mags and LMGs use ammo belts with 100 or more rounds. When you reload with some rounds still in your mag, that mag remains in your inventory. When reloading the new mag is always a full one if available, otherwise one of the partially empty will be load. In the weapon/ammo window are two numbers separated by a vertical line: on the left is the rounds still in your mag, on the right the number of mags available. If the informations in the weapon/ammo window became red, your mag is empty and you have to reload.
To check if a mag can be used in one of your weapons simply open your inventory and drag it, if the ammo slot of your weapon is highlighted the ammo will fit. Same applies to rockets and missiles. Grenades for the grenade launcher are universal: all factions use the same caliber. Mags can carry normal rounds or tracers rounds; tracers rounds can be seen when fired (the visual effect is similar to a laser being fired) both at night and in broad daylight. Tracers are useful to quickly indicate an enemy by firing on him so that the rest of the team can attack him as well. Notice that normal ammo mags always have tracers as their last few rounds (typically the last three rounds), so that you mark the position you are firing at and another soldier can keep firing there while you reload. Be aware: tracers work both ways: your teammates will see where you are firing as much as the enemy will see where the tracers come from, and know your position.
Grenade launchers can fire different ammo types: HE grenades, Smoke grenades, Flares. HE grenades are basically explosive grenades (HE = highly explosive) that explodes when hitting an object (ground, a rock, a wall and so on). They are designed to activate the explosive charge after a minimum flight, so they won’t explode if you fire them too close to yourself. Smoke grenades release smoke shortly after being fired and have no minimum range for activation; they are useful to put smoke on a distant position (i.e. to mark it for an helicopter attack) or directly on the enemies to block their view (buying time for your squad to move). Smoke rounds are available in different colors, each color may or may not be used to signal something in particular according to pre-determined signals (i.e. green for friendlies, red for enemies, blue for LZ). Flares burn shortly after being fired and illuminate the surrounding area for a short period; you can both fire them on the ground or in the air to illuminate a vast area while they fall.
To equip different ammo types for the weapon you are employing, move the scroll to call the menu on the left side of the screen, if you can load a different ammo type there will be an option.
Grenades and Chemlights G, CTRL+G
Along ammo and weapons, every soldier carries a few grenades, both smoke and HE, and some chemlights. Squad leaders also carry some IR grenades. HE grenades are the explosive grenades you can find in all shooters and they work in the same way. There is a smaller version, the mini HE, which takes less space in your inventory but also deals less damage and in a reduced radius. Smoke grenades release smoke after being tossed, they are used for multiple purpose: cover movements, mark spots, break line of sight of the enemy. There are multiple colors for smoke. Chemlights are tossed to illuminate the environment in a short radius for some minutes. There are multiple colors for chemlights. Once a chemlight is tossed it can’t be picked up or turned off (it is on until the chemical reaction in it is finished). Finally, IR grenades are basically an Infra-Red strobe that can be tossed: neither exploding nor emitting smoke, they are visible to all players using NVGs and are used to mark positions, especially in situations of technological advantage. (i.e. you can toss it on a rooftop where enemies without NVGs are in cover and request CAS using the strobe as a marker; they have no NVGs, so they won’t see it). The throw weapon currently selected is displayed in the weapon/ammo window on the bottom right along with the amount available. To cycle your grenades and chemlights, both in type and color, hold left CTRL and press G. To toss one, press the G key.
Rockets and Missiles: Launchers SCROLL MENU
Arma 3 offers the player a variety of rocket and missile launchers, either anti-tank (AT) and anti-air (AA). Launchers have a dedicated slot in the inventory and they are carried on the back, so they are visible to other units and players. Remember: you can use a launchers only when standing or crouched; if you switch to the launcher while prone you will automatically crouch. Same applies for reloading. Missile launchers have guidance capability, meaning that after the missile is fired you can guide its trajectory by aiming at where you want it to go (useful for distant moving targets). Rocket launchers can’t guide the rockets and the operator relies on the optic for an accurate shot: same as for rifles, optic reticule used to compensate gravity drop. AA missile launchers, as well as the AT models, have locking capability: aim at a target vehicle or air, the hold the RMB until a white diamond appears on the target, when it does appear the target is locked and the missile will automatically follow it. Keep in mind that all air and armored vehicles have countermeasures designed to avoid locking, or at least make it harder. Finally, some launchers can fire anti-infantry rockets, designed to strike enemy troops concentrations.
Mines and Explosives: Ordinances SCROLL MENU
You can carry a variety of mines and explosives with you and place them at your discretion. To do so simply call the scroll menu and select the ordinance you want to use and select it by pressing the scroll: a quick animation will be played and the mine/explosive charge will be put on the ground in front of you. All mines, despite the differences in shape, size and weight, work in the same way: once triggered they explode dealing damages to surrounding units. Some mines are triggered when a unit gets close enough to them, others have a tripwire activation. There are AP, AT and sea mines.
Once you place a mine or detect one placed by enemies a small red triangle will appear on the mine’s position: the entire squad will be aware of the threat. Also the mine will be visible on the map. To disarm a mine you’ll have to carry a toolbox (standard equipment for explosive specialist). Approach the mine prone and slowly to prevent its activation, once you are close enough the disarming action will appear in the side menu. If you are not an explosive expert take in account a small failure possibility in disarming the mine. Grenades, rockets and artillery rounds exploding near a mine can trigger its detonation. Explosives charges are more powerful than mines, they can be remotely detonate within a certain range by the soldier who placed it. Also, a timer can be set on the charge itself so that it will go off forty seconds after the activation.
Static Weapons SCROLL MENU
There are mainly three types of static weapons: HMGs (Heavy MachineGuns, typically 50 cal.), GMGs (Grenade MachineGuns) and Mortars. Both HMGs and GMGs have a raised version, that allows the gunner to stand while operating it. To use a static weapon simply get close to it while pointing it and an option will appear in your scroll menu to get in the weapon as gunner. To leave control double tap the ejection key (default key is V) or select the relative option in the scroll menu. All static weapons have optics that you can use by pressing zero on your numpad, also you can cycle between possible visions by pressing ‘N’ (normal, thermal, night vision). Ammo for the static weapon you are employing will be displayed like for any other weapon. Mortars can fire different type of rounds (HE, smoke, flares), select the ammo type with the scroll menu. Also for easier and more precise fire mortars have an artillery computer. See appendix C for its usage.
Weapon Stabilization C
When shooting a firearm precision, rate of fire, recoil, magazine capacity and stability have o be taken in account in order to be an effective rifleman. Rate of fire, recoil and magazine capacity vary according to the weapon employed. Precision and stability are also affected by this choice but can be controlled up to a certain degree. Employing optics and knowing how zeroing works greatly helps your precision. Weapon stabilization comprises 2 inter-related subcomponents: resting and deployment. They both provide benefit to your weapon stability, with the greatest bonus coming from deployment. A stable firing position allows you to rest your weapon on it granting a ‘resting bonus’ to your weapon stability. If your weapon has a bipod attachment you can deploy your bipod on stable surfaces by pressing the ‘C’ key, this will lock your weapon in the deployed position where you will have an arc of roughly 90 degrees for firing. When employing a deployed weapon your stability gets a significant bonus while your freedom of movements is reduced. You can both rest your weapon and deploy its bipod on the ground when in prone stance. To check if your weapon is actually resting on a surface or whether you can deploy your bipod or not simply look at the stance icon.
The buddy buddy system ensures that every person has at least one other person looking out for them at all times. It simply means that you always move with, watch out for, and fight with at least one other person at your side. Buddy teams are standardized in the platoon, though fireteam leads can choose to change the groupings as the situation dictates.
The standard buddy teams are set up as follows: the Fireteam Leader is by himself, while the first two members of the fireteam - typically the Autorifleman and Assistant (known as the AR/AAR pair) - are grouped together. The last three members - either another AR/AAR pair, or three riflemen or riflemen AT - are the second buddy team. The fireteam leader is generally treated as if a member of the AR/AAR buddy team, though the requirements of his leadership often mean that he’s having to move between the two buddy teams to check lanes of fire and similar.
The first buddy team - AR/AAR combo - is usually the heavier-hitting of the two, due to them employing the fireteam’s automatic rifle. The Fireteam Leader will keep them nearby and assign them positions and sectors of fire as the fighting develops. The second team may or may not have an automatic rifle, and is typically where you as a newer player will find yourself.
Note that if you are using the ShackTac Fireteam Hud, and the Fireteam Leader is using it properly, you will see the buddy teams given color-codes such that they easily stick out on the Hud. More on this later in the Fireteam section.
Below is a list of CORE roles within a basic squad, there are other roles you can be a part of in ArmA III like Amoured Support, Air support, Recon teams etc but this is the basic core of what a fire team is typically made up of.
The squad leader has similar responsibilities to the fireteam leader, except instead of controlling individual players, they control entire fireteams. They are tasked with leading their squad in accordance with the platoon commander's intent and direction, as well as coordinating laterally with their fellow squads. Squad Leaders:
• Get their direction from the platoon commander. They are expected to be able to take a broad goal set by the platoon commander, and turn it into a plan that they can pass down to their fireteam leaders. This includes setting rules of engagement, formations, waypoints, rally points, movement speeds, and any other relevant information.
• Ensure that their team leaders and squad members know what the plan is. The “commander's intent” is conveyed to all squad members so that whatever happens, regardless of casualties, everyone knows what the end goal is and can adapt and work towards that with flexibility and responsiveness.
• Position themselves so that they can best observe their fireteams, and exercise command and control over them. A squad leader who isn't staying close to their fireteams is quickly rendered ineffective. Squad leaders must always be with their fireteams, positioned where they can make sound and timely tactical judgments, and issue clear and appropriate orders. Typically a squad leader will be just behind the front line, positioned to where they can see as much of their squad as the tactical situation allows for.
• Dictate squad formations, rules of engagement, and general combat posture, adapting to the situation at hand and the Platoon Commander's guidance. The squad leader must be ever vigilant regarding the tactical situation and must be able to make timely adjustments to the squad's formation, ROE, posture, and more.
• Communicate key information across to other squad leaders and up to the platoon commander. This includes information like casualties incurred, enemy contacts, ammunition status, and other vital pieces of information that maintain the platoon's situational awareness and assist the other squad leaders and platoon commander in their planning.
• Maintain situational awareness on the platoon's disposition, as well as that of the enemy. Knowing where friendly forces are is critical to avoiding friendly fire incidents, and knowing where the enemy is gives the squad leader important information to use in making tactical decisions. The squad leader should be actively telling their squad members where friendly forces are, to ensure that the risk of blue-on-blue is minimized.
• Wield their fireteams as their weapons by directing and controlling their fire, picking out and assigning key targets, and manoeuvring the fireteams across the battlefield. A squad leader who is giving good, timely orders, manoeuvring his fireteams through combat and directing their fire, does far more damage to the enemy than one who is preoccupied with his own rifle. A squad leader avoids becoming personally engaged in firefights when possible, instead focusing on designating targets, maintaining awareness of the tactical situation, communicating with higher leadership, manoeuvring the teams, directing and controlling their fires, and coordinating the handling of any casualties that occur. The squad leader may use their rifle's tracers to direct fire, or UGL smoke or flare rounds to designate targets or screen movement, but they generally spend more time commanding than they do shooting. This has the additional benefit of making them less likely to draw the attention of the enemy, and helps to prevent tunnel vision from taking effect.
• Know how to consolidate and reorganize teams when casualties occur. This includes using group management features in an expedient fashion, as well as consolidating communication channels when required.
• Keep their squad tied-in with other friendly squads when moving in a platoon formation. The squad leader must stay aware of how close their squad is to other squads, to ensure that dangerous gaps do not develop in the overall formation. The tighter and more broken the terrain, the more important this becomes.
When so many rounds are flying around, someone's bound to get hit sooner or later. Unfortunately, this someone is occasionally a fellow squad member. When it happens, the squad medic is the man to turn to. The squad medic is critically important - they are the key to maintaining the combat effectiveness of the squad when heavy contact has been made. Squad Medics:
• Are concerned first and foremost with the welfare of their squad members. While a medic carries a rifle, it is nowhere near as powerful as the skill they bring as a healer. Medics leave the fighting to the infantry, instead focusing on patching up the wounded and getting them back into the fight. Medics should only fire their weapon in self-defense, or in the defense of the wounded. Medics:
• Stay slightly removed from the front line. This gives the medic a view of the bulk of the squad disposition and helps to prevent tunnel vision. By staying off of the front line, the medic is able to manoeuvre to different fireteams more easily in response to people being wounded, without drawing the same kind of fire as a frontline player.
• Look out for their squad leader and provide rear and flank security when not acting in a medical capacity. The squad leader often is preoccupied with commanding fireteams, leaving them less time to watch their own back and flanks. The medic fills this gap whenever not actively helping out wounded players.
• Are comfortable with using smoke to provide concealment for the wounded. Medics carry a number of smoke grenades that are intended to be used to conceal wounded players so that someone else can rush out and drag them to safety. Knowing where and when to throw these smoke grenades is a key skill for a medic to develop. A medic must be conscious of masking the wounded person from enemy observation, while at the same time not compromising the visibility of friendly elements.
• Triage their patients. A medic must be able to rapidly diagnosis casualties and pick out the ones that need the most urgent attention. Find those who are heavily damaged - such as those that can no longer move at a jogging pace - and prioritize their treatment. People who have been lightly wounded and are in pain can wait - the urgent ones cannot. In more advanced wounding models, various medical treatment options may be available, with more wounding states, such as unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, etc. The triaging of these sorts of near-death casualties always takes precedence over those who are lightly wounded.
The automatic rifleman is the fireteam's heavy firepower. They carry an MX SW by default, giving them the ability to throw hundreds of rounds downrange in short order. The AR is second in command of the fireteam. In the event that the team leader becomes a casualty, the AR immediately takes charge of the fireteam and communicates their new role to the squad leader. The AR is responsible for employing their weapon in a manner that maximizes the killing and suppressive power of it, allowing their teammates to manoeuvre with the support of their fire. Automatic Riflemen:
• Control their fire. Short bursts tend to be the best way to employ a machinegun. The general guideline is to fire in six to eight round bursts, pausing between bursts to observe the effects of your fire, assess, and then reengage as necessary. With that being said, bear in mind that as contacts appear closer to the team, longer bursts can be used due to the greater chances of hitting closer targets.
• Stay aware of their ammunition state. This takes two forms: One, know how many rounds are left in your current belt or box - make sure not to get caught with only a few left when contact is made - and two, stay aware of your overall ammo count. You must ensure that you're carrying as much ammo as feasible, and as you free up space for more ammo, your assistant should be ready to pass you fresh belts or boxes.
• Take initiative on contact & achieve fire superiority. Upon receiving enemy fire, each AR knows that it is their responsibility to return as heavy of a volume of fire as possible, with the intent of achieving fire superiority over the attacking forces. The amount of return fire given by each AR is a decisive factor in the ability of his fireteam members to manoeuvre to advantageous positions, or towards cover or concealment as required.
• Are comfortable with being employed in the base of fire element. ARs must be familiar with the concept of acting as part of a 'base of fire' element. This includes being proficient at long-range fire, knowing how to shift fire to account for friendly forces reaching and moving through the objective area, and how to fire controlled, sustained, and effective suppression.
• Maintain appropriate positioning. When the fireteam leader does not explicitly dictate otherwise, it's up to the automatic rifleman to maintain a position in the formation appropriate to the terrain, enemy, et cetera. He must constantly be aware of possible firing positions from which he can best employ his AR, and be able to move to them and begin engaging the enemy at a moment's notice.
The assistant automatic rifleman, or “AAR”, is the right-hand man of the automatic rifleman. They help spread-load the ammunition duties with the AR by carrying additional ammunition for that weapon. The AAR's role is to stick with the AR and provide support - the two always form a buddy team. The AAR supports the AR in the form of providing security, helping to spot, engage, and adjust fire on targets. If the automatic rifleman is killed, the assistant will take control of the weapon and become the fireteam's new automatic rifleman. In the event that both the AR and FTL become casualties, the AAR will take control of the team's riflemen and assess the situation. If possible, the AAR will maintain the remaining four members as a distinct fireteam - if unable, such as due to high casualties or confusion, the crippled fireteam may merge with another. Assistant Automatic Riflemen:
• Look out for their automatic rifleman combat buddy. Your role is to protect the AR and help to augment their effectiveness. Do whatever you can to help keep them in the fight. Be especially alert for any enemies attempting to flank them. While the entire fireteam should be concerned with flank security, the AAR should be even more active in scanning for such threats. The AR is a devastating unit when employed properly, with the enemy will recognize and attempt to eliminate.
• Scan for, spot, and call out targets for the AR. Particularly while the AR is engaging, it's up to the assistant to search for, spot, and communicate the positions of any priority targets. • Are proactive in ammo distribution. Don't wait until the AR asks for a reload, instead be ready to supply a new box of ammo during lulls in combat. Always ensure that the AR is loaded and good to go.
• Assist in making fire adjustments. The assistant can often see the results of the AR's fire more clearly than the AR can. If need be, the assistant should be ready to call out fire adjustments to help the AR work their rounds onto target. For instance - “bring it up, you're hitting low”, “more left”, etc.
• Never drop the extra automatic rifleman ammo you're carrying because it's “heavy”. The AAR's role is in large part to bring along extra ammunition for their automatic rifleman buddy.
• Maintain appropriate positioning. The assistant should generally be within shouting distance of the automatic rifleman, and oftentimes much closer.
Fireteams will typically carry light anti-tank weaponry if enemy armor is expected to be present in an area. Generally, this will result in the team's rifleman being given a single-shot light anti-tank weapon like the AT-4 or M72 LAW. The anti-tank rifleman will carry out their normal rifleman duties, and in the event that enemy armor is encountered, they will immediately transition into anti-tank mode and attempt to take it out based upon their team and squad leader's directives. As their name implies, light anti-tank launchers are an effective weapon for usage against light armor such as armored personnel carriers, while heavier armor such as that found on main battle tanks will require multiple impacts from LAT weaponry to defeat. AT soldiers:
• Are proficient with their assigned anti-tank weapon and are able to engage enemy armor with confidence out to at least 300 meters. The more, the merrier - 300m is the bare minimum expected. To attain this proficiency, AT riflemen are expected to spend 'range time' engaging stationary and moving targets at various distances until they are confident in their first-shot abilities.
• Take only the shots they know they can hit. Due to it being a single-shot weapon, an AT rifleman cannot afford to miss their shot. When in doubt, if time and the tactical situation allow for it, don't hesitate to pass the AT off to a player who is more proficient if you feel that you cannot be successful with it - preferably before combat starts.
• Aim for the flanks, rear, or top of an armored vehicle. Armored vehicles tend to have their heaviest armor in the front, with the sides, rear, and top being thinner and more favorable places to hit them. Bear in mind that flank shots will have a chance to induce a “mobility kill” via 'tracking' (destroying the tank tracks) a tank. A tank that has been “mobility killed” is still a threat if the turret is still functional, so ensure that it is fully knocked out with an additional AT shot from another squad member.
• Take cover once they've fired their anti-tank weapon. Tank crews tend to react with anger towards being shot at by things that can actually harm them. If firing a hard-launch weapon, the backblast will kick up a dust signature that will allow a tank crew to spot you if you do not take cover or relocate.
• Know the capabilities and limitations of their weapon and utilize the principle of “volley firing” on targets when in doubt of a one-shot kill. Light anti-tank weapons have a tendency to not be terribly effective against medium and heavy armor. With this in mind, anti-tank personnel are expected to work towards using “volley firing” to engage difficult targets (either heavy armor or difficult shots). Volley firing is the act of having multiple anti-tank gunners ready to engage a target at the same time. This maximizes the chance to knock out a target - if one gunner misses, the other can adjust and fire a killing shot. Or, for heavy armor like tanks, multiple hits can be delivered in the span of seconds.
• Are familiar with the backblast danger presented by their weapon, and know how to clear it. In some mods, anti-tank weapons produce a hazardous backblast when they are fired - typically in the form of a cone extending 60-90° from the rear of the launch tube, and producing damage anywhere from 30-60 meters behind the launcher. The backblast of most anti-tank weapons has the capacity to kill or seriously wound those who are in the danger area, though it falls off over distance significantly. Some weapons are designed to have “soft-launch” capabilities that reduce or remove the backblast hazard, but you're unlikely to find light anti-tank weapons with such a feature.
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.
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. When operating in denser terrain such as urban operations or in theaters where the enemy presence is significant, sniper teams can be augmented with additional members. A common technique is to use two sniper teams, with two or more additional infantry coming along as a security element. Regardless of the overall size of the team, the basic responsibilities of a sniper and spotter pair are as follows.