Mortars 101 with FK
So, you want to know how to operate the mortars in such a way that you can land pinpoint strikes on enemy positions without killing your teamates? Hope you like maths. You're gonna need it. Your job as the mortar team is threefold:
- To rain down accurate strikes with 82mm HE rounds
- To provide smoke cover for your platoon to advance
- To illuminate the A.O. should you find yourselves fighting at night without NODs
Failure to do so accurately and timely can, and most likely will, result in heavy casualties amongst the squads and so you must be on point with your calculations, aim and radio comms.
The mortar team consists of 2 (3 if you count the RTO) members, the Gunner and the Assistant.
Mortar Gunner: You'll be the one who gets into the mortar as the Gunner. You point the mortar at the target, set the charge, adjust the elevation and get all the glory stats when you inevitably team kill
Mortar Assistant: You just stand there looking pretty, handling comms, making all the calculations as well as feeding the Gunner the correct bearing to your target and elevation that needs to be set. You also get the fun job of loading each individual round as they're fired. A.K.A. You do all the work. Have fun.
In the mission itself, these two are interchangeable depending on which one of you is more comfortable with calculations etc. For the purpose of this guide, we will assume you'll be doing the job of the slot you go into.
Things you'll need:
- A map
- Map Tools
- Kestrel 4500
- 82mm Rangetable
- The ability to read maps
- The ability to do simple maths - Hope you know your arithmetic
- A long range radio - Preferably the bigger ones. You'll need to carry the mortar rounds in it
- Chic clothing - Make sure to bring a scarf to hang yourself when you inevitably kill an entire squad....of friendlies
Things that will be helpful:
- A Maglite (Or Fulton if you want to feel operator as fuck with the red light for your map instead) - for night ops
- A brain
The basics of how the Mortar works:
- Point the mortar at the target
- Press "F" (or wtv your change fire mode key is) to change the "Charge". You want to use the LOWEST POSSIBLE CHARGE for each target to minimize flight time
Use Page up/Page down to adjust the "Elevation" of the mortar
- The lower the elevation, the further the mortar shell flies, the higher the elevation, the closer the round will land
Okay. You've loaded in, you've got time before the briefing or after the briefing, what do you do now?
- Make sure that you've got all the gear recommeded up there. It is highly recommended you both take a set just in case you end up deciding to swap roles.
- Scan the A.O, look for good spots of relatively flat ground within firing range of the objectives.
Pull out your pack of UNO cards and lose friends when you put down multiple Draw Four and Draw Two cards for the same sorry sod while you wait for the squad plebeians to put their makeup on
Mission's started, you've been TP'd or driven to the FUP/your designated location and you've been ordered to set up:
- Find a good spot to set up. Look for some relatively flat ground with nothing overhead. When you've found a good spot, ping Zeus once, ask him to place down the Mk-6 Mortar and an ACE 82mm Mortar Ammo Box
- The Gunner gets into the mortar in the Gunner seat while the Assistant loads a couple of rounds into their LR
- Radio in to the RTO to let him know that you're set up and then pull out those UNO cards again, make the other guy hate you even more.
Open up your map and bring out your map tools, the next few steps are VERY helpful and I highly recommend you do this if you have time, any and all markers for this part should be done in group chat, NOT side chat
- Keep a note of your own elevation, either remember it or even make a marker on the map next to yourself with the elevation
Mark out points that are 500m, 1km, 1.5km, 2km and 2.5km (give or take, depending on whether you expects any targets further out etc) away from your location in an arc covering the A.O. (holding down left alt and then left clicking and dragging your mouse on the map tool rotates it)
Align the map tool with the objectives and mark down the distance to them and their elevation/difference in elevation
Open up your 82mm Rangetable and find the LOWEST Charge that covers the range to the target (in this case, Charge 1 is just enough to reach both objectives)
Using the range to the target/objective and the table, find the necessary elevation for the mortar and mark it down, in the case of Objective 1:
- 1700m, elevation is 888 on the mortar
- 114m above your mortar, take the value in "D Elev Per 100m DR" and multiply it by (Difference in elevation divided by 100m), in this case 71x(114/100)= 80.94, A.K.A. -81 elevation (you want it to fly "further" since it's above you)
- Hence 888-81=807
You're all set up, targets have been spotted, their locations marked and RTO's requested a fire mission on them:
The RTO will contact you over LR with a request for a fire mission, if we were to say that the PLT wants you to hit Objective 1, probably marked by X-1, with:
- 5 HE rounds
- Across 50 meters
an example of a fire mission will be something like:
"Hammer (that's you), requesting fire mission on marker X-1, grid reference 078 166, 5 rounds HE, 50m spread"
In order to be absolutely sure of these details, it is recommended that you essentially repeat the details back to the RTO, ala:
"Hammer copies, marker X-1, 5 rounds HE, 50m spread"
just so the RTO can confirm it.
As the Assistant:
- Find the target on the map
- Using the map tool again, repeat what you did in the previous section to get the elevation needed for the target (in this case, since X-1 is Obj 1, no need to do that again)
- Get the azimuth towards the target, which in the map tool are the numbers INSIDE the circle, i.e. the ones in the transparent part, around where you see the NESW. The ones in the white part is MILS which you can use as well as the mortar will show it. The MILS system is more accurate, however it is harder to get an exact value for it via map tools.
Take a note of the "Time of Flight" and keep that in mind
The following parts are not necessarily needed too much due to the server settings for wind but it's best you learn anyway, just in case weather is set differently
- Point yourself towards the target and bring out the Kestrel (Self Interaction, Equipment, Open Kestrel 4500). If you've done it properly, you should see a mouse cursor that you can move around and you can click on the buttons on and drag the Kestrel around
Click on the up and down arrows until you reach the "Crosswind" or "Headwind" screens (if your screen shows you a "Max" and "Avg", click the left or right arrow so you have the numbers in the middle)
Click on the center button (the line) and set the Magnetic heading to have it display the values for where you're looking
- If you use Manual Set, you make sure you're just pointed at the target and it will set the azimuth for you
- If you use Auto Set, you don't have to be looking that way but you'll need to use the left/right arrow keys to put in the azimuth
Take a note of the Crosswind and Headwind (the @ value in the Kestrel is the azimuth that the wind is blowing, or you can use "Shift+K" to have an arrow show up in the top left showing you which direction the wind is blowing)
In this case, headwind is 0.6m/s towards the target and crosswind is 0.4m/s to the right so open up your rangetable again,
- look at the "Azimuth correction of Crosswind of 1mps", times that value by the current crosswind to get how many degrees to the left/right to adjust (in this case, it's 0.4x1.3=0.52 degrees to the left)
- look at "Range wind 1mps" and times that value by the current headwind to get how much you should change the elevation (in this case, 0.6x -3.6=-2.16m, A.K.A. you want to "aim" to hit 2.16m closer, which is negligible)
- Feed this information and the numbers to your gunner
- Look at the mouth of the mortar tube (where the rounds come out) and use ACE Interaction, Load Mortar and then load the appropriate rounds and let the gunner know when the round is loaded (You'll have to do this for each individual round)
- Once the first round is fired, start counting down from the "Time of Flight" from the rangetable
When all rounds have been fired, call it out to the RTO, ala
"RTO, Hammer, X-1, rounds complete, time on target: (however long is left until the first round hits), out."
About 5 seconds before the first round hits, call out
- Wait for the next fire mission, rinse and repeat.
As the Gunner:
- Aim the mortar towards the target according to the azimuth your assistant gives you (the system defaults to MILs, if you want it in degrees, Interaction Key, "Toggle MILS", make sure you turn it back to MILS for when you set the elevation)
- Adjust the elevation to whatever your assistant tells you using Page Up and Down
- Wait for the assistant to load a round, he'll tell you when it's loaded and you'll see the round is loaded in the top right.
- Fire the round
- Adjust it slightly to the left/right and adjust the elevation slightly to get a spread for the rounds and fire again.
- Rinse and repeat Step 5 until your fire mission is complete
- Wait for the squads to inevitably say you've killed almost everyone in their squad
- Wait for the next fire mission, rinse and repeat.
That's all to it with mortars, just a little pointing, writing, math....ing? and shooting. Hopefully you'll now know how to operate the mortar in ARMA and hopefully you haven't killed too many friendlies....yet. Just remember, you will still need to attend the training sessions, as well as take part in a certain number of missions under supervision, to get the tag that qualifies you for Mortar usage in the official missions unsupervised. Nevertheless, you can still use a mortar in non-official missions and hopefully you can use what you've learned here to good use.
Edited by Rorkiy