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Operation Sidestep 18/12/2020 @ 19:00 UTC


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Mission Name:



Server Details: 


Port: 2302


Mods Required:

Arma 3 Preset OP Sidestep.html


TS address: ts.ahoyworld.net


Expected Mission Length: 120+ minutes (may go over or under expected mission length)


Player Slots: 36 (5 Squads of 6, 2 Vortex and a 4 man command element)




The CHADS are tied down in Finland, they reported and NATO forces have confirmed the detection of some strange signals and even more concerning electrical surges originating from the island of Gogland (Suursaari in finnish) (loc: Gulf of Finland between Finland, Estonia and Russia). SAT imagery is blocked by interference, drone coverage is zero, for unknown reasons our drones went haywire as soon as they approached the island, civilian communication seized to exist. Something is happening on that island, and your job is to find out what. Under the cover of night and with the help on an oil tanker ship your company set up a temporary resupply and command point near the main island, and your job today will be to investigate the sources of the strange signals, approx origin points have been marked on your map. Don't linger around for too long, our presence may be interpreted as an act of war.



3 x MH-6

Various ground support vehicles



Friendly Forces:



Enemy Forces:




Civilian presence unknown



Infiltrate the island of Suursaari, investigate the origins of the strange signals and electrical interference in order to reestablish SAT and Drone coverage. Re-establish military communication relay between Finland and NATO forces, if possible, confirm civilian presence and investigate the cause of civilian communication disappearance. The operation is covert, be as silent as possible, direct contact with civilians is to be avoided if possible.





1. Infiltrate the island

2. Investigate the source of the strange signals and report

3. Re-establish civilian and military communication (possible signal jamming device must be destroyed or deactivated)

4. Exfil


Movement Plan:

At Commanders discretion


Rules of Engagement:

Covert operation(!!!), avoid contact engage only if being engaged upon, based on current squad orders, may change if the situation develops

Civilians are present in the area so collateral damage and civilian visual contact is to be kept to a minimum.



Admin & Logistics


Equipment & Resupply:

At the commander’s control, assets are available at base to facilitate this.




At commanders discretion, transport assets are available.



Command & Control



Overall command lays with codename "Overlord" who will set objectives and ROE.

Operational control on the ground lies with the Platoon Commander.



Radio channels are set for each element and can be viewed as part of the Diary accessible through the map . Platoon has limited discretion for change but structure is to be maintained. 



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Sorry to disappoint with the aliens.... maybe next time, or maybe somebody else. Hopefully the spook level can be kept up with that aswell.

Unfortunatley for charlie, they ended up as the anvil, getting hit every time, stumbling into contact after contact right after the 1st objective, dooming them into the combat->medicing up->combat cycle, delayed their movements and eventually got them left behind by the other teams. Unfortunate events seemed to follow charlie as the first round of extract helo had a little bit of a malfunction, further delaying the roll, denying the chance to reset on the last objective. 


Good job everyone sneaking past the patrols, doing the execution style pop-pop (was pretty cool to watch a whole team drop), hiding from the trucks, ducking between patrols, threading the needle, and switching to be loud as the situation developed. Again, unfortunate events like a domino effect put in more and more wait time, which at the end staggered the teams pick-ups and relocations enough to have charlie completely (well, almost, they saw the emp wave and even got hit by it) miss out on the last objective.


I was contemplating a 3rd vortex slot, but then decided against it convincing myself, the turn out wouldn't be more than 24 (thats 3 full birds), now i see i made an error there. As well as with the emp script, which i now know where it could be optimized. At least the fps seemed okay up until that point.


As per enemies phasing through walls on the last objective, well, hand placed buildings, garrisoned ai and reacting to contact ungarrisoning them and arma features sometimes pushes a few of them through the walls.


If Midnight wants to take another week off at some point, maybe i can revisit the alien theory with better scripts and less errors. Maybe.


Thanks everyone

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8 hours ago, Gambit said:

Unfortunatley for charlie, they ended up as the anvil, getting hit every time, stumbling into contact after contact right after the 1st objective, dooming them into the combat->medicing up->combat cycle, delayed their movements and eventually got them left behind by the other teams. Unfortunate events seemed to follow charlie as the first round of extract helo had a little bit of a malfunction, further delaying the roll, denying the chance to reset on the last objective. 

Maybe as a solution that I see other Zeuses using: Either if you see this happening just tone down the enemies skill making them easier to kill and giving the squad a chance to escape the loop. But if you don't want that or it is already too late for this, then if there is long downtime for only a certain squad (like the 30+ min for C/D at the cave entrance) and you cannot really move them at this moment, just spawn them some enemies in the vicinity (just make sure via Zeus that they do not create a further delay but instead are just serving as a distraction). This way you can also heavily punish people letting their guard down reminding everyone they are still on hostile territory (@kennychr for example excels at this with enemy snipers...also this gives the Zeus some fun times shooting at things)

I think this is generally a good skill to have as Zeus as Operations often do not go according to planning but you then still must ensure that people enjoy your OP. So having a backup plan or so for situations like these is always nice. And if you only spawn one or two squads it wont hurt FPS at all.

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@Noah_Hero to give you my point of view, AI was already on kind of low skill from the start (lower than default to account for the sneaky bits and spot distance, close engagements).

The story of charlie went something like this. They took the W approach, half of the team got tasked with cutting off escapees from 1st objective, but that unfortunately put them in a position where they were between a qrf base (the garages with the gaz) and expecting enemies from two opposite direction. QRF mobilized, half of charlie, defending the crossroad hid behind a rock, enemies walked really close and they should have walked past, but AI hearing blown the cover, got hit really hard, 3 ppl went down. Alpha and bravo reinforced em in 2 minutes, great holding on to position by Artemis and Karate while stabilizing and defending the wounded.


QRF garage compound got cleared, alpha and Bravo moved N, Charlie shifted a bit to W, stumbled upon a squad who were sent out to investigate why the Cave lost comms with the 1t objective and qrf forces. charlie decided to fall back to the qrf garages, reorganized, all the while the sniper team, Alpha and Bravo got into the second objective, dealing with AS VAL scouts. Thn Charlie took a path that led them to a big valley, they had to go around. Imo the fallback plus the misread map recon and path planning added enough delay to their arrival to the Cave. Then the helo crashed due to vortex ring state, alpha was sent out, chicken_no6 had to fly S to drop off Alpha, come back to the cave, fly back to base with the downed pilot and all this effort was wasted because unfortunately William's internet acted up and lost connection right there. Thats easily at least a 10-15 minute delay, nothing i could control and throwing more enemy units at the cave imo would have been more like a punishment rather than reward at this point (didn't want to delay the helos coming in with a firefight even further).

Command decision to put alpha and bravo on the ground first was out of my hand, maybe those two teams pulled the trigger on the last objective a tad bit early, but i had a searching squad close to charlie and at this point delta. Maybe charlie felt they didn't contribute much, but their position and all their engagements were crutial, the crossroad N of 1st objective, they defended against 2 full squads of qrf forces, literally saving everyone else (they were on the lull on top of the 1st objective, qrf would have been undetected until really colse range due to terrain features) then after the move out on the 2nd objective, charlie met the other squad from the cave and dealt with them, if that didn't happen, that squad would have gone back to the cave right around the time of the helo extracts, possibly wreacking havoc there. Although your fights were away from the objective zones, your fights were key engagements, flanking squads and such, that would have caused bigger problems down the line. Maybe this context shines some light on the situation.


Seemed like the fall back order was the one that put charlie just far enough away from the other teams that they couldnt get support quickly (nobody's fault really, general difference between leadership styles), all the while apha and bravo breezed through fights because they could work together and support their engagements. I highly recommend wathcing both karate's and frozt's perspective, that will show the two teams were involved in roughly the same amount of engagements, and imo equally important. Pay special attention in karate's version that the broken down house they use as cover N of the 1st objective is 50 meters from the qrf base, they even asked for permission to check it out, got denied, and just before that they dodged a patrol on the hill side. When they took up the cut-off position at the crossroads, they were flanked from the W and the 2 squads of qrf mobilized a few minutes later basically pinching them.  At every point while i was trying to help charlie to catch up, and ultimately the cave helo pickup was the planned "reset" point, in case the teams got into the delay spiral (i pulled Benny aside at the start and notified him about the last objective and the encouraged the use of the helos). That was shattered by unfortunate events really out of hand of anybody. We can play the game of "what if"s but at the end, its a game. Next time pick alpha early, seems like every commander likes to go down the abc and run out of tasks before they reach delta :)


I'll take this into account for a probable next mission(s?).



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Well, that was an interesting one from my perspective. First time going Vortex for an Enhanced op so thanks for people being patient with me.


This is pretty much what happened from my end (hmm this is actually a bit of a novel):


Initial inserts went ok. I didn't properly set down on first landing and might have squeaked a bit but no harm done overall. The heli was stable until the passenger weight dropped (from dismounts) and it started to move. Second insert I spotted a wide open LZ that was covered in little rocks that I didn't want to get tangled up on. I went for a low hover, I am not sure but I think the intent of the passengers was to fast rope. Well, they got down ok, I don't think there were any injuries from the jump down but I was concerned about it.


Then me and Chicken took 1 chopper and hovered off the west coast to try and get some intel on the ground situation. A mix of fog and not wanting to be the cause of the enemy being alerted (ahem) meant we weren't super effective but managed some work.


Returned to base, Chicken waited at base then with his chopper while I was tasked to take 1 insert (Who had apparently been trying to reach us, but we were the other side of the island and low level, so probably couldn't get signal.) and a load of explosives over. That went entirely unspectacularly, which is perfect really.


Then we sat back at base for quite a while (this bit was quite boring, but it was nice listening to the radio and watching the map, and I expect this kind of thing as a support element. Also, I did not want to be making loud noises near the island...) waiting for reinserts, but the infantry were doing a really good job so there wasn't much to do.


Then we got called in to do an extract and transport across the island. Flew in fine, waved off my first approach to the LZ. Frames went a bit to shit on the approach which unsettled me a bit. Then I came around for landing 2, I saw Chicken had got down but couldn't see where, so I tried to extend the landing into the 2nd clearing, but overextended, tried to slow down and descend too hard and entered vortex ring state. Me and Norris had a few seconds of calm contemplation of our doom, then things got a bit louder... and then went black.


Then after a few minutes of people saving both of us from dying (definitely from a gameplay perspective death would have been the easier option to get me back airborne) and getting extracted so I could get a new bird from base, my internet crapped out. I was really quite annoyed as I didn't want to give the impression that I'd alt-f4'd after the crash.


Internet came back quite soon, I got back in server, and had to go try doing some transport. I needed to get back on the horse really, prove to myself at least that I had both the ability to fly, and a solid internet connection. Managed the final transport across the island fine, then as I was flying away at about 10m off the sea... there was bright flash and the chopper started shaking, and my radio made weird noises. Managed to get in touch with the FAC who said they suspected a nuke went off, I confirmed I would not return until requested as they were alive.


Finally the extract. @chicken_no6 and I landed nicely in formation, loved the comms between us in flight the whole op tbh, good co-ordination, and waited as people madly ran towards us and started digging in. I first had to lift the squad Norris was in, and god the chopper doesn't like having so many passengers. He heard the low rotor RPM beep and started considering swimming, but I got them back to base. Second extract was less eventful.



Lessons for me (and anyone considering going Vortex for Enhanced, but never has😞

1) Familiarity with the aircraft. I was flying advanced flight model, I enjoy the challenge, but I need to be aware of how the bird performs both loaded and unloaded (and you'll never catch me flying an unfamiliar aircraft with AFM on). Nearly dunking an entire squad into the sea after they survived the operation is not ideal! I think I should have skipped flying Vortex in EU1 earlier in the day and just tried things out in the editor for that time.

2) Going around on a landing is much more time efficient than having a successful crash in the LZ, especially when it makes the entire island go "what the f was that noise?"

3) Establish procedure for when Vortex is not at base and reinserts are needed. Either "fly within LoS of base" or "Make sure Command/FAC knows to relay requests over terrain".

4) Don't worry, I'm changing ISP on Tuesday


Feedback is appreciated, especially from anyone that flies a lot of AFM. I was lucky (?) to have @Norris in the doomed-seat for my crash, I'm sure he was wishing he could grab the controls during that! I would either like direct feedback on the mission performance or from a passenger at some point if anyone is willing.


Feedback to Gambit:

Really, really gorgeous setting. Love the map choice, the atmosphere, and after a poke around in the editor, the little setpieces that Vortex in-mission would never see like the mass grave.

3 Vortex would have been useful - maybe have the 3rd slot available and only allow a 3rd pilot if player count exceeds n. Could probably have done the insert in 1 flight (command spread out over the 3 birds, they had spare seats with an entire squad aboard) and in the event of "emergent situations" then there is less risk of mission pace getting totally messed up. Also allows reinserts to be managed while another bird is doing observations.

A TV back at base for when people are good at not dying. Honestly the need for stealth in this op made it sensible to have birds grounded when not absolutely necessary. I was constantly worried our observation flight would be noticed.


I have not replayed a mission in my head so much for a while.

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