Since I see many players which seemingly donâ€™t really know how to utilize Airstrikes and Artillery support effectively, I thought it would be a good idea to write a little tutorial. Itâ€™s annoying when some other fieldops of your team is standing in some corner wasting one airstrike-can after another at the most useless places and times. The amount and interval of airstrikes and artillery is restricted (depending on server settings), so it makes no sense to spam the cans whenever you can and waste one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
Iâ€™ll try to cover the basics, some advanced and some mod specific stuff. Be aware that public servers with long spawnshields (5+ sec), faster movement, doublejump, hardly trackable spawntimes like 8/12/16 will render points like timing almost useless. Adjust accordingly depending on the serverâ€™s settings so you can maximize the amount of potential hits or frags. Iâ€™ll show a few standard examples from some known maps.
(I wonâ€™t give any advanced Photoshop lessons to anyone, sorry )
1. DIRECTION of airstrikes can be controlled. The bombing line will always go down in roughly a 90Â° angle according to your position (there is always a bit randomness of about 20 or 30 degrees) with the smoke-can being the middle (center of rotation) of the bombing line. The logic behind this is that the airstrike never hits the one who calls it. The trigger point is when you hear the â€žAffirmativeâ€¦â€œ of the pilot. Your position at this moment will be taken for the calculation. So be careful where you move afterwards. Thatâ€™s it, pretty easy:
2. TIMING is the most crucial aspect of good airstrikes when playing scrims and officials. ETPro players will know that since airstrikes are often used to spawnkill and get as many players as possible on fullspawn. As said already in the introduction, on public servers with different mods, higher movement speed and especially spawnshields longer than 3 seconds timing is less important or useless regarding spawnfrags, but itâ€™s anyway nice to know and bring it into play. Get a little used to the server settings: How long is the spawnshield? How far can players travel till the spawnshield expires? Where will a lot of players try to rush regarding the progress of the map?
It basically goes like this:
- You throw the smoke-can, 5 seconds later the airstrike will come down.
- After ~4 seconds you will hear the â€žAffirmative...â€œ that's the trigger point.
- 1 second later the bombs will start to come down from left or right, this is random.
- It will take about 1 second till the last bomb explodes.
- If you have signals level 3 or higher (on public servers) a second bombing run will be done after the first is finished.
Letâ€™s look at one classic ETPro spawnfrag on goldrush, of course players know about those â€žstandardâ€œ strikes and try to avoid them. You generally know the spawntimes of the axis team. Letâ€™s assume they spawn at 18/48 (30 sec spawntime / 3 sec spawnshield). The axis players spawning at second 18 will lose their spawn protection at second 15. So you want to have an airstrike going down at this exact time to get them out of the game as long as possible. You have to bring yourself in the correct position and place the can on the bridge at second 20, at 18 the axis players spawn. They couldnâ€™t hear the can dropping since it was placed before they spawned, also when they see the smoke it will usually be too late if they rushed out. The airstrike comes down at 15 (5 seconds after you placed the smoke-can) exactly when their spawnshield disappears. In 3 seconds they couldnâ€™t travel much further than the strike-zone in the picture.
3. PLACING THE SMOKE-CAN. There has to be a vertical direct line of sight from the can to the sky, else you will hear â€žAborting, canâ€™t see targetâ€œ and the airstrike is invalid. Consider this when throwing the smoke-can so it doesnâ€™t end up under vehicles or other obstacles blocking the vertical line to the sky, every tiny edge of a building or similar can block it. Itâ€™s possible to block the airstrike when standing or proning on the can, but be fast enough to get away before the can itself explodes. On Jaymod itâ€™s also possible to shoot the can, which aborts the airstrike when you were fast enough. This makes it also pretty useless to throw it at a nearby artillery or other explosives because the can will most likely be destroyed before the airstrike comes down. Also you want to place it in positions where the smoke canâ€™t be seen at a quick look so the airstrike gets players off guard. This is mostly behind walls or somewhere above/under the horizontal line of sight at spawn exits or where players often camp in the usual spots. Itâ€™s not hard to figure out some tricky places when thinking about it. Here a few classic ninja strikes:
4. VEHICLES. Quickly damaging a tank or any other vehicle with an airstrike should be self explanatory. Just be careful not to throw the can under a vehicle (see point 3) or directly at it, if the smoke-can ends up at a moving vehicle it sometimes just disappears, a game bug. If the vehicle is moving and it drives across the can before the trigger point, the airstrike will also be aborted.
So far some airstrike basics...
1. THE IMPACT-ZONE is a square place surrounding the point where you called in the artillery i.e where the effect grenade goes down. In this square 4 artillery grenades fly in randomly within a specific time. Itâ€™s good for locking down an area, like barrier objectives, important chokepoints, vehicles. In the time the artillery strike goes down the area is practically locked from passing, even for you and your team so think about that aspect too before you call it (-> ofc irrelevant if the server has no teamdamage enabled)
2. TIMING is also crucial when artillery should be used to its full potential. Again you have to adjust the places and time on public servers considering the duration of spawnshields and player movement speed.
It basically goes like this:
- You call in the artillery strike with your binocs and hear the â€žFiring for effect!â€œ
- 5 seconds later an effect grenade is flying in, marking the target area with blue or red smoke.
- It takes another 5 seconds till the first frag projectile comes flying in.
- In a time window of 5 seconds 4 big frag grenades will go down randomly in the mentioned square place.
- The whole process takes 15 seconds from calling it in till the last grenade explodes.
- If you have signals level 3 or higher, the strike will last twice as long and 8 frag projectiles will go down.
The same goldrush example will be used here as for the airstrike. Axis spawning at 18/48 so players who spawn at second 18 will lose their spawnshield at second 15. This is the time when you want the first artillery grenade to explode, making the area as long as possible impassable. So you have to call in artillery 7 seconds before they respawn, this is at second 25. The effect grenade explodes at 20 and 5 seconds later at second 15 the first frag projectile goes down, exactly when their spawnshield expires. If you see players trying to pass the area (which is anyway make or break but sometimes itâ€™s a must) shoot and distract them to keep them as long and close to the impact-zone as possible.
Another effective use of artillery is defending your own respawn at the first stages of maps like supply, adlernest, braundorf when you are on defense. Usually some of your teammates are weak and will have to selfkill after 30 seconds to quickly restock ammo and health. This is the weakest point in your defense which the attacking team will always try to exploit to push your positions back or to get the players that hold position on fullspawn, giving them the advantage for a flag cap or planting a dynamite. So you call in artillery to the respective chokepoints 10-15 seconds before your next respawn, so the strike delays the attackers for a few seconds from passing a chokepoint. In this time you can get back from your spawnpoints to your defending positions. If you get lucky it may frag most of the rushing attackers giving you enough time for a solid repositioning for the next rush...at least it will delay or weaken the attackers. Often used here on supply depot:
3. POSITION of artillery strikes is also important. As described in point 1 just imagine a square around the place where the effect grenade went down (it has actually a specific size in game units, but canâ€™t remember it). So you want that square place to be completely in an open field, not partially at roofs or other obstacles where the frag grenades canâ€™t hit players.
Well placed artillery with giving all 4 frag grenades hit potential.
Not so good placed artillery with 2 or more grenades going down on roofs.
A little trick you can use for calling are trees or other outstanding obstacles to get your strike in effective places behind hills or walls where you have no direct line of sight to.
4. VEHICLES. Artillery is pretty effective for damaging vehicles or locking them down for a while from repair. Just be aware that it takes 10 seconds from when you call it till the first frag grenade goes down. So never call it directly at a moving vehicle, or when you see enemy engineers going for a repair shortly and the vehicle is going to move after the repair. It will be far away from the strike if it doesnâ€˜ t stop. You have to guess where the vehicle will be in roughly 10 seconds and predict accordingly to make it count.
That's it so far, hope you enjoyed reading. It may be messy to read or described too complicated especially the timing parts, but it will become natural if practiced a few times. If you have any tipps, questions or found errors let me know!