“The concept of applying fires from all sources to suppress, neutralize, or destroy the enemy, and the tactical movement of combat forces in relation to the enemy. At the squad level, it entails a team placing suppressive fire on the enemy as another team moves against or around the enemy.”
The idea of using a force to fix the enemy in place while another engages and destroys them (preferably from the flank or rear) is a very old one and has been employed since antiquity. It is a very simple tactic to pick up and is often employed to great success within a disciplined squad.
This tactic can be utilised with any number of players (you can even do it alone with a grenade to a degree) and can be extremely effective at surprising and defeating an enemy. The ideas below were made with the assumption that the reader is leading 1-2 squads and facing an enemy that outnumbers them. Please note I play TR with empire specific colour, so in the interests of site-wide consistency friendlies are red enemies blue
This element is responsible for suppressing the enemy position. They should deploy on tactically advantageous ground and in cover as much as possible and use their weapons to fix the enemy in place and draw their attention.
Survivability should be at the forefront of this element’s mind, endeavouring to stay alive and actively firing so as to keep the enemy’s attention until such time as they may be required to advance upon the enemy to help the fire element eliminate the last of the ememy resistance. They will also form the basis of a rally point should the assault fail, and as long as this element remains alive it is easier to mount another attack, and for this reason I generally ensure they are the strongest element, this will vary depending on your playstyle however, and I will be the first to admit I am a fairly defensive player).
It is worth noting that while beneficial this element’s objective is not necessarily to kill the enemy that is the job of the movement element. However it is a good idea to keep the enemy support troops busy as they will be the primary target of the movement element.
This element is the one that will be put most in harms way, its job is to redeploy and destroy the enemy from an advantageous situation while they are fixed and suppressed by the fire element. Common advantages this element may wish to pursue are:
Sometimes you will wish to pursue all of these elements, other times they may not be applicable to the current situation
The movement element will normally wish to behave in an aggressive manner as they may find it advantageous to utilise the surprise generated by the fire element to cause crippling damage to the enemy before they can react (an exception to this rule can occur when severely outnumbered and the risk incurred by splitting the force has been deemed acceptable)
The leader from the movement element should take the initiative in ordering their advance and communicate the situation to the fire element leader as they will be more intimately aware of the enemy’s situation.
Every decision in Planetside 2 carries risk from a command overview to an individual standpoint, and this tactic is no exception. It is important to be aware of these risks to enable you to evaluate whether employing this tactic is the correct course of action:
Splitting the Force: By employing this tactic you will be temporarily splitting your force reducing the firepower and resistance at one position in the hope of destroying the enemy. This may be unwise in the face of superior numbers, it is important therefore to ensure that both elements have sufficient firepower and survivability to achieve their objectives,
Timing issues: It is important that the movement element assaults at the correct time. Too early and the enemy may be able to respond and destroy the element as they have not been effectively distracted and suppressed by the enemy. Arriving too late and the fire element may be overwhelmed or assaulted.
Destruction in detail: This is the greatest threat regarding this tactic, as each element for a time must act alone and be significantly weaker than the sum of its parts. If the enemy is allowed to engage and destroy each element in turn then the tactic will fail.
Infantry building assault:
The enemy has taken position in a building, and is taking advantage of the cover and natural choke points provided by walls, windows, doors etc.
A direct assault is likely to fail, so the fire element takes position in nearby cover to suppress the enemy, objectives being to keep the enemy’s attention and deny the enemy movement from their building, including to roofs balconies etc.
The Movement element moves to a flanking position while ideally attempting to remain undetected (so discipline is important here). By the time the movement element is in position the fire element should have the enemy’s attention enabling the movement element to breech via one of the several doors that structures in Planetside 2 are given (It is an unusual location that only has one entrance). Surprise Aggression and speed are paramount here to capitalise on the enemy’s distraction as once they identify the maneuver team’s threat and close proximity they will shift their focus on to them.
If you have the numbers to do so you may consider employing this tactic on the defensive. In this case the fire element will hold their position in a defensive posture while the movement element assaults or deploys in a position to flank and stem the tide of attackers. This tactic carries significant risk as the enemy may be assaulting the building in force, in which case you should ensure the Fire element has sufficient numbers to hold out, even pulling back to defend whatever internal choke points are available while they wait for relief from the movement element. Holding the ground may be even more important if you are holding a control point, as the enemy will no doubt dig in if the fire element is wiped out.
Field assault with optional vehicles:
This scenario shares many similarities to the assault on a building, the objective being for the fire element to fix the enemy in place while the movement element destroy the enemies position. However the enemy’s cover is often only forward facing which brings benefits and hindrances.
It will allow you to consider using vehicles. MBT’s are a common choice for the fire element though they are a large targets and may struggle to find cover, and therefore lack survivability compared to an infantry squad. The speed and firepower of Harassers and even properly equipped Sunderers make them great for the movement role especially as they can be acquired at any allied base making them easy to deploy. Liberators and ESF’s can also excel at the maneuver role though their deployment may be rarer due to the current effectiveness of AA.
The enemy will often have more visibility from their cover, and the movement element will often have less cover of their own to utilise, which often necessitates a redeployment further away than would be possible when assaulting a building to lessen the chance of the movement element being destroyed before they can be used. This will often either make infantry assaults by the movement element impossible or time consuming.
When fighting in the field in this manner the action may be fluid with forces moving from cover to cover. Using this tactic is still very possible as long as you have the initiative and can dictate where the battle will be fought.
If you are on the defensive and forced to retreat you should identify where you wish to defend from and deploy there before you are overwhelmed. Then armed with the knowledge of where you are and where the enemy will be attacking from the movement element can also deploy accordingly, attacking the enemy’s flank as they advance.
On the offence you should look at the map to assess where the enemy will retreat to, and then once predicted you are able to deploy units to assault the enemy’s flank at the new position. In this situation it is important to assess whether temporarily reducing your forces advancing will allow the enemy an opportunity to regroup, thus negating your advantage.
Leapfrogging when facing heavy resistance:
On occasion when the movement element is assaulting they may become the focus of fire from the enemy and become forced to seek cover themselves. When this happens they have become a second fire element. Sometimes this is fine and being fired upon from both sides the enemy will be defeated. However it is often possible to switch roles and order the initial fire element to advance. Timing and good judgement are crucial here as it is important to ensure that the original fire element are firstly able to advance and secondly, that the enemy is distracted enough by the new fire element to make their advance possible. These situations are often very hectic and a split second decision such as this one may dictate the course of the battle for better or worse.