Incoming Enemy Galaxies – A guide to surviving an enemy Galaxy drop.

Please note all diagrams in this post are added as a visual aid only and should not be taken to represent exact troop deployments, enemy movements or base design. I play TR so allies will always be red unless specifically stated otherwise.

During Operations when not engaging larger enemy forces on the edge of a zerg  we in MoX will often find ourselves alone at a base, having either resecured it from the enemy, or attempting to capture it for some wider strategic goal.

Here one of the most serious threats we face is an enemy galaxy transport dropping a squad of enemy troops on the base.

When loaded enemy galaxies approach you can be sure that they will often contain a motivated and organised enemy force inside, who are likely to be communicating and wish for nothing more than to evict you and claim the base for their own. These attacks have become more frequent on lattice controlled continents as outfits attempt to find avenues of attack and opportunities for combat away from a large scale grindfest at a choke point or biolab.

This guide will explore their common methods of attack, as well as exploring some ways of defeating the enemy.

The Calm before the storm – Initial deployment before an enemy is sighted

Sentry

It is important to note whether the base you are currently occupying is technically controlled by friendly or hostile forces, as the question of who can easily spawn at the location will affect both your initial deployment, and other actions if you are engaged by the enemy.

Regardless of who controls the base, the first and most important point to note is to always be prepared for an enemy contact, no matter how little time you expect to  spend at the base.

If your empire controls the base then your forces are free to concentrate solely on external threats, and units. you should quickly identify which direction the enemy is likely to come via land, and also be sure to watch the skies in the direction of the enemy Warpgate, as this is the direction a hostile Galaxy drop will approach from.

You should also identify whether the control point is directly defensible (most commonly indoors), or whether it is exposed and difficult to defend, as this will influence your decision whether to defend the control point directly or defend tactically strong area adjacent to the control point ensuring you are able to have the upper hand against any enemy threatening the control point.

If you do choose to defend the control point directly then it is often a good idea to detach one or two squad members to watch the outside area and report any enemy contacts. These players then are able to form a flanking force if you decide to allow the enemy to assault the control point directly with the intention of meeting them at any choke points you may have defended.

The concept of defending from a nearby location is one which will be explored more fully in a later post but simply put it revolves around the principle of drawing the enemy into tactically inferior ground (the exposed control point), ambushing and destroying them.

If the base is controlled by the enemy, in addition to worrying about the above concerns you must also be ready to suppress the enemy spawn room, as this is where contact is most likely to occur. Normally a squad would take a forward position to engage any enemies who do spawn at the base, while leaving the small observation team to keep watch for external threats.

In either scenario it is also worth ensuring you have as many spawn locations as is reasonably obtainable. A spawn beacon is a must, as is a sunderer, especially if an enemy empire controls the base, in which case it should be deployed with a view to safety. If you are deploying a second Sunderer, or your empire already controls the base then  a Sunderer deployed in a more convenient location close to the control point may be useful both as a spawn and a distraction for the enemy.

Incoming! – what to do and what you know once you have spotted an enemy Galaxy.

Anti air

When you spot an enemy Galaxy heading to your location you initially have several advantages over the enemy, unfortunately several of which are often squandered in the opening seconds of the engagement.

These advantages are:

  • You know the direction the enemy is coming from

  • You know the enemy numbers (Make sure you keep eyes on the enemy galaxy until you notice the /12 icon)

  • You know their objective, to capture or re-secure the base.

  • You know where they drop (assuming you were watching the enemy until the drop, and even if not it is likely they dropped as close to the control point as possible)

  • You are in a position to decide when and where the opening shots of the engagement will be fired.

  • You know the enemy is likely to be an organised outfit and actively communicating on Teamspeak

  • The enemy do not know your numbers

  • The enemy do not know your initial positions

  • If you are a single squad in the base then the enemy will see a 1-12 enemies detected reading on the base and may be off guard and expecting a “ghost cap” (an attentive enemy may watch the population pie chart when they enter the hex and see through this disguise)

  • The enemy do not know your quality and it may take them some time to realise they are facing an organised outfit.

The biggest mistakes you can make when spotting enemy galaxies is to instantly engage when you do not have the firepower to quickly and reliably destroy the enemy aircraft before they arrive at the base. Failure to destroy the aircraft, reveals your position and the fact that the base is actively defended, robbing you of any surprise you may have initially enjoyed. It is up to you as a squad leader to enforce fire discipline and decide whether to open fire upon the enemy aircraft or allow the enemy to drop and then engage.

As with many aspect of player behaviour in game a galaxy drop will often follow a basic set of rules, be aware however that as you are likely fighting an outfit and not an unco-ordinated zerg so their behaviour will not be as predictable.

  • The Galaxies will approach from the warpgate in a straight line with occasional deviation if their route takes them over heavily contested territory. Therefore we can predict the route the enemy will approach from.

  • The enemy will drop over or close to the control point and then move en-masse to the control point in an attempt to quickly flip it. (A more intelligent enemy may move to defensive locations surrounding the control point in anticipation of a counterattack.)

  • The enemy may attempt to spawn a Sunderer (by dispatching an infiltrator to a vehicle terminal if the base is controlled by your empire). In addition a squad leader may detatch to place a spawn beacon.

  • Once the point is secured the enemy will attempt to fortify the area against attack and wait for the timer to finish its progress.

  • The galaxy will often be discarded after troops are dropped. If this is not the case then it may be a Bulldog armed “Galaxy Gunship” which should be treated with caution.

Obviously we will wish to prevent the enemy from achieving their objectives and having deployed our forces effectively stand an excellent chance of doing so. The enemy will behave differently depending on which empire controls the base initially. If the base is friendly then the enemy must succeed with their first assault, as each casualty will have very limited options to respawn (Typically Spawn Beacon and Squad deploy).

If however the enemies empire owns the base then they may choose to spawn at the base’s spawn room. Depending on the base this can be a very dangerous time for you, as the enemy may be presented with the opportunity to flank or locate and destroy your spawn locations while you are engaged with the remainder of their assault force. Once the initial assault has been defeated in this scenario the action will shift to a typical base fight though likely a challenging one.

Dealing with the assaulting enemy forces is always much easier if you have retained the element of surprise, as the enemy are unlikely to initially use their special grenades in the first wave, are likely to be less alert, and are may suffer casualties as they fall victim to your initial defenses. the most major threat to you in the early stage will commonly be the MAX crash, to counter this you should always assume one is coming and take steps to defend against it such as C4 traps or heavys with dumbfire launchers. It is important if you do wish to mine the entrance to a building that you place these devices out of the enemy’s line of sight, as they have the potential to alert the enemy to your presence.

Example 1: defence of an indoor control point with defensible entrances.

It is assumed that the friendly squad has not alerted the enemy to their presence before they open fire defending the control point from their internal position. In most cases the enemy will attempt to enter via the same door and move rapidly to the control point. Meeting resistance at the choke points, the enemy will often attempt to force entrance your squad should be in a good position to halt this advance, detonating any traps as necessary. Once the enemy is committed the spotting team can move into a fire position at the enemy’s flank or rear to aid in their destruction.

Example 2: Defence of an exposed external point.

It is again assumed that no contact has been made with the enemy until such time as we open fire. In these situations the enemy will most often drop directly on to the point where they will be exposed to your squad deployed in cover with line of sight on the control point. The enemies that survive the initial encounter are then faced with a difficult assault on a strong position(s). They are faced with the choice of conducting an immediate assault on your position, or falling back to their own strong position and returning fire. In my experience most forces choose the former where they should be easy prey in their weakened state.   If the enemy drop in a location away from the control point they should be allowed to approach in quickly and  a group. The squad will then open fire from superior positions destroying the enemy as they approach or flip the point.

In both these examples forces should also be detached to cover the spawn room if the enemy has chance to spawn there and prevent a flanking maneuver, and then advance to contain the enemy or defend in a manner you are comfortable with as the focus of the battle shifts to a standard attacker v defender fight.

Hostile galaxies in a larger fight (alongside a friendly zerg)

Tactics and opportunities change somewhat when encountering a hostile galaxy drop in a larger engagement, as the stealthy tactics mentioned in the above examples will not work.

It is important to recognise, assess and respond to the threat effectively, as the enemy is still likely to be organised, and with the wide range of deployment options the galaxy presents them with, are likely to be able to turn the tide of battle in the enemy’s favour if not swiftly dealt with.

In this situation it is often wise to pull your squad back regroup and observe the Galaxy’s drop location and the enemy’s movements then you are in a position to counter those movements or provide the backbone of a strong defensive position should the enemy push your allies back. A more in-depth guide on aiding a friendly zerg can be found here https://squadside.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/facilitating-the-zerg/

Enemy drop in a flanking position:

In my opinion this is the most dangerous of the enemy’s options. The enemy will drop in a strong location and then proceed to suppress and destroy you and your allies, robbing your forces of their momentum and providing their own allies with the support necessary to advance and take the initiative. You should attempt to neutralise the enemy flanking force either through directly destroying them with your own squad, or via distracting them and suppressing their position so that they are rendered ineffective while they try to engage you.

Sunderer drop

A common option for lone drop pods aswell as a full galaxy is to drop on your Sunderer in an attempt to destroy it. While these drops are often little more than suicide missions and easily destroyed, they are also very hard to defend against effectively once the enemy troops have been dropped. Possibly the simplest solution to this problem is to ensure that you have ample spawn points and that another Sunderer is brought forward to support the attack should you ever be left with only one

Point Drop

An enemy Galaxy dropping troops on the control point during a larger engagement may often be less of  a threat than the other objectives as the enemy squad is often quickly crushed by numerically superior forces.

However there are exceptions. A well organised and specialised squad of anti infantry MAX’s and associated support troops can be successful in both locking down the point and diverting a significant number of allied troops away from the remainder of the enemy force. This action can often allow a beleaguered enemy to regain the advantage and flank your allies who are now preoccupied by the enemy force occupying the control point. This flanking attack will often be the downfall of your allies, and your squad should assess whether your forces would be best used to hold back the enemy’s threatening your flank, directly aid your allies in resecuring the control point if you suspect the enemy to be weak, or to pull back and create the foundation of a new defensive point should the enemy force be judged to be overwhelming.

Reverse engineering

Many of these Tactics and techniques can be explored in your favour if you are performing your own Galaxy drop. It is always a good idea to think in your enemies shoes in any engagement, deduce how you would counter your own moves and take steps to prevent such an event occurring.

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