Hello soldiers, I'd like to take some time to talk to you about battle strategy in planetside 2.
Today we'll be going over a strategy called 'Horns of the Bull.' This is actually a strategy originally created by the Zulu king Shaka, and later used by the Zulu king Cetshwayo against the British army, delivering British forces their most humiliating defeat of the colonial era. With it, they slaughtered over 1,300 British soldiers, and hundreds of African auxiliaries. Only about fifty-five British soldiers escaped, and a few thousand British militiamen. Three thousand zulu’s lay dead. Considering that the British forces had gatling guns, muskets, and artillery cannons, and the Zulus were still using spears and hide shields, this is a remarkable victory. (Source: “Turn Around and Run Like Hell – Amazing Stories of Unconventional Military Strategies That Worked” – Joseph Cummins, 2007 Barnes & Noble Press ISBN 0-7607-8652-6, pgs 50-59)
In this article, we'll be discussing how to use a modernized version of this strategy. For the purposes of our scenario, we'll say we have one armored platoon, two infantry platoons, and one air platoon. Now please note that this plan can be scaled up or down based on circumstances, and can be done with as little as one platoon, or as many as eight. It’s also worth mentioning that the kind of numbers I’m speaking of here are a regular thing in the outfit I run with (The Republican Guard (TRG), on the Connery Server) and their enemies, The outfit known as Devil Dogs (666), and that I'm presenting from the perspective of a TR player; your own faction's equipment can stand in without issue. The platoons would be loaded out like so:
Phalanx Platoon (Infantry 1)
3x Phalanx Alpha Fire teams:
1x Sapper Engineer
2x Heavy Assaults (C4, Grounder)
3x Phalanx Bravo Fire Teams
1x Anti-Infantry Max
1x Anti-Vehicle Max
3x Phalanx Charlie Fire Teams
1x AI MAX
1x AV MAX
3x Phalanx Delta Fire Teams
1x Sapper Engineer
2x Heavy Assault (C4, Grounder)
Spartan Platoon (Infantry 2)
1x Sapper Engineer
2x Heavy Assault (C4, Decimator)
Spartan Bravo/Charlie: Same as Phalanx Bravo/Charlie
Spartan Delta: Same as Spartan Alpha
Sabre Company (Armored 1)
Ammo Sundy: AMS, Ammo Dispenser, Racer Chassis, 2x bulldog turrets
HEAT Lightning: Front armor, HEAT Turret, Zoom optics, racer chassis, IR Smoke
HE Lightning: Side Armor, HE Turret, Night Vision, Proximity Radar Racer Chassis
AP Lightning: Front Armor, AP Turret, Zoom Optics, Fire Suppression
Skyguard Lightning: Top Armor, Skyguard Turret, Racer Chassis, Zoom Optics, IR Smoke
HEAT Prowler: Halberd, Front Armor, HEAT Turret with NV, smoke, Rival Combat Chassis
HE Prowler: Halberd with NV, HE Turret with NV, smoke,
Rival Chassis, Front Armor
AP Prowler: Vulcan or Marauder with NV, AP Turret with NV, Front Armor, Smoke, Rival Chassis
2x Ammo Sunderers
3x HEAT Lightnings
3x HE Lightnings
2x Skyguard Lightnings
2x AP Lightnings
2x Ammo Sunderers
4x HEAT Prowler
3x HE Prowler
3x AP Prowler
Talon Wing (Air 1)
2x flight teams
3x AA Mosquitos
3x AG Mosquitos
2x Dalton Liberators
2x Zephyr Liberators
It’s very important to note that Sabre’s heavy armor will not have any gunners among them – everyone will pull a tank. Gunners will come from the appropriate Spartan or Phalanx squads.
In our scenario, the hostiles are advancing with a full armored column, infantry, and air on Zurvan Amp Station from Gravel Pass on Indar. For the sake of illustration, we'll say they outnumber us around 3:1.
The idea with this strategy is to bait the hostile force into attacking the slow-moving but well-armored Sabre Bravo and Charlie squads, who will be positioned in a staggered formation across the canyon, with infantry behind it (Also providing lots of repairs for the armor!), while Sabre Alpha and Delta close in from the canyon sides, exploiting their flank. Here is a diagram of the initial placement:
As you can see, the two lightning squads are positioned to the sides, ready to move in on hostile forces. The idea here is that the lightnings will move in and flank the hostile column as they advance.
The trick is that they cannot see the lightnings until they've already advanced into the trap. This can work as both an offensive or defensive tactic. Offensively, your forces advance on the enemy while the lightning squads drive around and come from the sides. To further confuse the issue, one can have the first 'horn' arrives slightly ahead of the other – so that the hostiles are caught off guard not once, but twice. The lightning tanks will pop their smoke to hide their numbers.
As hostiles advance out of gravel pass, the heavy armor will begin bombardment of them, keeping their attention focused on their front. Heavy Armor would alternate between tanks, popping their smoke to keep the lines hidden from direct view – forcing hostiles to guess where to shoot. Sabre Bravo will move forward slowly around the road. Meanwhile, Sabre Alpha (shown as the squad on the Western Flank) will advance on them as they leave gravel pass from their left flank – popping their smoke to hide and confuse their numbers - forcing them to adjust their attention or die. As hostiles advance to about midway into the field, Sabre Delta (eastern flank) will advance on them from a narrow gap that had been hiding their presence, popping smoke all the way. Meanwhile, we’ll have inserted our bastard squads onto the ridges around Zurvan, to keep hostile air off the armor.
As hostiles advance to mid-field, the final piece of the trap will be sprung. Infantry that had been hiding behind the rocks on the western side of the field would spring into action, moving in to crush the remainder of the hostile forces with MAXes and Heavy Assaults. The key to this strategy is keeping the enemies guessing on which direction you will be coming from. An alternate version of the strategy involves sending Sabre Delta around through the Blackshard Mines areas, and coming up on them from the rear. Throughout the battle, the remaining infantry stays behind the tank lines, performing repairs and providing close-quarters coverage
I'd like to once again reiterate that the numbers here may be the norm for my outfit and battles on the server, but are no means required. The purpose is to demonstrate how clever positioning and movement can allow you to overcome massive numbers.