I am under the impression that the Mobile Anti-Air vehicules (or simply AA) are the most talked about weapons in chat among teams during many games. They are the 9K22 Tunguska-M for the Russian team and the LAV-AD for the Americain team. In action, both are nearly the same and they are powerful weapons against helicopters, planes and other vehicules. Tacticaly, they are important assets. They are also attractive vehicules for most players, although they feel clumsy when driven, and not as agile as other vehicules like the 2S25 Sprut. Consult the Battlefield Wiki for more info about descriptions and specifications of theses vehicules.
When I began using the AA, I was obviously not very good. I have experienced all the comments of my teammates about my skills and the tactics I used while trying to master it. One main source of conflicts about these vehicules is how they are used by the player. In my last blog, I mentionned the case of Habsbiz, but it was not the first time such a situation happened.
A few weeks ago, again in a Bandar Desert map, but on the Russian team this time, a player with a nickname beginning by Right_ something (I do not remember exactly – otherwise I would mention it) began ramming my AA while I was near the base (again!). The situation was the same as the one with Habsbiz (all flags taken, ennemies near base). Then we had a solid argument. I tried to explain him that there were 2 engineers shooting RPGs at me and another tank nearby, while Right_ was kicking my ass with his tank to protest against what he taught was camping. He did not believed me. But, even if there would be no one around, the way I use the AA is not his decision to make. I got it, and I use it the way I see fit to help my team according to the situation on the field and my own experience. I was rude with him while arguing and I admit I used harsh words (like old dick knowing he was around 50 – which is not really old from my perspective – and, mostly, dicks can properly work for a very long time!) I was, in fact, practicing my slang and quarell dialogues in English (which was funny) – something I never do in real life because I never quarell with anyone! But that was efficient and the guy was pissed off at me. Lack of detachment…
The irony of that situation was that on the next match, Death Valley, Right_ was in the AA and stayed at the USA base. I then commented «Now who’s camping?» and he told me that he was shooting planes from the base. I understood that pretty well, even though he was unfair! What was OK for him was not for me and he never admitted that! Anyway.
From my point of view, the starting point of any shooting with AA should be our base or near the base, unless the closest flags from the base are taken and clearly under control. It gives the player the time to evaluate the treats. Where are the planes (if any on the map)? How many helicopters are flying and where? Do we have the flag that gives us the gunship? And even if we do, is the gunship ours at that moment? The base is not a «wrong» spot to fire from. Depending on the situation in the field, planes often flyby it and reckless helicopter pilots often get close to it too.
Unfortunately, for many players, AA must absolutely go directly into the theater of operation. I agree with that, but under certain circumstances. They have to keep in mind that the maps are very big and air vehicules can be at any point on them. On the Bandar Desert map, for instance, the Army Base (G) is at 1500 meters from base. AA can’t cover all the map. Of course, you won’t have much success if you stick to the base and try to destroy or disable helicopters hovering above the Mountain Outpost (E), the Artillery Base (F) or G. It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go. AAs are really not good against tanks and can be destroyed very rapidly. Since no one will really spend much time to protect you while you try to do your job, you have to be careful when adventuring to the battlefront.
This said, why players are always on the back of AA drivers as soon as they are not satisfied with their performances? Do I tell a pilot how to fly? Do I tell a Support how to distribute ammo or use C4? Do I tell anyone how to use their guns. Do I ram them each time I am not satisfied with their work? Fuck no! I make suggestions. If I need to say something, I try to explain what would be in our best interest. I try to make them realise they are part of my team. I never say my team or teammates suck. And I can’t control and give orders to any players. It’s a game. A serious game, somehow, but a game where we all have the right to learn to get better. And don’t give me that crap argument to go practice on empty maps before playing in active ones (except, maybe, to learn how to basically drive), because there is no such way to learn how things work than in the middle of a battle. That’s the way I learned how to use AA and even though I am not an expert at it, I can give a hard time to helicopter and plane pilots when they are in my reach.
Note : The picture is a Tunguska-M1 SP taken from [http://old.nationaldefense.ru/5367/5507/index.shtml?id=7675].