From: McMinnville, OR
Recon choppers are normally moved (semi close to the line) into areas where recon is preferred/desired and then based there. After a couple of turns the recon developes to as much as the chopper unit is worth. Note what Steve has included about scale..........
A post from Steve Shunwick from over at the Gamespot forum dated 30 May 08 during our tests on this:
This is version two of this post. My apologies for having to do this twice. There are some important changes revealed by further testing.
Please forgive the length of this post.
My map is 90 x 57 not 40 x 30 as I stated earlier. I didn’t realize it was that big.
After a week of testing (and much hair loss), this is the upshot of the low-down on recon helicopters.
Items 3, 4, 5, and 6 are all standard and well-known recon modifiers. I include them only for completeness. Nearly all testing was done at half-day turns.
1. Recon helicopters produce a localized recon effect. They operate out to a radius based on their operational range and their performance is roughly consistent across their range.
There are range modifiers (discussed later) so beware. The ultimate arbiter of operational range and the performance of recon helicopters is the amount of recon power you assign to the problem.
2. Date has an effect. TOAW III will not allow recon helicopters to work before 1957.
3. Day and night operations have a profound effect. It seems likely, though I haven’t tested this enough, that the chance for spotting is averaged at lengthier timescales to simulate the number of night phases in the turn. This would be consistent with the way supply is handled. More testing is required at alternate timescales.
4. Weather has an effect. Clear locations are more likely to be observed than hexes with varying degrees of cloud cover and/or precipitation. I haven’t tested if temperature makes a difference.
5. Terrain has an effect. Open locations are probably the easiest to recon and forests are probably the hardest. A road running through a hex raises the detection chances considerably keeping in mind that a road through a forest is still not quite as detectable as a road through an open hex.
If I remember correctly, there is something in the manual about the terrain effects on recon.
6. Enemy movement has an effect. All movement raises the chances of being spotted by recon. You can see this on watching your opponents turn as enemy units appear from nowhere, move, and then disappear again.
7. Number of assets has an effect. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 4 squadrons of 9 are much better than 1 squadron of 9. Operational range increases as you add helicopters – improved theatre coverage. This works through the recon rating in the unit stats.
8. Proficiency has an effect. I dropped the proficiency of my recon helicopters from 80 to 30. According to the unit statistics, the recon value for the units dropped from 99% recon to 77% recon.
The difference was minimal, at best, for locations closer to the operational base but dropped significantly for locations further away. On 80% proficiency I was getting some recon on enemy units out towards the 50 hex mark (2.5km a hex) while on 30% I was getting no recon at all past the 25 to 30 hex mark.
Proficiency is another of the range modifiers. It too works through the recon rating in the unit stats.
9. Theatre-level recon has an effect on the overall performance of recon helicopters. The better the theatre recon the better the localized recon from the helicopters. However, the practical effects of recon helicopters at high levels of theatre recon are negligible. Although the performance of recon helicopters is higher, nearly all of it is spent detecting enemy units that have already been detected by the theatre level recon.
Paradoxically, recon helicopters really shine at low levels of theatre recon where their effect is more readily observed. On my scenario, theatre recon at -50 gives a certain level of recon from my helicopters, -25 gives a much higher level, and -100 gives no recon at all.
The negative numbers here are required because I was using relatively large numbers of recon helicopters at high proficiency on a relatively small 2.5 km map.
10. Theatre level recon is not consistent across different hex scales. The larger the hex scale the harder it is to recon.
Everything is relative here. For example, eight recon helicopters in a unit at 80% proficiency give a 99% recon rating on 2.5km maps. The same unit only has a 51% recon rating on a 5km map.
11. It is almost impossible to put definitive numbers on any of this. Everything is a percentage chance and every hex within range has a chance to be observed however small that chance may be. It’s damned hard to spot enemy units deep in dense forest in the middle of a thunderstorm and at the extreme limit of your range but it is never impossible (unless you set theatre recon so low that all recon is useless.)
I suspect only Ralph or James would be able to put exact figures to any of these chances.
12. Conclusions: Perhaps the most surprising thing is the relationship between theatre recon and recon helicopters.
Theatre recon seems to increase the percentage chances of every hex on the map for recon helicopters to exploit.
It is usual to think of theatre recon as the combined effects of spy planes, satellite imagery, elint, spooks, and green slime. And that those effects are of the all seeing and all knowing variety.
Perhaps, in certain circumstances, it is better to think of theatre recon as a permissive control controlling the performance of recon helicopters.
The usefulness of recon helicopters, in terms of scenario design, on maps greater than about 10km a hex drops off steadily unless you begin assigning vast quantities of assets to increase the range.
The usefulness of recon helicopters in scenarios with high levels of theatre recon is also questionable due to swamping.
As ever with scenario design, getting the right effect is a case of trial and error. (Much like writing this post.)
For players, estimating the operational range of the recon helicopters you have under your command can be quite tricky.
There are a few unanswered questions. Some things I didn’t test, some things I didn’t test enough, and some things I never thought of testing at the time.
Do alternate timescales have an effect? I don’t know. I didn’t do enough testing on this to give an opinion. My impression from the little testing I did was that higher timescales had little effect but I am not prepared to swear on this.
Does temperature make a difference to recon? I don’t know. I didn’t do any testing on this. I tested cloud cover and precipitation but not temperature. I think I forgot.
Does night proficiency have an effect on recon during night turns? I don’t know. It never occurred to me to test this. It’s an intriguing thought though.
Does nuclear contamination affect recon? Does NBC proficiency? Good questions and both deserve answers.
There are probably more.
13. And finally, it occurs to me that you can probably see most of these effects by examining the Bong Son scenario in the Classics folder. Play around with the hex scale, time scale, theatre recon, weather, and anything else that takes your fancy.
You will note from the date that this was all preformed befor 3.4 (IIRC) so the effects should be more pronounced now as I'm sure some of it (at least) was changed for the patch. I'm not sure at all about moving recon choppers over the map, as the way I'm understanding it all has to due with choppers flying missions repetitively over the AO. Could be wrong, but the post shows what Steve tested, eh?
< Message edited by 1_Lzard -- 11/7/2011 8:58:31 PM >
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