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How to Not Die

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The most important thing in battle is not getting killed. Then you worry about killing the enemy. Simple in theory, not simple in practice. It is mostly common sense but it is amazing how many people lack common sense. --William S. Nattbee, 493th Stormtrooper Legion Squad Leader, retired[1]

The following article on avoiding enemy fire and subsequent death draws heavily on this article for source material. It's basically a general guide on how to keep yourself safe while on foot, and, if applied, should in theory reduce your death rate. Even though the First Strike mod is not real, in most situations you benefit from keeping yourself alive. There are exceptions to this rule - I once killed a developer belonging to a team with no support players, only to have him sigh with relief and say 'finally, I've been running around with only a knife for a year and a day!' - but these are few and far-between, especially on ground maps where dying reduces your team's ticket count.

The four criteriaEdit

Killing someone is not as easy as just picking a name and declaring your victim dead. In order for you to find yourself under deliberate, targeted attack, an armed enemy always needs to meet these four criteria:

  1. He must be alive.
  2. He must know you're there.
  3. He must be able to attack.
  4. He must be able to aim for you and fire at you accurately.

The first one is obvious: the best way to avoid getting shot, short of keeping your head down and pulling a good old Live And Let Live, is to simply shoot first - ideally, you should be able to get your shot off and, even if you fail to kill your enemy, he should be unable to return fire. Attacking alerts him to your presence, but if he is unable to meet criteria three, you're still safe.

For example, let's say you're sitting on a speeder bike on Mos Espa, providing perimeter defense near a control point. A team of Rebel troopers moves into your view without spotting you. You spot the enemy for your team, letting them know there's enemies on the way, and slip to the bike's back seat, from where you can throw a fragmentation grenade at the unsuspected Rebel squad. While the grenade is still in transit, you jump back to the front seat and boost the bike away from the enemy. You hit first, and you denied the enemy the chance to strike back.

There are times, however, when you find yourself locked in a fight and cannot retreat. You could be holding a control point and not have a grenade handy to kill the entire enemy squad in one Hollywood-ish stroke (I admit, the above scenario is fictional and the only time I managed to grenade more than two people at once was that time on Mos Espa when I overestimated my ability to throw grenades far and fragged my own four-man squad), for example, or in a Mos Espa street with no alley to disappear into.

Stay together, and keep shootingEdit

Foxhole Fireteam

These well-coordinated Rebels have a decisive advantage.

There are several ways to make a firefight safer for you, and teamwork is probably the best one. Working together with a unit of other soldiers means you have more firepower, and that the enemy might just shoot at someone else than you, making it easier for you to attack. Suppressing fire is also very effective - if your enemy is keeping his head down sufficiently to be kept from accurately firing at you, you get a better chance at firing and taking him out. If you get someone to take cover and have a moderately good idea of where he'll have to emerge from this cover, all you have to do is train your sights on him and kill him when he so does. This goes with the fourth point on the list above - it doesn't matter if you have a target sitting dead still in the open if you know you're going to get shot if you try to take aim and shoot it. Suppressing fire is a great deterrent that does a lot to keep you alive.

Keep movingEdit

Alley

A Rebel fireteam prowls a Mos Espa backstreet.

Being able to move is another very good way to stay alive. Moving from cover to cover, or at least from concealment to concealment, makes it harder for the enemy to hunt you down, that is, unless you're an easy target while moving. Finding yourself in good cover, but unable to move, is not good. Finding yourself unable to move and suppressed by enemy fire is worse. And finding yourself pinned down - sitting in cover, fully suppressed and unable to even take a peek out of your hiding place, not to mention leaving it, is the worst situation you can find yourself in, as you're totally unable to fire and very easy to advance upon and kill. The point here is that being able to move negates the disadvantage of not being able to fire, and vice versa: if you can simply sneak out of your hiding spot, it doesn't matter as much that you're suppressed.

Don't be predictableEdit

In general, whether or not you're in cover, you should keep your head down and be unpredictable. While moving, zig-zag randomly - just be careful when zig-zagging too erratically with friendlies firing past you into the enemy, as you might just find yourself zigging into a friendly blaster bolt. When peeping out of cover you're crouched behind, look around your cover instead of over it, as this leaves less of you visible to attackers. Don't appear from cover in the same spot every time you open fire, but make it harder for the enemy to hit you by moving behind cover and choosing different firing positions.

Tunnel visionEdit

TunnelVision

Tunnel vision keeps these two infantrymen from detecting each other.

Finally, tunnel vision, basically the focusing on your target and neglect of your flanks or your rear. As you'll very quickly realize, diversions, flanking and attacks from behind are all effective methods of attack precisely because of widespread tunnel vision - if you find yourself in a firefight, you're not going to repeatedly look over your shoulder, but concentrate on the enemies you're engaged with. Try to fight this instinct in yourself, and exploit it to the fullest in your enemies. For example, when hitting an enemy control point, try to send a single squad member around the point to attack the enemy. You'll be surprised at how caught up the defenders can get in one single person, if he proves sufficiently annoying.

FootnoteEdit

  1. The quote is originally from the source article. The person quoted is William S. Frisbee Jr., retired US Marines Non-Commissioned Officer. A huge thank-you to this man for the information reproduced in this article.

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