Please note that the below information is all theoretical, meaning that you may not always be able to use this information. You should always look at and assess each situation individually and decide if this information is worth utilizing. In other words, do not use the information provided here if it puts your unit at undue risk. You need to decide for yourself what is best for You, Your Units, and Your House.
* Vehicle attack angles are slightly different. Vehicle Attack Angle tactical guide coming soon. *
While you are out there making your opponent die for the glory of your House one very important piece of information to pay attention to is your attack angle. The attack angle is determined by the facing of your target. Take for example the below image of a Centurion:
These are the familiar firing arcs for any 'Mech. Red hexes are in the Centurion's forward firing arc, blue hexes are in the Centurion's side firing arcs, and grey is in the Centurion's rear firing arcs. However, these are not the "hit zones" for units that are attacking the Centurion. In other words, it is possible for a unit to be in the Centurion's side firing arc for example, but attacks from that unit would target the Centurion's front.
The below image will explain it a little more clearly:
When you attack an enemy unit an imaginary line is drawn from the center of your hex to the center of the target hex. For 'Mechs and vehicles where that line crosses your target's hex determines what hit tables will be used for rolling damage. If the line crosses the front three hexes the front will be targeted. If it crosses the rear hex the rear will be targeted. If it crosses either of the side hex facings the side will be target. Please note that this can be changed due to intervening terrain.
1. The first Jenner, in hex #0508 is in the Centurion's front firing arc and his attack's would target the front of the Centurion.
2. The Jenner in hex #0409 is in the Centurion's left arc, but he is attacking along the hex line. In this situation normally the defender chooses if this is front or side target, but that option is not available in MegaMek. Instead the system determines which is more advantageous to the attacker. Normally this defaults to the front arc. But, if there were heavy woods in hex 0710 the system would count those in the target's defense and the attack would be on the Centurion's left side.
3. The Jenner in hex #0512 is in the Centurion's rear arc but his attacks would be on the Centurion's left side.
4. The Jenner in hex #0812 is in the Centurion's rear arc and his attacks would be on the Centurion's rear.
5. The Jenner in hex #1111 is in the Centurion's right arc and his attacks would be on the Centurion's right arc.
6. The Jenner in hex #1109 is in the Centurion's right arc and his attacks would be on the Centurion's front arc.
Note: It does not matter if the Centurion twists his torso. The direction of his feet (as determined by the white triangle in his hex) determines his facing.
In the below image the Centurion's firing arcs have been replaced with the targeted arcs:
Based on image originally created by Jackal.
If you are in a red hex you will target the Centurion's front hit zone.
If you are in a blue hex you will target one of the Centurion's side hit zones, either the right or left.
If you are in a grey hex you will target the Centurion's rear hit zone.
The hexes bordered in white are special cases. If you are in one of these hexes your LOS is directly along the dividing line between hex facings and the server automatically defaults to the most favorable hit location table of the unit be shot. So, if you were in hex #0805 you would be firing on the Centurion's front hit zone. If you were in hex #0907 you would be firing on the Centurion's left side hit zone. Also remember in either of these situations that terrain in adjacent hexes, such as #0905 or #0906 for a 'Mech in #0805 (or any other of the white hexes further to the left) will affect the hit zone.
For the start of the above example look at Jenner #5, in hex 2425. Per the default setting of the server he will be targeting the Centurion's front hit zone.
Jenner #1, in hex #1625, will be targeting the left side hit zone of the Centurion, because the light woods in hex #1726 offer cover. The light woods grant +1 to the defender, making him harder to hit, but since the woods are in the right side hit zone that is where your shots will hit. If the woods were in hex #1725 you would be firing on the Centurion's front hit zone.
Jenner #3, in hex #1828, will be targeting the rear hit zone of the Centurion. This is due to the location of the woods being on the "rear side" of the LOS line.
Jenner #4, in hex #2228, will be targeting the right side hit zone of the Centurion.
Jenner #2, in hex #1425, is a special case. You will note that the LOS touches two hex facings of hexes with terrain that can affect line of sight, one on each side of the LOS line (hexes #1525 and #1726). In this situation the target (or rather, the server) chooses which hit zone will be targeted. Since the server defaults to the most favorable hit zone Jenner #2 is firing on the front hit zone. But, this is very important, his to hit modifier is only +1, not +2. Only one of those two woods will affect the to hit number.
If there was heavy woods in hex #1725, then Jenner +1 would be targeting the front hit zone (with a +2 to hit modifier), but Jenner #2 would not be able to fire as line of sight would be blocked (heavy woods in hex #1725 and light woods in hex #1525).
"But Professor, why is this important?" you may ask.
"Pay heed, Cadet, and you shall learn."
The side you are attacking can have an affect on where you hit your opponent. Attacks on the front and rear arcs have an even distribution, meaning you are just as likely to hit the right torso as you are the left torso. But, when you attack a unit against his left side, for example, you are more likely to hit the left torso, as well as the left leg and left arm. See the hit location charts below:
Looking at the chart you will see that you have a combined 7 in 36 chance (19.4%) of hitting the target's left torso if you are attacking him from his left side. If, for example, his armor is weak in the right torso and he has ammo in that location then it can be worthwhile to attack him from the right side, if you are able, of course. From the right side you have a better chance of hitting the right torso and thus breaching his armor and possibly scoring a critical hit on his ammo.
Take for example the condition of our Centurion:
Note that he only has six points of internal structure left in his left leg. If you target him from the left side you are more likely to get a hit on his left leg (7 in 36 chance) than his right leg (2 in 36 chance). So if you have a choice, target from the left. Yes, you are still more likely to not hit the leg (29 in 36 chance of hitting another location), but the odds favor hitting the left leg over the right leg. It is worth it, because every hit on his left leg would directly hit internal structure and that means a chance of a critical hit. Not only that, but with only 6 points left one or two hits on that location could destroy the leg.
And that brings us to kicking. When you kick an enemy 'Mech from the front or rear you have 50% chance of hitting either leg. However, when you kick from the left or right side you automatically hit the appropriate leg. See the below image:
If the Jenner successfully kicks the Centurion he will automatically hit the left leg. And in this case the damage would be 7 points (1 point for every 5 tons of the attacker) and that would destroy the leg, crippling the Centurion.
So, take time when you move. Throughout the battle constantly be looking at how much damage your opponent has taken and pay attention to areas that are particularly weak, such as legs or locations that have ammo. (Right click over your opponent's 'Mech and select View to see details on his unit.) Ideally you should do this at the beginning of every round so you can plan your movements accordingly. Remember, do not blindly move into the ideal attack position because doing so might give your opponent the chance to get in an ideal attack position on you! Use this knowledge wisely. Sensei Mock26 will not be held responsible if you use this information unwisely.
Please note that his tutorial was originally created more than a few years ago and there may be mistakes in it. If you find a mistake please let me know and I will fix it.
Tactical Guide: Attack Angles
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