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The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

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  • The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

    Recently, there's been a lot of chatter about our lack of SL/PL's as well as a lack of organization. I'm hopeful that this thread can be the one-stop-shop for all of our SL/PL needs.

    The goal of this thread is to accumulate our collective knowledge on how to successfully lead everything from a small squad to a full platoon.

    Below is a copy/paste of a post I wrote (back in Beta) in an attempt to help a friend understand SL'ing. I understand that this info is pretty basic, but it should be a good starting point for our discussion.

    To address some of your SL questions:

    Being a SL in a platoon isn't too difficult. The PL will be making all of the major decisions and you'll just be placing your squad waypoint (right click on the map and select "Place Squad Waypoint".

    Taking points is as easy as standing next to them. As far as I'm aware, CP's don't need to be taken in any order. Another item of note is that with the large bases (tech plants, biolabs, etc), there are usually 2-4 outposts that can be taken for spawn points. It's almost required, in my opinion, to take a few of them before beginning the assault on the main facility.

    Shield and spawn generators are shown on the map, your minimap, and on your HUD. What type of attack is being used (infantry rush, galaxy drop, vehicle rush), will determine what priority the objectives should be taken:

    - Infantry Rush/Galaxy Drop: Send a couple SM's to take out the spawn generator with the rest of the squad on the CP. Once the CP has been captured, send out a small party to take out the shield generators.

    - Vehicle rush: similar to above except that you'd split a couple more SM's from CP duty and send them to take out the shield generators.

    Of course, there's a lot of opportunity to switch things up if so desired.

    Most of the smaller bases don't have shield or spawn generators, so you don't have to worry about that. You can just concentrate on taking the CP and then covering the spawn room until the region flips. The spawn rooms are the rectangular, one story buildings that have solar panel thingies on the long walls.

    It's usually easiest to assault the smaller bases with the support of a A-SMS cert'd sunderer. When I SL and am attacking a small base, I like to send about 1/3 or the squad to the CP, and have the rest clear all of the buildings in the area.

    Now, being the SL of a squad that's not in a platoon, is considerably more difficult. In addition to all of the above, you're also responsible for determining your squads target, how your squad will get to the target, and what they do once you're all at the target. It doesn't sound like a lot, but in a game with so many players and a faction control map that is constantly changing, you can find yourself bogged down with looking at the map. Looking at what enemy bases look ripe for attacking, what friendly bases need to be defended, and considering the meta-game (once it's fully implemented) are just a few things you need to concern yourself with.
    Please, feel free to discuss the above information and strategies or, even better, post up your own experiences with leading a squad, the tactics and strategy you use on various bases, how you deal with the Meta-game, etc. Let's try and demystify SL'ing and perhaps more people (including me!) will step up and lead us to victory.

    And please, let's keep this thread on topic and as clean and informative as possible.


  • #2
    Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

    I've had some great success leading public squads. I usually do so in the middle of the night, when coms are as clear as day. So that helps. But there are also a few other reasons why this works well and is even more enjoyable than running a TG squad.

    First of all, give the pubbies a chance! Sure, there are a few that will join a squad and not stick together at all, and you have to kick them. It's tempting to look at a map, see a couple of public members of a squad in the middle of nowhere, and come to the conclusion that "pubbies can't follow orders." But 90 to 95 % of them do, and do so well, and appreciate the fact that orders being given. Just be clear with your orders and make sure that everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing at each given moment, and they will follow.

    In fact, and it's worth mentioning this here, public members often play more tactically than TG members, for one simple reason: you give an order, and they'll do it, no questions asked. A lot of them don't even have a microphone to question orders with! One problem with TG, in my opinion, is that we have too many opinions speaking up and often lack one leader who is making clear and quick decisions. It also helps to always have planned one step ahead, so that as soon as a base is cleared you can have your squad move out. Pubbies do have much more focus when they aren't bored.

    I'll say this here, and will probably repeat it in later posts:
    TG leaders, make a decision. Swiftness of orders is just as important, if not more so, than correctness.
    TG members, follow that decision. A well-executed bad idea is better than a poorly or slowly executed good one.
    If it works, great; if not, we can often pull out of a bad situation and regroup in the same time it would normally take us to decide where to go over TS.

    Finally, I've kept to leading a squad, and not a platoon. So far, I've never been in a platoon that had well-led squads. Usually it's one person leading the entire platoon, saying "go to the platoon waypoint" and, if anything else, something along the lines of "alpha take armor, bravo go in a sundy." Squad leaders are usually non-existent. For that reason, I'm not going to start any platoons until I have trusted squad leaders to put in charge of the other squads.

    TG has the opportunity to become one of the best platoon-leading outfits if we make an effort to keep most coms in squad-level chat, with a leader in each squad, similar to how the command structure worked in 2142 and other Battlefield games. If we do so, operations such as focusing on single shield generators, secondary spawn points, and specific enemy locations are possible, whereas operating on this level via platoon chat is impossible.


    • #3
      Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

      As an SL and especially a PL, you have to distance yourself a bit from the combat. This is something I know I struggle with - I like to play the game, we all do.

      There are plenty of times you'll be able to yell "Squad on me! Charge!" and lead your troops into battle from the front, but as an SL/PL you are a people manager. In the CF we'd be told that even as section leaders, "If you're firing your weapon, you're doing something wrong." While this isn't a 100% rule (and much less so in a game where you don't have to call GRITs, contact reports, control section fire, etc, etc etc.) you should stop periodically to think. Are my squad(s) focused on their objectives or are they spread out? Has the tactical situation changed? Are we winning or losing? Do I have SMs lonewolfing that I can kick to make room for team players? Are my map markers up to date?

      While you're doing this, think ahead. Have an idea of what you are going to do next and what you will need to accomplish that.

      Conversely, don't be afraid to take a minute if you need it. Calling a 2-5 minute break can give your squad a chance to rearm and reorg while you plan your next move.

      When you're working with pubs, (or just TG!) open the map periodically. Check the maps of the other two continents and kick everyone on them. Then kick everyone who is on your continent outside your AO. Kick and kick and kick until you have a semi-cohesive unit. Having SMs lone-wolfing around just encourages the rest of the platoon and undermines your leadership. After about 5 whole minutes of booting tonight I was able to get 48 men under my command, inside one biolab and more-or-less pointed in one direction. We only left behind 4-5 people when we stepped off on our next attack.

      Be assertive! We don't mind if you've never lead a squad before, you don't need to question yourself. If nobody else stepped up to the plate then they have absolutely zero right to question your orders. Go here and do this. People want a leader, so lead!

      Sorry if that's a bit disjointed, like I said before I signed off I had a late hockey game tonight and it got me too riled up to sleep. :P
      Teamwork and Tactics are OP

      Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".


      • #4
        The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

        What class/kit should the SL being using? From a BF and mainly 2142 perspective it was the support class because of ammo and the IDS. Since Sundys are so important it makes perfect sense to me that the SL is an engineer so he can hang out near the Sundy making repairs and drop ammo when needed.

        In regards to the back seat leading or having an opinion the simple solution is that it just simply has to stop unless you are in a leadership position or an opinion is asked for. If you would like to see things done a different way you should fill a leadership position.

        Proud to be Irregular



        • #5
          Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

          I have gathered some things squad-members can do to get us more and better platoon/squad-leaders.

          As squadmembers, and as TG, we can show more discipline, and show more support for the leadership than is happening now. If someone is in the squad, this person should support the squad, or not be in there at all.
          We should be thoughtful about our own attitudes; are we supporting the leadership, or making things more difficult for them? I've gotten angry when I was very tired and squadleading sometimes, for which I apologize. Angry is never right.

          The things I was angry about though were not unimportant I think:
          -tg guys constantly second guessing decisions after the decision
          -tg guys repeatedly voicing their dissatisfaction with the decisions/playstyle
          -tg guys suddenly claiming "I'm taking a <vehicle> to go do <action>" totally alone because they feel that is tactically needed, apparently supposing that is somehow ok. Like going to assault a biolab all alone, and no I'm not kidding.

          This kind of behavior that is quite far from good tg standards, makes it very INTIMIDATING TO LEAD. I have a thick skin, and am blissfully forgetful. But not all are. I know this intimidates people a lot, because many have told me so. If people see a squad well coordinated they will feel like testing their ideas and taking lead. If they see a dysfunctional bunch that will probably not follow orders, who wouldn't shy away? It is no fun at all either if all you get to do is set the next base to zerg to. A muppet could do that ;).

          I'm not saying we all have to be perfect all the time here. I'm saying you get the leadership you deserve also. The way I see it, a leader is only as strong as his sergeants. The best success I've seen is when there were one or two vocal, positively engaged squadmembers (usually tg) setting the example, actively helping me lead.

          You can greatly help leadership and invite more people to take the position by lessening the burden on them.

          Here are some ways to help lessen the burden (and increase pleasure):

          -Voice your opinion honestly and bluntly when the time is right.

          -But voice it AS an opinion and not an order ("we have to here to do that"=>"may I suggest we do x", "have you considered doing x because of y"....)
          While the tactical information contained is the same, the wording can either diminish or build up the squadleader's authority. If you diminish it you diminish cohesion, effectiveness, and usually fun. If you build it up, good times follow because many new styles of gameplay open up, and generally effectiveness increases.

          -Support cohesion by helping the SL reign in straying sheep.

          It helps so much when I hear a sqmember say things like "Hey <player> come on man let's get back to the squad", "Let's do this quick guys". Even a simple "Yes sir", "Copy that" to notify the rest that you acknowledge and follow the order does so much. It strengthens the authority of the leader thus the whole group. It sets the tone.
          It takes the confrontation from one between an individual vs a leader
          and changes it to a confrontation between the individual vs the group.

          The first conflict is man vs authority figure, with strong echoes of the relationship with the father, often laden with emotion (psycho-analysis ftw :D). A recipe for disaster.
          The second conflict is man vs group authority usually swiftly resolved by submission to group authority. A recipe for success, as is echoed in the military mantra's most of you know, the most well know being "semper fi".

          -Leave the squad, if you really don't enjoy the gameplay, and

          -start your own.

          If you have a strong opinion on what the squad should do, chances are that you would be a good leader. In Belgium we have a saying: variety creates appetite. The more different leaders with different styles we have the better. In PR, people would join my squads if they wanted some relaxed but thoughtful gameplay, usually defensive in posture. If they felt like more action that same day, they might switch to someone else's squad with a more attacking/action orientated style.
          There is nothing wrong with really really disliking a play-style, of a squad. It is inevitable that it happens. This is exactly why we need more leaders.
          To the players I get into kerfuffles with the most, don't take it personally, take it as a challenge, and a compliment. Go lead.

          Instead of irritating each other, we can complement each other. Be it in different squads, or even better different platoons, we can work together. One of the tough lessons I learnt in PR is that a defensive group is nothing without an attacking group around to keep the enemy on their toes and prevent them from choking out the defenders. No matter how good your defense, if you don't tickle the enemy back you will always wind up laughing sorely.

          *As a closing note, looking back on my post, the impression may arise that I blame the problems I sometimes encounter on the members of the squad. In a moment of anger, I fall into this trap sometimes. I know most or all of the things a squadleader can do to improve behavior in his squad instead of complaining about them in the forum :p. I know them, and I fail at them all at one time or another. I spoke about the members here partly out of frustration, partly to apologize, but also because I felt the squadmember's role in the leadership's success and failure warranted a bit more limelight.

          Have a nice day.
          Last edited by BigGaayAl; 11-29-2012, 04:51 AM.


          • #6
            Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

            Al has put things much more succinctly than I can. I tried my hand at leading a platoon a couple of days ago and although it started well, it ended up a disaster. Without going into too much detail I basically pleaded with the platoon several times after giving orders and was ignored by all except a small handful of TG vets. I even tried explaining why I was giving the orders I was giving and even used the word please to no avail. I even thought for a minute that my mic wasn't working.

            Suffice to say I've hung up my silver twinkies for the time being, and am sticking with the SL stripes for now. What's the point of "stepping up" if your only going to get stepped on?


            • #7
              Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

              Ty Harlequin for proving my point. I knew people were intimidated. I've been squadleading in BF2 for years and years. The same dynamic happened there and it took some people way long to finally step up and be sometimes great great squadleaders.

              It's fine if our concentration lapses, it's fine if you get distracted and wander off at some point. When called on by the SL to come back though, people should reply with a swift "yes sir!" and make their way back promptly. Or they can decide that they don't want to do what is asked, and make room in the squad for someone that will. This is all fine.

              Now for balance I'll quickly try to list how I think one can try to deal with discipline issues.

              -Form your platoon up when you become squadleader, at warpgate if need be. It will be a good start and people will know a new phase has started.

              -When you are deciding which course of action to take next, consult your team on what they want to do or what they think the squad should do.

              -Gather suggestions in your hat, shake it, and take your pick. Then give the order.
              It helps a lot if squadmembers get their say in things and can share their view. Once the decision is taken however, you have to be decisive. This is important to be decisive.

              -Always be friendly, at least as far as humanly possible. Don't make it personal. You can be emotional; a game is tense so emotion is a given. but remain friendly and respectful.

              -Get authority
              Now this is a big issue. The thing about authority is, it is not a thing you 'are', 'do' or 'project' or something. There is some of that, a firm voice, short and clear communication,...
              But most of autority comes imo from people seeing other people follow you.

              [B]Authority[b] is attributed by a squadmember, when he sees that other squaddies treat you as if you had authority.
              It is something you get from your peers whether you want it or not.

              Coming full circle then, this is why the squadmember has such great responsibility in creating a good squad. It is a way of showing due respect to the player sticking his neck out. It is also the TG way. It is in your hands squaddies!


              • #8
                Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                The success of a platoon leader often depends on the squad leaders. There are few things more frustrating than just having gotten control of of the platoon, still in the organizing phase, and have a squad leader start giving orders to their squad to go to a different sector, without ever consulting me. If they had just asked, then we could have all moved there as a platoon, and it would have gone better. I really dislike PL'ing and only do it because somebody has to do it, so please respect the chain of command. Squad leader doesnt determine the objectives of his squad, platoon leader does, the SL is there to guide his men to that objective.
                May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.


                • #9
                  Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread


                  I feel I do pretty decent at running a squad. It's when it turns into a platoon that it all starts to fall apart. Problem is when I've got a full squad and someone else joins the TS channel looking to join up, I feel bad not allowing them to team up due to my limitations.

                  I like to spend a lot of time in the map screen when leading, even more so when it's a platoon. The map gives a much broader view of the battlefield and it's goings-on IMO. I think this is because much of my commanding experience comes from 2142 where commanders weren't allowed to fight. You'd spend the entire round in the map, and for good reason. I know some of you are great at multitasking, but keeping tabs on other nearby squads is tough when you're in a firefight yourself.


                  • #10
                    Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                    Originally posted by Harlequin View Post
                    I like to spend a lot of time in the map screen when leading, even more so when it's a platoon. The map gives a much broader view of the battlefield and it's goings-on IMO. I think this is because much of my commanding experience comes from 2142 where commanders weren't allowed to fight. You'd spend the entire round in the map, and for good reason. I know some of you are great at multitasking, but keeping tabs on other nearby squads is tough when you're in a firefight yourself.
                    When PLing I've at times REALLY wanted a subordinate SL since I am always pulling the map up which can really slow down on the fly adjustments during maneuvers or attacks. Too often, even when I feel I'm on the ball, there are requests for new orders and I have to respond to this squad's request by taking into account intuition, the immediate battle, the greater campaign, squad deposition, and enemy deposition; all while potentially worrying about my squad as well! Its hell. (but also a ton of fun)

                    There are important things for PLs to do and then their is a time when the SLs need to also take the slack and be autonomous enough to respond to their direct situation while still staying on task to the whole of the Platoon. This is very hard to convey in a spontaneous mission that has no true battle-plan. Really it comes down to interpretation and personal initiative. I know when I was commanding in Project Reality I always preferred autonomous Squad Leaders who could also take orders and interpret them into a method of their own personal execution. By and large, for the organized In House Scrims, I picked SLs who were by and large expert at this method of operation. Micro-Managing IS NOT the role of the Platoon Leader BUT following the battle-plan is the role of the Squad Leader.

                    Now in PS2 there is one big difference between PL and CO in the Battlefield series... scale. When COing in BF you are fielding the same amount of people. In PS2 a PL is WOEFULLY inferior to the whole of the other team. This relegates the PL and his subordinate SLs to enforcing a stricter sense of the 'battle-plan' than I would normally do in a round of Project Reality.
                    No person can simply just be; they are what they do.


                    • #11
                      Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                      Reading many of the comments, and seeing how people lead often in the game, I have a remark on the role of the squadleader in the platoon.

                      I think many are putting too much emphasis on the role of the SL in the Platoon.

                      Most of the time you will want to have your platoon all close together. It is rare for there to be a reason for the squads to be at different hex-regions. Usually it is a bad idea.

                      So when you have the platoon together, moving as wone group, the possible roles for the individual squads become different. It is not cap this, go there,.. It becomes Bravo squad take A, Charlie squad secure the enemy spawn,...

                      This requires actually mostly input from the platoon leader. Thus the role of the squadleader is indeed very light. What he CAN do, to improve things, is by helping micromanage his own squad. Look out for stragglers, show them the way. Alert the pl of people that need to be kicked, ask someone to change kit because someone in the squad needs ammo or a revive,...

                      Now in the future, perhaps we can become really good, and have the squads constantly funtion as an independent unit in the platoon, even when fighting together. I see this as possible advanced gameplay.

                      But for now, I recommend letting the platoon stay together 90% of the time, and I recommend the Platoon leader take most of the decisions. See the Platoon more as a single squad, and the squads as fireteams. you only split the fireteams off on rare occasions when the situation really warrants it. Only at that time does responsibility fall on the SL more, and he then should take a much more active role. I think at the moment we are splitting our forces much too often.

                      Now alleviating the pressure on the SL by keeping the platoon together (feels natural to me when PL) will allow for us to find squadleaders more easily, growing competence and confidence over time.

                      It is still the PL's job to watch discipline, not the SL. If the SL finds his squad not listening to what they were ordered to do by the PL, he should report it to the PL, who should then decide how to deal with it.


                      • #12
                        The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                        Is there any merit in the PL being a separate squad. This could free up the PL from having to lead the platoon and a squad. I don't know if there are limitations within the game preventing this. When running mech'd up (sunders or galaxies) you would have I make sure that one squad wasn't at full strength to leave a spot for the PL. I've always thought that the PL should function like a BF CO but just closer to the fight.
                        Proud to be Irregular



                        • #13
                          Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                          I really think that is not the way to see it Browncoat. You ware wanting to see the PL as a CO because of the similar size of players he commands. However the CO has a whole team under his command. The platoonleader has relatively to BF2.. less than a squad.

                          The thinking of wanting to put the PL seperately to me is symptomatic of what I was trying to warn against in my previous post. It is thinking on to small a scale imo.

                          The PL is really more like a squadleader, than a CO in my opinion.

                          Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                          Too often, even when I feel I'm on the ball, there are requests for new orders and I have to respond to this squad's request by taking into account intuition, the immediate battle, the greater campaign, squad deposition, and enemy deposition; all while potentially worrying about my squad as well! Its hell. (but also a ton of fun)

                          Much of the solution to this is people need to shut their mouth and have some patience while you look at the map. Some people are just too impatient, constantly asking to attack new flags, reporting stuff that is happening stupidly far away, etc...

                          Some people feel entitled to demand you give them an order or a explanation every five seconds. They are not entitled and they better learn. This is not your fault but theirs. I've felt this pressure a lot and you cannot give into it imo. THe world is full of impatience and ADHD, giving into it is not going to help things, the contrary will.
                          Last edited by BigGaayAl; 12-03-2012, 06:17 PM.


                          • #14
                            Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                            Originally posted by BigGaayAl View Post

                            It is still the PL's job to watch discipline, not the SL. If the SL finds his squad not listening to what they were ordered to do by the PL, he should report it to the PL, who should then decide how to deal with it.

                            What is the motivation for that? That way you give the Pl one more thing to do, that the SL could do as well and even better, as he directly observes the behavior of the player in question.


                            • #15
                              Re: The Squad/Platoon Leading Thread

                              Well the SL can't remove people from the Platoon. So the SL deals with it personally and if warranted tells the PL who will then probably boot the player.

                              Man-Bear-Pig is right about the PL not being a CO in the most literal of senses however he will be less combat focused than most BF SLs would. I will hypothesize that there MIGHT be Company level organization (multiple Platoons) in a future update, this will be effectively a CO type role and might be regulated to a VERY FEW players (high cert costs).

                              One thing can be considered though, much like in casual PR play there is very little team coordination, and a good Platoon can impact a huge portion of the map.
                              No person can simply just be; they are what they do.




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