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The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

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  • The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

    No, it is not "high heels or flat soles".

    To keep the platoon together or fight on multiple targets (and here I have in mind distinct capture points, such as Gravel Pass and Tawrich Tech)?

    Obviously there are good reasons for trying to capture two or more targets at once.

    Yet I still find that much is lost when the platoon is separated. Much of what is lost is often the best part of PS2 and the best part of playing together.

    Of course, the first thing that is lost is that we are no longer together.

    Nothing I have seen here at TG quite matches seeing 4 squads in close proximity tightly coordinated by the PL on a singular target (which may include A, B, and C control points, but are still in the same AO).

    Nothing in FPS military gaming delivers quite the same high as platoon working together on the same objective.

    Realizing that there are times when multiple targets need to be hit at once, and clearly stating that I am not seeking an either/or resolution, I open the Platoon Leader's Dilemma to discussion.

    Personally, I prefer tight ops on a singular target -- maximum force ratio and maximum collective cohesion.

    There is often a choice is these matters.

    I wonder what your preference is?
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  • #2
    Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

    I had a good experience with separate squads in a platoon tonight.

    WhatAboutSmee led the platoon and we were working on Amerish. He spilt Alpha (Of whom I led :D) and Bravo into one big group and Charlie and Delta in another.

    It was very effective in taking bases while the enemy population was low. However, once the population increased and the battle's escalated, we were forced to join into one big cohesive unit.

    I believe it largely depends on the population and enemy resistance. If there is a lot of small empty bases needed to be capped then yes, splitting up into 2 or 4 smaller groups would be effective.

    But when it comes to say a BioLab with heavy enemy resistance, I find it ineffective to say for example Alpha to capture northern outpost, Bravo Southeast, and Charile and Delta to storm A, B, and C.

    I think in this situation it would be much more effective to have the entire platoon zerg the outposts and then as one collective unit, capture A, then B, then C.

    So in short, It is my humble opinion (not really) that one cohesive unit is a better alternative then 4 or 2 smaller ones in most situations, but not all.

    “Big Brother is Watching You.”
    ― George Orwell, "1984"

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    • #3
      Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

      I don't think the dilemma is splitting the unit or not........I think the biggest dilemma a PL has is in determining the enemy strategy. If the enemy is moving as a large zerk trying to bowl everything over as it moves then, yes keep the unit as a 4 squad platoon. Moving with the NC zerk. If on the other hand the enemy is operating with a well planned strategy, capturing key asset bases using smaller squads to accomplish same...........then split the platoon up.

      But it's not that simple is it? Rarely have I seen well planned strategies employed without the use of armor and/or air support plus infantry. So if you split up the platoon how will you support their efforts? Or if you keep them together how will you support them? This is the part of the conversation that I say............intel, or lack of same.

      So far I personally haven't heard one PL say "So'n'so go over to such and such and check out what is coming our way from where ever", I'm not saying that they aren't getting the information from an outside source, just not from within the unit............ so that in my opinion is the PL dilemma..........operating a campaign without adequate intel which either ends in a 'grinder' or 'retreat' or 'lucky move'.

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      • #4
        Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

        Intell is usually not a central problem. In fact, often the case is just the opposite -- a vast quantity of reports to sift through.

        Recon sounds good, and I occasionally make use of it, but is also limited. There is a 50/50 chance a recon unit will be destroyed by a random encounter before reaching the objective. Often, battle conditions shift so quickly that the recon's objective is no longer relevant, and so forth. The map, combined with regular sit reps from my SLs, usually provides plenty of detail on enemy position and movement.

        A PLs primary issue is not intel but unit cohesion. Are the squads being properly managed so as to be sufficiently cohesive so as to provide a useful tool to quickly execute an order?

        A diversified platoon, one infantry squad, one armour, one CAS, one ..., has advantages but suffers from each unit being under-powered (reduced force ratios).

        A fairly homogeneous unit (infantry only, for example) simplifies many issues and makes the SLs job of enforcing discipline a little easy.

        No one option could be said to be the best.
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        • #5
          Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

          It looks like it's going to become a lot less of a question with the lattice system in. With only a few choices in where to fight, the lattice is working in forcing larger fights, fights that can't be swung without the combined might of a platoon, and often not that.

          On the macro scale at least, I can't see the advantage of dividing a platoon on a lattice-run battlefield.
          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".

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          • #6
            Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

            Originally posted by Strait Raider View Post
            It looks like it's going to become a lot less of a question with the lattice system in. With only a few choices in where to fight, the lattice is working in forcing larger fights, fights that can't be swung without the combined might of a platoon, and often not that.

            On the macro scale at least, I can't see the advantage of dividing a platoon on a lattice-run battlefield.
            I have found that the Lattice system makes the tactics of flanking and holding the high ground to be vital.

            Geography and the advantages it affords become very significant.

            Indar still holds interest for me.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

              E-Male I respectfully disagree with you, Drona and myself have spent the past 2 days playing the infil class and I feel certain that he will validate the need for intel as well. He and myself spent an hour at one base watching the base being captured by the NC, then Vanu, then TR then the NC again. I told Drona today, it's like the weather in Fla, if you don't like it then just wait 10 minutes. And the interesting part is that during the whole capture and recapture process he and myself discussed who was going to win the base and why.......... We could see who was coming from what direction with what types of assets and how those assets were going to be met by the occupation force. The intel is your filtered information for that specific campaign, not the operational theater.

              I would think that unit cohesion should be the last thing to have to worry about. That's the SL's job, otherwise the PL is trying to micro-manage the force and if that's what the PL is doing then I can see how there would be a dilemma. But then that would mean that the SL's would have to be coordinating their efforts together instead of passing all comms through the PL.

              The PL with the information available should determine a proper and timely strategy to address the occupational forces whether from a offensive or defensive posture. Determining the assets that need to be deployed and issue the order to the SL's who coordinate with each other to address the tactical objectives via a support and supply avenue. The PL then sits back and watches the campaign unfold with regards to the central strategy, sending in additional re-enforcements or issuing tactical retreats as the campaign warrants. While that campaign is underway, the PL should be considering two transpiring events, either what will be the next objective and how will we deploy with the intel provided, or where will we retreat to that provides the best defensible location with the intel provided.

              The PL's job is never an easy one because he/she has to be keeping an eye to the front (next objective) and requesting intel to support that missions objective, AND keeping an eye to the rear(tactical retreat) and requesting intel to support the defensive strategy THEN deciding what is the best course of action in order to meet the overall theater objectives.

              But this is just my opinon.......

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              • #8
                Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                Rage, I agree with you.

                Intel is good and more is even gooder.

                But I see the issue of unit cohesion to be a central concern to platoon leading. Not something I manage directly, but something I am constantly assessing.

                A unit that is not cohesive spells trouble and requires a reminder.

                That is all I meant to add to your otherwise excellent summary of the issues addressed above.
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                • #9
                  Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                  I know when I am running a squad the biggest grip and the thing I constantly pound into my squad is to move quickly when given an order. I absolutly love it when they start to anticipate the orders and are ready to move before I even ask. This is also what I endevor to be like in others squads as well.

                  There are so many times our Platoon loses a fight because we fail to move quickly. There are countless minutes wasted trying to herd cats when we should have already been moving.
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                  • #10
                    Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                    Toddshooter has nailed it. I've seen us lose the advantage when we've been slow to move out more then once. I would say this is more of an issue when we have pugs in the group then when the squad is a full TG unit.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                      Originally posted by Toddshooter View Post
                      There are so many times our Platoon loses a fight because we fail to move quickly. There are countless minutes wasted trying to herd cats when we should have already been moving.
                      This is where intel and cohesion come together.

                      I need to stay on top of battle conditions, enemy movements, map situation, via intel AND I need to react faster to vital changes.

                      Often I am reacting too late to a situation.

                      Yet things are not as simple as more intel, better squad cohesion, and faster decisions = success.

                      There is the human factor. The troops want want something to shoot at and they want certs. Command decisions must balance the demands of the battlefield with the desires of the men who are, in the end, playing a game.

                      Thus the discussion and analysis of PS2 from strictly a rational, militaristic perspective will inevitable arrive at solutions that do not reflect the "real world" of the virtual world.

                      But Rage is right, we need to work on more intel. And Todd is right, we need to work on better cohesion and faster response times.
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                      • #12
                        Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                        I'm not a PS2 player (yet) so pardon my ignorance. I'm just wondering about a higher command structure than Platoon leader. Like a Company commander that commands two or three platoons at once. This would allow the PL's to stay tight with their platoon at the same time allowing the Company commander the broader freedom to deploy troops further afield and for specific functions.

                        You guys are making it sound so fun I have to join the fray and with the final release of A3 not expected until Oct this is a good time to join in.
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                        |TG-1st|Grunt
                        ARMA Admin (retired)
                        Pathfinder-Spartan 5

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                          Randy is our specialist for multi-platoon ops.

                          The game lacks an internal system for properly uniting comms and map positions between platoons (which is a crying shame).

                          We use TG TS as a work-around. This renders the Commander function less fun (less visualization of your total assets on the map) but it works nonetheless.

                          Randy also uses NCC TS to coordinate with other allied platoons. I am not sure how often this actually comes together but it is a work in progress.
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                          • #14
                            Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                            NC Coalition is just that, a coalition. Therefore individual outfits are free to do what they please, although overall the other guys are usually pretty helpful (as they see the same things you are seeing on the map on a continental level, although there are differences of opinion of course). When everyone is working together though, those have been some of our finest moments in game.
                            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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                            • #15
                              Re: The Platoon Leader's Dilemma

                              I have to thank you Penandpencilman for the support, I find that TG is quite adaptive to both situations of being separated or as an enclosed unit.

                              The reaction time for quick strategies is also impressive, example being the squad beacon drops on a hostile ridge line that Emale was present for, its was an off hand strategy I had in mind that was put into action quickly and decisively, the outcome was amazing. Two squads routed nearly a platoon sized element.

                              I have to agree with Pen that its mostly situational both based on enemy population and strategy, but on the other hand it also depends our group morale and numbers. Smaller facilities provide a great area for single/double squad actions while bio labs and such should always involve a platoon sized element.

                              I find it interesting that even tho this is a game, military tactics as well as stress get involved. Praise for all who take up leadership positions, this has been a great group to work with since day one.

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