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Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

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  • Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

    Generally speaking, TG platoon leaders (PL) have been requiring each squad leader (SL) to maintain their own Sunderer for ammo/repair/respawn support. This has the benefit of redundancy across the platoon, but it also required each SL to devote mental and physical resources to the maintenance and security of the Sunderer itself.

    Introducing the Transport & Supply Squad (TSS)

    The following 20 minute video captures a slight modification in the support role of Sunderers. This modification sees an entire squad dedicated to maintaining a fleet of Sunderers and making these vehicles available to other squads. The Sunderers remain under the command of the TSS squad leader. In the following example we see a platoon that consists of three squads: Alpha -- Max/Infantry (BigGaayAl), Delta -- Armour (Wyattman), and Transportation and Supply -- (BaconSpanking).

    The TSS is tasked with keeping one Sunderer with Charlie/Armour and one with Alpha/Infantry. The fourth squad was just a command element (myself) but had it filled with troops and an SL the TSS would have been tasked to provide a third Sunderer.

    At times Alpha and Delta were on distant flanks, thus splitting Charlie's support role across an entire battlefield, and at other times Alpha and Delta were next to each other.

    In one instance Alpha and Delta were secure, our rear was exposed to a newly captured outpost, thus I sent Charlie to recapture the outpost. This demonstrates the flexibility of the TSS unit, but also highlights a potential area of high risk which occurs when the TSS unit breaks off from its supporting role and attacks an enemy position. In this instance both Alpha and Delta were securely entrenched, thus limiting the overall risk to the platoon.

    Debriefing was conducted with the three SLs after two successful engagements (1 hour). The SLs unanimously found that not having to support a Sunderer WITHIN their own squad to be a benefit. I was concerned that Charlie's supporting role would not keep Charlie's squad members sufficiently engaged (and entertained) but the SL reported high levels of engagement.

    The trial run was successful and will be repeated ASAP.

    Note that the ideal load-out of a TSS-assisted platoons is as follows:
    1 Max squad
    2 Infantry squads
    1 Armour squad


    Recommendations:
    • A LAUNCHING area should be used to group up all squads prior to moving into contact with the enemy. The launching area MUST be secure and out of enemy range.
    • The TSS should provide a AMS-REPAIR Sunderer to the armoured squad.
    • The lead element for APPROACHING a hostile objective should be the Armour squad as tanks are limited in terms of terrain. The PL should confer with the Armour SL as to the appropriate target.
    • Use the armour unit for protecting the Sunderers when moving from point to point.
    • Use the Infantry unit(s) for close quarter combat and assaults on buildings.


    Last edited by E-Male; 06-24-2013, 10:42 AM.
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  • #2
    Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

    Personally, I was finding being the transport squad to be pretty boring, but that could have been my mood at the time.

    There might be some utility in having the transport squad manage a second dedicated role in addition to transportation, given that transportation is a sporadic role most of the time. Since they'll likely be hanging back protecting the spawn point anyways, long-range fire support might be an option.



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    • #3
      Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

      If you are utilizing a transport squad you should have properly equipped Sunderers for light anti-infantry fighting. If anything I think the Sunderer SHOULD BE tied directly to the advancing infantry and provide cover and fire support (much like a contemporary APC/IFV).

      Talk to anyone who has been gunning for my Sunderer of late; equipped with a Front M40 Fury (1.75xOptic, 2 Extra Rounds) and a Rear M12 Kobalt (2x Optic) and they will tell you it reams infantry. If low on stationcash or certs (Fury costs 700SC/1000Certs) the Kobalt is a very potent anti-infantry option and is only a measly 250 Certs, the M60 Bulldog as well (though I feel it is inferior to the M40). Just get rid of those M20 Basilisks they are trash now (used to be pretty good but the wide cone of fire shoots that all to heck).

      If you find yourself in combat often and are truly just transporting infantry other options are Blockade Armor, Mine Guard, and Fire Suppression/Nanite Repair (instead of AMS). Personally I've been running in my sunderer a lot lately and think it is an often underused vehicle platform capable of many many things beyond AMS.

      (drive in third person)

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      • #4
        Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

        I enjoyed the transport role last night and will be looking forward to trying it again.

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        • #5
          Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

          I consider the AMS an essential feature in this strategy as it allows for a mobile respawn unit, allows for changing kits on the spot, and allows for allied troops to spawn in -- an important force ratio supplement.

          While there is no one correct way to equip a Sunderer, the combination of anti-infantry and anti-air guns adds versatility.

          Wt is correct to point out that many other uses of the Sunderer exist, but when deployed as a support vehicle that is intended to replace a squad's own Sunderer, the AMS function is, in my opinion, paramount.

          One must distinguish between layers of defense and attack and provide supporting logistics accordingly. one layer is your most resilient with highest fire power --tanks. Supporting the front line is also infantry, which may be froward, along side or behind the tank squad. BEHIND these layers is the final support line of the AMS/AMMO/REPAIR Sunderer station. A defense or assault that is not adequately layered is merely a fat target, subject to fast moving large forces. A layered structure is more resilient.

          Of course, many variations and permutations are possible here.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

            you could always run two sunderers? have one that is armored and one that is ams. seeing as how you'd be transporting infantry a lot the armored one could be gunned by the squad it is supporting as it moves in and then is maintained by the driver once parked this would give you an armored transport and allow you to hold the ams one back some for further protection. All in all I think a well utilized support squad could be a lot of fun! It would only be in down times in long engagements that it could get boring. It also requires a certain type of person to act in a support capacity though because most people like to be directly engaging the enemy which is definitely fun. All depends on the day and type of engagements I suppose.

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            • #7
              Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

              First off I very much enjoyed it. It felt truly effective as well.

              @ Emale
              *You listed the max squad as an ideal loadout. I don't think it necessarily is. It is what I was experimenting with on that day, but I can see many possibilities that could work. This could work with anything from one to three infantry based squads (or maxes).
              /@emale

              *I think in certain situations the infantry squad staying back can really help out the armor enormously. e.g. when being attacked by lots of infantry from angles they cannot shut down. The TSS squad furthermore can play a key role in similar situations, by closing in behind the armor to easily pick off C4-fairies (light assault) and such. Personally I love my thermals for that.

              *Someone in my squad had a great idea to add to the TSS. We currently have several members regularly running harasser squads. But they have been running separately. In the long term I would really like to see them incorporated. The suggestion was to add those harassers to the TSS squad.
              They can guard the tanks, quickly support the infantry, go scout things, counter enemy harassers,... They can do all the things they would usually do, with the same freedom of movement they enjoy in a separate squad, but in the TSS squad.

              In the platoon we ran, the TSS could have consisted of e.g.
              -4 guys in two Sunderers (one gunner, two if stationary),
              -up to 8 guys in up to 4 harassers.


              *One final note one the TSS squad keeping one sunderer near the infantry.
              I'm not sure this is a good idea most of the time. There were certainly a couple of times where I had to get my squad in a more dangerous position, because the sundy arrived and it was a total sitting duck. So I exposed my squad to at least keep it alive as long as possible. I think whether the Sundy is there, or nearby on call when needed, is highly situational. In general I'm inclined to prefer having it come when I need it rather then being a liability. When doing infantry any vehicle is a liability because it will give your position away from 800M instead of 300m, and it will attract a lot of fire. More experience is needed on this subject imo.

              ---

              My conclusion so far: amazingly fun, and afaik, quite effective. I'm nhoping now that perhaps we will evolve to a mindset of switching squads when we want to do something different, as opposed mixing everything up as we've been generally doing. I think this will enable much more advanced tactics in every squad, in every role, and you can still do whatever you want basically. You just have to switch to the right squad, or start one wiht the specialization you want.

              Caveat: one problem I see is when platoon leaders don't respect the specialization of the squad. Sometimes I will spend hours getting a specialized squad running, and then when it is finally working a PL asks me to deploy to redeploy my e.g. armor squad to the warpgate for a gal drop..... I will respect the order, but I will also quit squadleading then whilst quietly smashing my keyboard on my head :D.
              Since having that experience I've taken to always respect the specialization throughout the evening. I adapt my PL choices to the tools my SL's offer me. I would propose others try to do this as well as much as possible.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                All good points.

                I overstated the need to have a MAX infantry squad, as Al pointed out. It would be best to leave the infantry kit selection to the Infantry SL who will be best able to determine the forward situation and kit needs.

                One the other hand, given that this platoon concept is based on ONE Armour squad supported by ONE TSS squad and TWO Infantry squads, I added the MAX squad (above) as a standard feature given the ability of an entire MAX squad to defeat significant numbers of aircraft. The combination of a squad of armour and a dedicated squad of MAXes (with their supporting ENGs and Medics) makes for a very powerful defensive shield for the overall platoon.

                Yet, even as I suggest this a voice in the back of my head says much depends on the SL. BigGaayAl knows how to operate a Max squad. I suspect that such things as highly specialized squads (MAX, Armour, Air) are best in the hands of SLs that have experience in running highly specialized squads. Yet on one more hand, now is the time to learn.

                The comments above remind me that there is no need to be inflexible in the structuring of this type of platoon. The key element, the foundation on which the concept rests, is the TSS squad. The platoon represents a departure from the normal allocation of Sunderers to a more specialized transportation squad. All else flows from this core TSS unit and what it enables among the other squads -- a higher degree of specialization and focus.

                Al notes something about the Sunderer and proximity. A Sunderer is seen as a very high value target and it gives away the position of troops. Thus my general rule of thumb -- keep Sunderers back and away from the front line. Exceptions to this exist such as is seen in the video above, when the front line is already distant from the target (when the tanks and Maxs were suppressing the tower from a distance). In this type of situation the Sunderer may remain very close to tanks (and the REPAIR Sunderer certainly should do so in this situation).

                Given the TSS's role as Sunderer/Transport, the TSS SL MUST absolutely ensure that the TSS squad has an appropriate amount of Sunderers on hand. Risks can be taken in light of the possibility of pulling more Sunderers, but these risks must be weighed against resource availability and so forth. A TSS squad that constantly loses its Sunderers undermines the entire platoons operational capability.

                Al's point about adding Harassers to the TSS squad has merit. Keeping in mind that the TSS SL should have enough sense to allocate a minimum of TWO troops to each Sunderer, even if the TSS squad is tasked with manning 3 Sunderers that still leaves half a squad, six troops, for flexible deployment.

                I look forward to further testing the TSS platoon concept.
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                  I was in the exercise with my twin Raven Max (which I love, it's such a powerhouse). Personally I liked the idea of bring the firepower to bare on the enemy without the need to have a engy on my 6 the whole time. I feel the armor and MAX units are a way of clearing a battlefield for the infantry. You in essence take enemy armor and aircraft out of the picture and dealt a health blow to the enemy infantry as well.

                  The focused fire went very well with Al calling out the targets, the only change I would make to that would be for the SL to q-spot the target and only the SL q-spot. Range finding would be a nice addition in this game so that the the higher valued target would be the ones closer to the Sundy, infantry, or max grouping as SL decides. Placing a personal way point from 1st person view would go a long way towards that goal...........but then I'm dreaming.

                  The Harrasser sub-squad is an excellent idea in that Harrassers can be though of as a mobile 2-person MAX, but it is far more complicated to have 2 people doing something without those same 2 people being very good at their specialties. In my thread about the Harrasser I pointed out that a good gunner is essential. I have changed my view to a "good gunner is mandatory". Without a good gunner the Harrasser dies too quickly to be effective, then you have the cool down sequence. Ideally the gunner/driver should be of proficient skill to be able to switch roles so when one is on cool down the other person can pull a Harrasser and get back in the fight. I have done this with several people and accomplished a great deal of damage to the enemy.
                  Practicing in VR is a great way for Harrasser teams to hone their skills.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                    Thanks for the feedback Rage and others.

                    Rage raises a good point about the issue of skillful harasser teams. His point further emphasis the need for platoon and squad leaders to consider the issue of competency when considering tactical choices.

                    I really liked the way Rage highlighted the strategic advantage of eliminating enemy assets, depleting resources, and inflicting secondary damage that aides in the kill ("wounding the enemy").

                    Some other thoughts:

                    This TSS/Armour/Infantry specialization is not the only or best structure. It leaves little room for TG's pilots and would benefit from CAS support from a second platoon or squad.
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                      Lots of great discussion going on here.

                      I must say I've seen this tried once before and I finished with strong misgivings. Let us start with the simple problem that Sunderers only have room for 12 people, and cannot hold a dedicated pilot in addition, let alone gunner and possible, extra soldiers for protection. This necessitates the need for more Sunderers than usual. The obvious way to deal with this is to no longer run squad-designated Sunderers and simply have everyone "pile in". Unfortunately, this creates new dilemmas:

                      -First, you'd think loading up would be faster when it doesn't matter which Sunderer you use, but you actually end up with slightly too many heading for the same Sundy then, once it fills, you have to wait for players to run to the next one.
                      -Second, once you reach your destination and disembark, all of the squads are spread out and less effective. Thus, the SLs have to take a moment to gather their soldiers before attempting any objectives, particularly if certain roles have been separated, all while under enemy fire.
                      -Third, splitting up the platoon to hit multiple bases will not work, as the squads would be all over the place.

                      I think it much easier, safer, efficient and effective to individually prepare each squad to move out after securing a base, than it is to attempt the same organisation once you reach the enemy.


                      With that said, I've been pondering how to minimise the issues of wasted seats and squad separation. Also, how would it scale for multi-platoon operations, where the TSS should shine? Perhaps a per-squad perspective is the wrong way to look at it. Much as Emale started with 2 infantry squads, what if the general rule were 3 designated Sunderers tied to 2 specific squads?

                      At this level, each Sunderer would be able to have a dedicated pilot and gunner, with 6 spare slots, which I'll come back to. If we had a platoon of infantry, there would need to be 6 Sunderers. They would group up in 3s, and as long as your squad aimed for the right group, it wouldn't matter which you jumped in. You would then tailor tactical and strategic objectives for the pair of squads, instead of individually.


                      Coming back to those extra slots, I agree with Starstriker. Given the slower nature of protecting spawn points, you can maximise the squad's effectiveness by giving them an additional role. Personally, I would lean towards dedicated anti-air as, so far, it's something our squads only do spontaneously when things get really bad. It's ideal for sitting far behind the front line and provides anti-air cover for the Sunderers without having to rely on an infantry squad swapping their role.

                      IMO, a good 6 man team would be: 3 AA MAXs, 2 Engineers, 1 HA with Hawk/Annihilator. All 6 Sunderer turrets, if stationary, would also be active, which could include 2 anti-air. Two of the gunners could be medic, the rest Engineer and all should be prepared to jump out for revives or repairs. This also scales well as a platoon of infantry would be supported by 2 half-AA squads.


                      Originally posted by BigGaayAl View Post
                      I'm nhoping now that perhaps we will evolve to a mindset of switching squads when we want to do something different, as opposed mixing everything up as we've been generally doing. I think this will enable much more advanced tactics in every squad, in every role, and you can still do whatever you want basically. You just have to switch to the right squad, or start one wiht the specialization you want.

                      Caveat: one problem I see is when platoon leaders don't respect the specialization of the squad. Sometimes I will spend hours getting a specialized squad running, and then when it is finally working a PL asks me to deploy to redeploy my e.g. armor squad to the warpgate for a gal drop..... I will respect the order, but I will also quit squadleading then whilst quietly smashing my keyboard on my head :D.
                      Since having that experience I've taken to always respect the specialization throughout the evening. I adapt my PL choices to the tools my SL's offer me. I would propose others try to do this as well as much as possible.
                      You know I'd love to see that approach.

                      I havn't had many issues with Air squads on that front. I suspect mainly because of the thread explaining what strategic choices help the flyboys as well as PLs that don't seem to mind if we do our own thing in order to cover multiple territories. It helps that Air can quickly respond to enemy forces, whereas armor has more of a problem relocating once a territory is decided.

                      Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                      I suspect that such things as highly specialized squads (MAX, Armour, Air) are best in the hands of SLs that have experience in running highly specialized squads. Yet on one more hand, now is the time to learn.
                      Haha, run out of hands? :row__572: But I agree, we need to see more people leading dedicated squads so that we see them in our platoons more regularly. Let alone the benefits of different styles and discussion of tactics.

                      Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                      This TSS/Armour/Infantry specialization is not the only or best structure. It leaves little room for TG's pilots and would benefit from CAS support from a second platoon or squad.
                      Indeed, there are so many dedicated roles and structures to consider if we had the population. I have taken to running my Air squads in their own platoon as much as possible in any case, as we do not need to hear the PL / ground SL chatter. My ideal Air platoon would fill every squad too (only 24 to 26 people).



                      |TG-Irr| MrJengles - You know you want to say it out loud.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                        This is a great discussion. I fear that if I were to vouch for a more direct combat role Sunderer I would divert the subject away from Emale's Platoon Theory. I'll make a thread vouching for the Sunderer's many roles.

                        Here, though, for a dedicated specialized platoon, I like the concept for a 'Support Role' squad. Its a new take on the common Mechanized Infantry squad which is often hindered by its reliance on its own Sunderer which down play's it's direct effectiveness in objectives as it needs to worry about the Sunderer as well as the Objective.

                        The ability to stay together might be an issue without four Sunderers though. Which is why I'd suggest that you use the Sunderers for movements to staging ground and not into direct combat.

                        (@ Mr. Jengles I agree about splitting the air platoon up and approve!)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                          Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                          This is a great discussion. I fear that if I were to vouch for a more direct combat role Sunderer I would divert the subject away from Emale's Platoon Theory. I'll make a thread vouching for the Sunderer's many roles.

                          Here, though, for a dedicated specialized platoon, I like the concept for a 'Support Role' squad. Its a new take on the common Mechanized Infantry squad which is often hindered by its reliance on its own Sunderer which down play's it's direct effectiveness in objectives as it needs to worry about the Sunderer as well as the Objective.

                          The ability to stay together might be an issue without four Sunderers though. Which is why I'd suggest that you use the Sunderers for movements to staging ground and not into direct combat.

                          (@ Mr. Jengles I agree about splitting the air platoon up and approve!)
                          Please continue the discussion of Sunderer's in an assault role here! I see no reason why the SST squad cannot provide both and still maintain the priority services of transportation, ammo, and repair. As noted above, the SSL squad has up to six spare individuals. Some or all of these could be tasked with an assault Sunderer.

                          This raises the risk that the SST would run out of available Sunderers, but we cannot eliminate all risks.

                          In a perfect world the SST would specialize in all possible uses of the Sunderer.
                          sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                            Originally posted by starstriker1 View Post
                            Personally, I was finding being the transport squad to be pretty boring, but that could have been my mood at the time.

                            There might be some utility in having the transport squad manage a second dedicated role in addition to transportation, given that transportation is a sporadic role most of the time. Since they'll likely be hanging back protecting the spawn point anyways, long-range fire support might be an option.
                            Thank you for the feedback. This is very important to know. A PL needs to combine the demands of the virtual battlefield with the real-life consideration of troop moral.

                            I think we now have a more flexible TSS concept so TSS squad members will have multiple tasks, roles, and vehicles as options.

                            MrJengles also raises good points which I will address tomorrow.

                            Something else to think about:

                            These new strategies take time to learn, trial, and develop proficiency. My second attempt at the TSS deployment strategy did not go so smoothly. It reminded me of the training aspect to what we do. Drill, drill, drill, drill. It is easy to see why drills are the daily grind of every military.

                            I need to practice how to communicate and put into operation the TSS/Armour/Infantry platoon in a variety of settings. It is simply awesome having people like Wyattmann, DaddyofThree, and other dedicated TGers around as advisers.

                            Tonight I returned to an old habit -- the use of the TS command channel for exec advisors.

                            SLs -- be sure to log onto TS when in-game so you can play a role in the command advisory. Your PL needs you in that private command TS channel.

                            And please remember to give your PL a COPY upon receipt of an order.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Squad Specialization in Platoons: The Transportation Unit

                              @ Jengles.

                              *
                              The night we tried it I found that my infantry was easier and faster to get into the sundys.
                              Secondly when we had a full squad I asked for two sunderers to transport us. As long as they pick up and drop you off together I don't see the problem with getting split up at all.
                              Third having a sundy drop you right in the battle, instead of in a good sunderer deploy position is something not normally done. I think it can have a good breaching effect.

                              *
                              One thing to consider is that we don't need necessarily so many infantry squads. I think a platoon can run fine with only one or two. That also removes many of the problems you cited.

                              *
                              About adding anti-air. This is surely something that could work well. However, since the last patch I feel AA maxes are quite ineffective, specifically against dalton liberators now (also due to very common no damage bugs). Therefore even a bunch of AA maxes is not really going to keep your armor safe. Only the skyguard can do that now imo. Skyguards could be in the armor squad, but also in the TSS squad.

                              I feel it would be more fun for the armor squad to only do tanks and lightnings that are anti-infantry and anti tank. Thus allowing for easier operation. Skyguards in TSS or harassers, both would seem very useful to me.

                              *
                              Splitting up platoons to attack multiple bases would indeed be harder. But then that is something I feel should almost never be done. I still see a lot of it, especially with new PL's. The only time that should be done imo is to cap abandoned or near abandoned hexes, in which case you might as well just send one or two guys instead of a whole squad. Otherwise you run the risk of the enemy reinforcing and then the whole platoon gets in disarray. So diminishing our ability to split up would actually improve our effectiveness considerably I expect.

                              *
                              I was looking for you to experiment with various forms of a separate air platoon. I have become convinced that that would be most effective. Key here is that platoon leaders must imo cert into the ability to place attack/defend markers on the map. It is the ONLY effective way to communicate exact positions across platoons quickly. Colored smoke doesn't cut it unless you are within spitting distance of each other. And it certainly does not work for designating targets to an air platoon. One thing I would really like to try is say:
                              Alpha: all reavers
                              Bravo : One lib with dedicater reaver or two
                              Charlie : same
                              Delta : same or e.g. battle galaxy solo.

                              This would give an amazing benefit imo for comms. All libs can use squad chat freely, the supporting reaver is not bothered because he is always near and the info is useful to him.
                              The galaxy gunners can also use squad chat as a form of vehicle chat.
                              All spotting can go on platoon chat if the friendlies are in support range.

                              Running a lib in a large squad is a pain as you cannot communicate effectively at speed without overloading comms. Meanwhile the Alpha reaver squad can be small or big, and has space to fluctuate in size throughout the evening without affecting comms too much. Also the reavers will have an easier time coordinating imo, as they are quite different in how and where they move compared to a lib or gal.

                              As said, I need you to try this properly, leading alpha or Pl.


                              ----
                              @ All

                              I'd like to add: do not underestimate how much easier it is to run infantry without having to worry about your sunderer. Soo many times they get taken out easily by the enemy, while you do often have one or two infantry defending them that could be right with you. On the night we are discussing here, Wyatt asked me to split up my squad at some point. Something I don't often do. But again I found it much easier to do because I had so much less to worry about. I think if we play like this, adding fire-team tactics will become quite a bit more do-able, something I know many in TG would enjoy, as it enable more classic quick infantry tactics we see in other games. I encourage the infantry lovers out there to look for someone to do a TSS squad, try this pure infantry style. I'd rather have and run twelve guys I can count on, then 24 who are all over the place. Post findings here plz!

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