CALLSIGN ASSIGNMENT 101
By: Lord Fuzzywiggles
I. INTRODUCTIONThere are many different ideologies as to how to assign callsigns, who assigns them, how far down to assign callsigns, and what format they should follow -- the following document will give a generic overview of what I use and what works for me. I cannot promise this is what the military uses, nor what law enforcement agencies use, but it is what works for me and since OPSEC is a non-issue TVT notwithstanding this format should allow a degree of uniformity and, in my opinion, become an integral part of the TG ArmA SOP.
II. TEAM COMPOSITION
To first understand the idea behind this format, you must understand the basic composition of the standard United States Army unit(s) from, at the very least, the Company level downward.
A COMPANY consists of THREE TO FOUR PLATOONS.
PLATOONS consist of THREE TO FOUR SQUADS.
SQUADS consist of TWO TO FOUR FIRETEAMS.
FIRETEAMS consist of TWO BUDDY TEAMS.
For ArmA's purposes, a light (non-mechanised) infantry SQUAD is two fireteams (8 soldiers) plus a Squad Leader (SL). What this means is the standard light infantry platoon is three squads of two fireteams (or 6 fireteams) which is, in total, 27 soldiers (24 FT members + 3 SL).
Good luck keeping track of 27 people individually!
The idea is to explain exactly who you are and where you are assigned through an alphanumeric callsign. The format for this is very simple to understand and is rather intuitive in practice.
Format for your callsign goes from the "top down".
For the purposes of ArmA 2 and TG, where missions rarely exceed the Platoon level, your "full-form" callsign will begin with what platoon you are in, numerically. For most, if not all, missions, this number is "1".
In the platoon, we know it will divide into three squads at minimum from the overview section, right? Where you are in the platoon decides what number you have. A member of the first squad in the platoon is assigned 1. A member of the second squad is assigned 2, and so on. Assuming you are in the second squad, your callsign so far is "1-2"
Now, as a member of the second squad, first platoon, you are assigned a fireteam. Let's say you are second squad's first fireteam's designated marksman. Since a squad has up to 4 fireteams, and we know that a fireteam is two 2-man groups, you get to add a letter to designate what FT and what position you are in (1-4 to denote your place in the fireteam). For a SDM, I'd assign you #3. So your callsign is now:
1-2-3A Alternatively...1-2-A 3
If a standard fireteam is "R, AR, GR, R", I always assign the numbers in the following order unless "R" is an ammo-bearer or similarly complementary unit - 1, 2, 4, 3. In that case, 2 and 4 are always buddies, and 1 and 3 are always buddies.
Pretty simple, right?
IV. ABBREVIATED CALLSIGNSObviously every time you get on the radio, you don't want to have to say "ROUGHNECK WUN TOO THREE ALPHA to ROUGHNECK WUN WUN WUN ALPHA, MESSAGE. OVER."
It only makes sense that you should abbreviate to the lowest necessary alphanumeric portion of your callsign so everyone you are speaking with knows who you are and who you are attached to.
- BUDDY-TO-BUDDY: Generally local chat, no callsign necessary. It is encouraged to use players' names when speaking one-on-one locally.
- BUDDY-TO-FT: Just use your FT position and FT, so "Bravo 1" if you are Bravo FTL and so on.
Example traffic "Alpha 2, SET." "3A, 1A, I've got movement in my sector."
- FTL-TO-SL: Your FT and unit number, SL's squad (if necessary) and 6, since 6 is the CO for a unit.
"1A to Roughneck 1-6." "Bravo 1 to 6."
- SL-to-PL: Platoon if necessary, otherwise your squad number and 6.
"Roughneck 1-6 to Roughneck 5 (XO)." "Roughneck 2-6 to Roughneck 6."
The reverse applies downward. Only give as much information as necessary to appropriately identify yourself to higher-ranking units. As a SL or PL, it's impossible for me to remember who is assigned where, so having your callsign properly called on the radio is invaluable.
Furthermore, when you need a status report, all units can report in numerical order like they are supposed to, instead of stepping all over each other on the radio. Cha-ching! Double whammy.
V. CALLSIGNS THAT STAY THE SAME
For the purposes of the format that I use, there are a number of callsign numbers that do not change under any circumstances. They are as follows:
Platoon Lead -- (c/s) 7
Commanding Officer (CO) - (c/s) 6
Executive Officer (XO) - (c/s) 5
Now, if we were operating at a multi-platoon level, the Platoon lead's actual callsign would become "(c/s) 1-6 or 2-6" to denote they are the leader (6) of the first platoon (1). Their superior officer would be "(c/s) 6" which means Squads would then have to be referred to as "Roughneck 1-1-6" or "1-3-6" but since we don't deal with that many players, everything above here works just fine.
VI. BUT WHAT IF MY 6 GOES DOWN?
Don't panic. It's a pretty simple process. If you can do maths, you can figure out what happens.
The squad is as follows:
1-2-A 1 (w/ FT)
1-2-B 1 (w/ FT)
1-2-C 1 (w/ FT)
Let's say you're 1-2-A 1, FT1's lead, and your SL takes a nasty 7.62 to the face and you retrieve his radio. Your traffic will be simple. Give your full-form c/s to Platoon Lead, and say you are your squad's new 6.
"Roughneck 1-6, THIS IS Roughneck 1-2-A 1. Roughneck 1-2-6 is down. I am Roughneck 1-2's new 6. BREAK. ACE report to follow. Over."
"Roughneck 2-6, THIS IS Roughneck 1-2-B2. Roughneck 1-2-B1 is down. I am taking command of Bravo Element."
If there's something you don't understand, or something I can explain in more detail, please do not hesitate to post here and I will attempt to clarify it for you!
Thanks for reading!