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How it works: Command Levels/Structure

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  • [GUIDE] How it works: Command Levels/Structure

    Command *Structure:

    In my own words, there is three different ways for a troop leader of any sort to lead. These are inward, outward, and indirect.*


    Indirect style of leading is the type that a senior officer is usually using. His decisions as a leader ultimately direct his force in the big picture. He makes decisions that his subordinates will execute using only his minor guidance. He sets an objective, and they complete the task, without his constant control and micromanagement.


    Outward style leadership is only a very little bit different. With this style, a leader has one foot in the big picture and one foot in his elements micro photo. He is making decisions that reach the goal of putting his units in the right position to complete the big picture. An example of this would be a squad leader.


    Inward style leadership is the exact opposite of indirect. An inward style leader is always given a specific task, always from someone who is using an outward style of leadership. And example of this would be the task of setting up a blocking point at this location with these guys. All the team leader has to do is micromanage his specific element to best do the job. He doesn't have to decide where to place the BP, or who to bring... He just needs to make sure that the task is completed to the finest details.

    What does this mean to us?

    Everyone knows the teamleader within the command structure. He is the base level leadership role, and his guidance is what drives the entire ground force to success. In-game team leaders are often given the role of outward planning commanders of a small element. These teams usually consist of plenty of assets and are in fact rather self sustaining.*They are usually given a general task and the leader must both make tactical decisions and control his men with finite detail.


    Why is this 'inaccurate'?


    Their job description does not include outward style leadership. And moreover, the team leader should only be in charge of a small core group. Assets are simply attachments that control themselves and are implemented using the squad leaders guidance.


    What do I mean by this?


    Let me setup a real life example that could be easily and accurately recreated in game.


    The element we are working with is an infantry platoon, consisting of three squads. The platoon leader in this example would be the one setting the indirect style of leadership. He will tell his squad leaders what they are tasked with, such as one squad clearing a set of buildings while another squad supports them, and the last squad sets up blocking positions to isolate and contain the area. He will usually only go into enough detail so the squad leader knows his sector to cover or which buildings he is tasked to clear.


    The squad leaders would then use the outward style of leadership. He is constantly deciding how to maneuver and place his two teams in order to best complete his task. His job involves knowing the capabilities of his teams and telling them specific instructions like "set up right HERE, and cover this road."*


    The team leader would be using the inward style of leadership. He already knows where he is to sit, and where he is to watch. All he needs to do is put his saw gunner where he can cover the best avenue of approach and place his other elements in security or support. In real life, the team leader micromanages so much he often picks his men up by the belt and drags / turns him in his place, then using reference points or his laser to mark that individual sector of fire.*


    Final points:


    Ultimately, what this all comes down to is how the mission maker allocates groups and how the ground force commander implements them. In order to best replicate chain of command, the mission maker needs to make sure there is enough leadership roles to fill out all three leadership styles. What I am noticing a lot of is roles being stacked. A teamleader is given the role of both the squad leader and a team leader, often causing a lack of detail setup and mistakes such as holes in security.


    The ground force commander also needs to know how he can lead without "stepping on his subordinates hands". Very often, the commander uses an outward leadership style. He tries to go into too much detail and is removing his squad leaders role. Theoretically this shouldn't be a problem... But it is. There is only one commander, and he cannot be with all three of his squads at once. If he takes away the squad leaders ability to lead, he is allowing room for his misjudgment of intel such as the map or mission brief and his inability to have eyes-on target to lead his element astray. He may tell his squad leader to setup at this position on the map, but when his squad arrives there is a bundle of trees that limit their ability to do their job. There is a reason his squad leader travels with his men and sets them in position with his own two eyes, instead of by using a marker on the map.


    Attachments:


    By attachments I mean any player who is not one of the three core types of men in a team. This is a riflemen, grenadier, or automatic riflemen. Attachments in game are often pre-placed within the squads, often resulting in these important assets blending in with regular infantry guys. In order to solve this, the mission makers should instead create a HQ squad with all attachments inside, such as AT, Engineer, Snipers, Vehicle recovery teams, and so on. This will force the commander to decide where he can best place his assets to serve the mission, and also this will help stop the assets from blending in.


    Ultimately everything I've discussed here is just a solid set of suggestions for the community. I don't want anyone to think that I am yelling at how people create missions or command troops, because I'm not. This is all what my commander likes to call the "sexy stuff". It all looks good already, but how can we make it look better? All of these suggestions are based on careful observation and comparison. I wouldn't bring up anything that I didn't think would help the community!


    I want this thread to be used for discussion as well as questions.*

    Thank you for reading all this, Butler.

    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

    Hey Butlers,

    great post bro. Im gonna add my two cents here (as usual :) )


    I wont be as elaborate as you and ill try to make it as short as possible. You are absolutely right for the command structure and the role of each leader. You are also bang on that its sometime a design problem by the mission designers. The structure is also responsible for most comms problems in-game. An accurate picture of the comms network should be depicted prior to major events (a chart of some sort). But it also depend on one big element, how many player you got and how far they are willing to go.

    Exemple: I was commanding episode 2 of the greeks. It was my first command and i didnt really know what to expect so i decided to put my money on planning, and let the leaders lead their team the way they want. But as soon as i joined the game, my two big problems became comms, and lack of players. I just couldnt fill all the necessary spot available for my plan to work. So i had to compromise of many factors, which ended up for some players to be very boring and frustrating.

    Im a mission designer (or at least i try to be :) ) and when i think about my player groups, it would be easy to make a HQ section or something similar, but then the commander would probably encounter problem like : no enough player (people tend to choose more exciting stuff before driving a fuel truck for 3 hours and its normal) and comms problem with vanilla arma 3. Because when you attached them they are still connected to the HQ team by radio. So this become a game "structural" problems.


    I would also like to add that 2 or more layer of command is too much for most mission. You need A LOT of players too justified more than 2. In my opinion, only major events with 40+ players should have combined arms assets (im talking about the entire kaboom here, tanks, attack choopers, infantry and planes) simply because it is VERY HARD to coordinate when you are in command. And of course, that kind of big mission need to be very carefully planned and balanced by the mission designer, espcially the Comms!

    my two [email protected]

    -Rat
    sigpic


    Dont be shy, add me on Steam by clicking the icon below.



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    • #3
      Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

      You bring up awesome points rat, especially when it comes to how we can realistically apply this considering things like lack of players. Unfortunately enough, its entirely too true. The game mechanics limit our abilities. Lately, I've been trying fairly hard to find work-arounds for most of this, and have come up with a few... But I honestly think that workarounds aren't the answer.

      Your point about how our games are too small for multiple command structures is, in my opinion, a bit off. Although I do agree with what you are saying, I also think that it can very simply be achieved still. For instance, on ep.3 of the greeks, I was in charge of a group of guys about the size of a squad. A few of these guys had been given roles that could have easily doubled as team leader, such as a demo man. If it were that I was treated as a squad leader and had two team leaders below me, as opposed to just eight or so grunts, I am confident that several mistakes could have been avoided through the mission.

      That being said, I think that this would also give the opportunity for new leaders to come about. As a growing community, I think the need always arises for fresh faces to step up to the plate, and there is nowhere better to start then at the team leader level. Essentially you are adding opportunities for players to try their hand at leadership.

      But you do make valid points, and I definitely will take them into consideration from now on.

      I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

        Great discussion. There is a need for more leaders that understand these problems. It's no good being a squad leader when 2 out of your 3 fire team leaders are not, as you say, leading "inward". Or know that their movements and positioning is to support the other 2 teams according to the SL and not go shoot more bad guys over there because no one else is yet. Putting one foot in front of the other, each team in position, is so easy to say. Much harder to do until you have a leadership that understands exactly what you've been saying, and understand it together.

        I do agree with Rat that there are compromises with mission set ups based on player size and so forth. Sometimes, we add a little much on to our squad leader when that role also acts as a mission commander over some air and armoured supports. However, compromises have to be made when your making a 20 player mission and sometimes that 3rd level of leadership is going to get the boot.

        Just like in the Canadian version squads as we have sections (correct me if I'm wrong Rat). We have a section leader and he leads a fire team. There is a second fire team in the section. He does a double duty and it's not easy. Reporting to a platoon leader, directing a fire team leader and all three of your own fire team really adds a level of comms problems. However, this structure is well suited for smaller scale games. It's easier as a starting place to get our acts together because there is one less level for everyone to understand. Think of the new people coming into the community. The awesome new blood we have been attracting, just getting their bearings with us. Pretty cool to see where this is going.

        I bet it won't be too long and we will be upgrading the mission size with the talent of the players we've been building on. These games the last month have been much more the kind of Arma I came here looking for. So, I have every inclination that you will see this third level of leadership coming back pretty soon.
        |TG-189th| Unkl
        ArmA 3 Game Officer
        Dean of Tactical Gamer University
        189th Infantry Brigade Member
        SUBMIT A RIBBON NOMINATION OR CONTACT AN ARMA ADMIN
        "We quickly advance in the opposite direction and take cover in a house on the SW side of town." - BadStache

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        • #5
          Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

          I thought I heard my name?

          Sorry, must have been the wind.

          Excellent write up Butler, excellent additions Rat. I have some points to make, but am not afforded the luxury of time at the moment. I will try to circle back soon.

          Let's keep this discussion going!

          Current ARMA Development Project: No Current Project

          "An infantryman needs a leader to be the standard against which he can judge all soldiers."

          Friend of |TG| Chief

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          • #6
            Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

            I had no idea that sections worked like that with our friends up north. In my mind it really adds a new dimension in how command structure and leadership can be organized. I really think that there is a ton of different ways to skin the cat, so to speak.

            Honestly what I would love to see is a set of missions in which each one is using a different type of command structure. It would be interesting to actually see how each type weighs in at stress levels on individuals and leaders as well as productivity and efficiency. Maybe an event I can work on for an upcoming weekend night?

            Either way, this has sort of opened the bag for me in different ways of looking at this thing. I love when that happens. Keep it coming folks!

            I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

              .
              Last edited by hedgehog; 10-04-2013, 12:51 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                B i dont know but theres a lot of other missions played here beyond event missions. Perhaps a little duscussion on the issue is a good thing and not an attack on slot screen choices or coms channels available.
                |TG-189th| Unkl
                ArmA 3 Game Officer
                Dean of Tactical Gamer University
                189th Infantry Brigade Member
                SUBMIT A RIBBON NOMINATION OR CONTACT AN ARMA ADMIN
                "We quickly advance in the opposite direction and take cover in a house on the SW side of town." - BadStache

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                  B, I want you to know that I wasn't criticizing your missions in any way, and its my fault if It came across as this.

                  I enjoy your missions very thoroughly, and actually like the way they are organized and I love the detail that you put into them. The reason I brought up your mission was as an example of a situation, as opposed to an example of poor team organization and management. I agree with you whole heartily that I could have organized my squad and made the changes required to better conduct the mission on my level. I had thought about it prior to making this thread, and failed to recognize in text my faults. I apologize if it seemed that I was making an attack at your mission creation style, because I am not. I am a firm believer in that every mission designer needs to have his own way of doing things that works for him and for the specific mission he is designing.

                  As far as episode 2, I have no say in how that was being organized and run. I played my part on the FIA and the organization worked perfectly for the specific role the team played in the big picture. I thought it was fantastic, and it only goes to prove that the points I make in this original thread will and cannot apply to every mission or situation, but instead is to be used as a suggested guideline for mission makers when thinking about command structure design.

                  Thanks, Butler.

                  I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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                  • #10
                    Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                    Jesus B.... I dont think anyone in here is pointed fingers at you. I think we were having a good discussion and I gave an example of what i encountered and tried to explain what were my challenges... thats all. I very humbly gave a shot a commanding a mission for the first time, i think i did an okay job at best but never pretended to be THE GUY. Next time you can command your own missions for your own entertainment, ill just stay out of it.

                    -Rat
                    sigpic


                    Dont be shy, add me on Steam by clicking the icon below.



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                    • #11
                      Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                      There is a reason that I prefer to be a nameless, faceless Pvt. Sadsack. This is all above my pay grade, as it was for the 24 years I spent in the U.S. Navy. I just like to play the game, do my best in my assignment and let those that like the leadership role to lead. Sometimes games can be over thought and become not fun, after all it is just a few guys getting together to have fun, not enlisting in the military. At ease guys.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                        I laughed pretty hard at Pvt. Sadsack...

                        Anyway, although I agree that overthinking is a bad thing, I also don't think we have quite hit that point here.

                        As the great dimitrius once put it, "this isn't a game." (There's your plug dimi) So, thinking about things like this will not only help some people understand how things work, I also think that the community being aware of concepts such as these will improve gameplay over time. (Not that it really needs improvement, as I've said before.)

                        And I am also guilty of applying things I use at work in real life to tactical gamer, and this thread is the product of that...

                        But I think my long winded posts have dominated this thread too much, I'm going to let everyone else have the podium.

                        I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How it works: Command Levels/Structure

                          Excellent topic and great direction of posts. I'm reading this quietly, thinking out loud. ;)

                          TGU Instructor TG Pathfinder

                          Former TGU Dean Former ARMA Admin Former Irregulars Officer

                          "Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment." - Dag Hammarskjold

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