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  • Questions for Experienced Commanders

    Alright, I just commanded my first mission with a relatively large crowd (16-17+ a couple JIPS) and we did alright. I know I wasn't up to par in regards to my Radio SOPs or my "Command Presence" but the message got across and we succeeded with relatively few casualties. (Massive thanks to [RIP] BabylonCome for assistance)

    I know I could have run things more smoothly if I had a reference in front of me. This got me wondering, what do you experienced Commanders and RTO's normally have on paper in front of you?

    Squad members?
    Squad assets?
    Callsigns?
    Radio SOPs?
    Maps or Gridrefs?
    Nothing at all?

    Please, enlighten me so that I may improve, and thus send fewer TG soldiers to their untimely death. :)

  • #2
    Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

    Got two notepads saturated with scribbles up in my closet right now - don't have the heart to throw them out!

    order of battle, including all callsigns and who leads them, plus assets attached to callsigns

    Also, every member in the command element, as well as their job.

    Platoon Net - CHannel 5

    12 - HQ, Channel 4
    |
    ---- Medic: Joe Blow
    ---- 240 gunner: Jane Blow
    ---- 240 a gunner: Mike Blow
    12'a - Falcon, Channel 1
    12'b - Piespy, Channel 2
    12'c - Azzwort, channel 3
    12'd (Weapons) - Jack, channel 4

    A big mistake noobies make is to either dont assign com channels or to say "pick whatever you want." Why? A commander needs a means by which to contact a callsign, to ensure brevity and to avoid crosstalking. Additionally, various callsigns need a reliable means by which to call eachother if the platoon net is not being monitored.

    I only write out my orders/gridrefs etc if its a multi-phase operation with no fragos intended.

    Radio SOPs can be learned by memory from:

    http://kezei.net/arma2/

    Some general tips about leading/organizing c2 here:

    http://www.krauselabs.net/dump/KrauseGuide.htm

    Also see:

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...7-8/index.html
    Last edited by tyrspawn; 08-13-2010, 01:22 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

      Dredge's Commanding Rule Of Thumb # 15:

      If your plan to accomplish the mission also requires you to use notepads, calculators, or anything between; your plan is too complicated and will fall apart after you take contact.

      That is the worst mistake I have seen made. Commanders make intricate plans for a mission that require every little thing to be accomplished in order for the overall plan to succeed. The best thing you can do is "Keep It Simple Stupid" (K.I.S.S). Allow yourself room for failure. This will let you adjust plans on the fly and continue the mission. If you have too many little things for people to do, you have effectively sealed your fate by making it harder to change tactics on the fly than it should be.

      [unit][squadl][command2]

      KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

        +1 Dredge.

        A very good observation by a competent commander "A battle plan will never survive the first contact with the enemy"

        When you brief, you explain your "intention" not give a shopping list to be completed in order with no deviation.

        Stuff will break, people will die, orders will be ignored. This is the value in most worldwide military teaching soldiers to be autonomous down to a single infintryman. If they understand the intend, and have the skills they will deliver.

        Beyond that here are some general principles I stick too:

        It is perfectly acceptable as CO to implement the strategy whilst you make use of others to implement the tactical layers, command elements exist for exactly this reason. Nothing is more boring that a CO who is telling you how many rounds to pack and asking if you have clean knickers on.

        Think of it this way. an architect has an intricate knowledge of the layout, structure and composition of a building but you would not find her laying the bricks or wiring the place together.

        Be an architect and choose good people who can deliver the tasks you require then LEAVE THEM TO DO THE JOB.

        I would advise a constant mental check-list that performs the following loop by priority.

        Preserve life.
        Complete objectives.
        Make it fun.

        Don't deviate from Alpha, Bravo, Charlie call signs unless you absolutely must, most players understand them, they are phonetic and very easy to understand and players can quickly read what group they are in by pressing a single button.

        As CO forget fire-teams, they are a tool for the squad lead to make use of.

        6 digits gridrefs are suitable in almost all circumstances apart from air or mortar use.

        Make sure you have at least 1 SL that you know can operate at or above your level.

        If you have spare capacity a dedicated radioman can be extremely useful, find a competent one who understands the following:

        Phonetics
        8 dig gridref
        Use of SR and LR radio including power frequencies.
        Is happy not to shoot a single bullet all game.

        As above, ensure when possible you have a dedicated company medic and the ability to establish a MASH that all units are familiar with, this is especially important when you have no respawn.

        Stay away from snipers and CAS unless you really need them, they make for boring disjointed missions that only a select few players (the snipers and pilots) will draw enjoyment from.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

          OH, don't micro manage your squads. Give them a direction to walk in and say go. Don't give them a direction, formation, spacing requirements, and 15 RP markers. Your squad leaders know what they are doing, trust them.

          When you micromanage every little detail you do the following:

          1. Stress yourself out of the little things that you shouldn't even be worrying about to begin with.

          B. Piss off your squad leaders because you basically made them ineffective.

          9. Make it not fun to be a squad leader, leading to them not doing it anymore

          W. Make it not fun for everyone else

          [unit][squadl][command2]

          KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

            Your squad leaders know what they are doing, trust them.
            I take offence to that remark! While squad leading i have never quiet fully known whats going on!
            Good day sir!
            Nihility

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

              Okay so - I had another post on commanding, I don't know if you read it, but I am feeling lazy today so I want to write up some mock commanding scenarios for everyone that might help. I will make up some battle situations, pick a point during it, and tell you *exactly* what im thinking/worrying about/tracking and what I am ignoring.

              This is the #1 error of *ALL* new commanders and a decent amount of seasoned ones. You cannot risk going down the rabbit hole; don't micromanage or worry about too much info at once. Your job is the ENTIRE battle, SL's and your 2IC handle the piddly crap for you.

              Scenario #1 - Town Assault

              Scenario: I have 3 squads, alpha,bravo,charlie. And delta as weapons. Our mission is to take the town of bunghole. We are currently moving in on the town of bunghole.

              My orders would have been: Delta takes overwatch to the west, Alpha attacks from the west with Delta in support, Bravo assaults from north/northwest, Charlie provides southern overwatch to thwart any possible flanking counter assault.

              What I *AM* worrying about and keeping track of mentally:
              1. Listen for my contact reports and get a general idea of the enemy concentration in the town, and if its anywhere specific
              2. What is the current level of engagement? Do I need to call a retreat? Should I shift the weapons detachment? Do I need to move charlie in to assist?

              What I am *NOT* thinking about (this is what commanders tend to micro-manage):
              1. Is alpha assaulting the town from the right direction? Are they using cover?
              2. How many casualties or wounded men do my squads have?
              3. Are bravo and alpha moving in together? Are they tracking each other and covering each other?
              4. What can the weapons detachment see from their position? Is it good?
              5. Why haven't my squads reported anything yet?

              Now, lets run through why those things are REALLY REALLY not your problem as a commander:
              1. Trust your squad leads. Alpha knows what he's doing, let him do what he thinks is best.
              2. Your squads will report in when they get a chance or if they are getting mowed down, or scream for a medic if they need it. Its not your problem.
              3. Trust your squad leads. They know what he's doing, let him do what he thinks is best. With a west/northwest joint assault with bravo/alpha, YOU already positioned them to assist each other. It's their job to make that work.
              4. Not your problem. The machinegunners wanna shoot ****; its guaranteed they got into a place they can.
              5. My biggest pet peeve. Your SL's *WILL* send contact reports and sitreps when they can. Until they do, let them do their job.


              Scenario #2. A Forest Patrol

              Scenario: Lets say you have to do semi-far infantry movement (2k) through wooded and open areas, and there are known contacts along the way. You have 3 squads. alpha,bravo,charlie. Thats it.

              My orders for it: I would have told bravo to take point, Charlie take right and alpha take left. I would have told charlie to stagger their movements 300m behind bravo. This would create a platoon level formation looking like this:
              (go go mspaint)

              Why that format? cause it looks cool, and lets pretend I'm expecting contact front or front-right.

              What I am worrying about as we patrol:
              1. Is anyone in contact?

              Thats it. I expect everyone to follow my previous movement orders and hold formation. I can relax for now.

              The instant we hit contact, what am I thinking?:
              1. Attempting to determine the direction of the enemy
              2. Shifting a squad towards the enemy, depending on its direction. Or, ordering a hold firm and engage.

              Thats it. Much simpler than micro-managing :D

              |TG-TFP|Jaynus
              Task Force Proteus


              The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but Im just not close enough to get the job done."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                I've returned to a mass of incredibly useful information. Thank you guys, this is seriously impressive stuff.

                What becomes immediately evident are the different command styles some people have, although the general consensus for the absolute basics seems to be:

                1. Write callsigns, commanders, and weapons assets down.
                2. Give orders and let subordinates handle the little stuff.
                3. Don't have the plan set in stone.

                The main problem I ran into was "tactical-blob-syndrome". Some of you say not to worry about the formation, give everyone a direction and let them go.

                I guess the next question is: Is there a point, should things break down far enough be it due to casualties or whatnot, that command *should* start to worry about smaller stuff (ie: formation, spacing, etc), rather than just berating the SLs?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                  Originally posted by Fultron View Post
                  I guess the next question is: Is there a point, should things break down far enough be it due to casualties or whatnot, that command *should* start to worry about smaller stuff (ie: formation, spacing, etc), rather than just berating the SLs?
                  That's a good one. Also very command-style based and situational.

                  - If the mission is just going to crap, and no one is listening, I'll usually call it.
                  - If the squad leads just died and no one knows whats going on, I'll assign new squad leads randomly out of the squad (I'll try for FTL's, but no guarantee. Its usually someone I *know* can do it)
                  - If the SL just sucks/learning/new, then depending on that I'll either send my 2IC to help him out, or at least someone I know will be good at helping him out. If he is just "not there", I'll assign a new SL.

                  At least *MY* #1 rule of command is delegating. I should never have to run in and lead a squad of guys unless its no-respawn and everyone else is dead. Or if I just feel like it.

                  |TG-TFP|Jaynus
                  Task Force Proteus


                  The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but Im just not close enough to get the job done."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                    Originally posted by Fultron View Post
                    I've returned to a mass of incredibly useful information. Thank you guys, this is seriously impressive stuff.

                    What becomes immediately evident are the different command styles some people have, although the general consensus for the absolute basics seems to be:

                    1. Write callsigns, commanders, and weapons assets down.
                    2. Give orders and let subordinates handle the little stuff.
                    3. Don't have the plan set in stone.

                    The main problem I ran into was "tactical-blob-syndrome". Some of you say not to worry about the formation, give everyone a direction and let them go.

                    I guess the next question is: Is there a point, should things break down far enough be it due to casualties or whatnot, that command *should* start to worry about smaller stuff (ie: formation, spacing, etc), rather than just berating the SLs?
                    About tactical blob syndrome. You should only dictate order of march and platoon formation, not squad formations. I.e. "platoon column." Don't get too excited if your squad leaders are incapable of forming a platoon formation though. All of this stuff is in the last link I posted above - and I highly recommend you read it.

                    About micromanaging and effective c2. Give intent statements to squad leaders, if their actions are detrimental to the concept of the operation then make corrections, but micromanaging is not initially required. Some good orders are:
                    "Alpha will deploy in the treeline and act as a base of fire"
                    "Bravo will bound forward and assault the AAA position"
                    "Charlie will provide flank security and act as a reserve"

                    Thats about as specific as you need to be. Certain parameters can be added if they are critical, such as orientation. I.e. "...oriented north east"

                    Essentially it boils down to what can your squad leads do. Some are inept. Some are exceptional. Most are capable of performing basic orders. After playing for awhile you'll know the limitations of certain people. Your weakest squad leaders should act as a base of fire, while your most skilled ones should lead attacks and do other demanding tasks.
                    Last edited by tyrspawn; 08-13-2010, 04:09 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                      TRUST YOUR LEADERS

                      I cannot stress this enough: although to some extent this is harder to pull off in a public community like TG, it's imperative that you assume your subordinates know what they're doing. The more faith you put on SQLs to know how to do their job, the easier you make it for them to do that job.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                        What I normally have on paper is the names of the Squads,the names of Squad leads(sometimes FTL's also),the vehicle they have attached to them (Bradley,Humvee Etc),their radio channels they are assigned(now that we have ACRE), and also,I mark down the number of men that are in each squad,by putting the number beside the squads name.I find it's always good to know the strength of the squads.

                        I find it's best as command to give the squads tasks to do and make sure the squads have a clear understanding of what their purpose is at that time,so the Squad leads can make their calculations about how the squad should act,move and where to direct their attention.What i find makes it fun for the Squad leads is allowing them the room for creativity to come up with a solution to the tactical problem they are facing.When one task is completed,command then issue's another clear task,representing another piece of the puzzle for the Squad to carry out, to help complete the commands overall plan he has pictured to accomplish the mission.

                        Your last question in your last post Fultron is a good one.From time to time I believe it's always good just to go over a few pointers and tips here and there to refresh peoples minds about spacing,what to do if we hit contacts,finding cover, moving to more favorable terrain when under fire and so on,because when it comes down to it,their survival is in their own hands and there's only so much you can do to make sure the enemy doesn't take them out.Just throwing a friendly tip out there,that's not specifically directed at anyone,and not talking down to someone who made a mistake,I think is the best way to help keep spirits up and get people thinking like a team,thinking of squad survival.Giving reminders out there from time to time will improve the survival of a squad and it's much better then running around and talking down to the Squad leads and others.

                        One main point is,no one dies in this game,we all live to see another day,so real battlefield tempers and getting into a rage and belittling people has no purpose in the game we play.The fate of the world does not depend on our next mission,so people need to ease up when someone does something wrong or makes a bad move.Commanding is all about chaos management,and yes you will feel stressed out a little if you command,it comes down to how well you deal with it and how quickly you can think of solutions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                          Very unique approaches to the task of commanding from very different well known commanders.

                          I try not to keep the soldiers in briefing screen too long. So I do reveal the first stages of the plan on the map and let the mission begin. This way, while the soldiers are gearing up I can mark further details of the plans. I cannot ignore the precious suggestion about the notepad from Krause. At least knowing you squad leaders and their assets is very important.

                          The positives about developing the next stages on the run after the first stage is completed, you can compromise the plan according to the causality rate, unexpected surprises etc...

                          One thing to remember is to make sure you give the freedom to your squad leaders on how they accomplish the task you assign them. And make sure you know that they can fall back and fail at a task you assign them... Some SLs stare death and destruction into the eye and keep pushing because commander wants them to, while his squad mates virtually dies one by one. Detailed plans from start finish have no room error. But a plan on the run can change in the commander's mind as these unavoidable failures occur.

                          Good thing we got new CO s. Keep at it. Some people cannot have fun any longer as a normal grunt after becoming good at CO ing or SL ing... ;)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                            Originally posted by |TG| B View Post
                            Some SLs stare death and destruction into the eye and keep pushing because commander wants them to, while his squad mates virtually dies one by one.
                            Short side note to begin: I did EXACTLY this last night while leading Panther 2-3's dismounted infantry team. I took 80% casualties from pushing across a field into heavy woodland and attempting to hold the position regardless of incoming enemy fire. This was simply because command wanted us to keep pushing towards a town. My better judgment did not prevail in this situation, and thus everyone paid the price. Anyway, back on discussion.

                            There is a great deal of info that it is necessary to absorb here. It takes time and it helps to practice and put to use all the new protocols, strategies and ideas learned from yon tactical sages of TG. :)

                            Something I COMPLETELY missed altogether was my order of march. This was sorted out in-game via impromptu race for the humvees. This along with proper platoon formations are something I definitely need to focus on. Luckily, all the info is already in the topic thanks to Krause and others. Just gotta keep reviewing.

                            In regards to statements of intent. This is something small, but I feel like I'm getting right. I make it a point not to say "1-1-A, go here." Its infinitely more helpful to everyone if they have some idea what they need to be doing once they get to said location.

                            Trust in SLs, as Scope said, is really tough in a public environment but its necessary. This also pertains to the next question:

                            How does a Commander graciously deal with the proverbial "cowboy" SL. They are not necessarily incompetent or poor SL's but they still tend to follow the plan very loosely, they possibly cause unnecessary problems for Command and the overall battleplan?

                            It does not seem right to "punish" the SL's entire squad by sticking them in BOF positions for an entire session. At the same time it doesn't seem right to force everyone else to suffer due to the actions of a trigger-happy or overzealous squad springing ambushes early, moving to clear a town before ordered, etc.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Questions for Experienced Commanders

                              Originally posted by Fultron View Post
                              How does a Commander graciously deal with the proverbial "cowboy" SL. They are not necessarily incompetent or poor SL's but they still tend to follow the plan very loosely, they possibly cause unnecessary problems for Command and the overall battleplan?

                              It does not seem right to "punish" the SL's entire squad by sticking them in BOF positions for an entire session. At the same time it doesn't seem right to force everyone else to suffer due to the actions of a trigger-happy or overzealous squad springing ambushes early, moving to clear a town before ordered, etc.

                              Glad to see you are trying to step :)

                              This is making me start to think we need to do a regular day every week with like a "TFP commander's training" or something. TFP can run around and assist SL's and the CO with a mission.

                              Anyways - back on topic.

                              There are things you can do prevent this, and deal with it:

                              #1. During slotting, don't hold back picking your squad leads. Generally - I tend to passively attempt to get at least a 1:1 ratio of guys I know, and new guys. This lets me know I have at least half my force with squad leads I personally know to be able to do the job; so even if the newer SL's that I don't know are cowboys or whatever, I can guarantee completion of my mission.

                              #2. You don't have to punish them or be mean, but don't be afraid to make your thoughts known. Personally - I send more frequent SITREP requests to my new SL's or the possible trouble boys. Basically, I'm keeping a tighter tab on them. This at least lets them know I am interested in what they are doing. If they do something crazy, I correct it. You don't have to be mean or frustrated about it, just a simple correction.

                              Example:
                              " 1'1, 1', send locstat, over"
                              " 1'1, my grid 123 456 in the treeline, over"
                              (Lets assume its a cowboy, and hes supposed to be screening 1'2, which is like 400 meters to his left and hes just way off for providing a "screen" cause he pushed too far forward)
                              " 1, i read back 123 456, continue previous order of screening 1'2, ack"
                              " 1'1, ack"
                              " 1, out to you 1'2, copy last with 1'1, over"
                              " 1'2, copy last, over"
                              " 1, coordinate with 1'2 on these means to provide effective screen, out"

                              Now what went on?

                              1. I found out 1'1 was WAY off from their screening order
                              2. I simply told 1'1 to follow his previous orders, no punishing or being mean. I just let him know hes not doing what I wanted
                              3. I *also* looped in 1'2, who was listening to it all and knows 1'1 isnt covering him. He *probably* wants his ass covered, so now also 1'2 is going to keep an eye on 1'1 and make sure he keeps doing his job.

                              So we accomplished in total: Letting 1'1 know hes not doing what we asked, corrected it, and delegated keeping 1'1 "in line" to 1'2. Now, we can concentrate on the rest of the battle and just passively make sure 1'1 is working with 1'2 to follow orders.

                              |TG-TFP|Jaynus
                              Task Force Proteus


                              The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but Im just not close enough to get the job done."

                              Comment

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