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  • Lessons I learned a while back.

    Originally posted: 02-06-2017, 01:53 PM

    I rediscovered last weekend [as of 2/6/17] just how hard it is to manage chaos. I was a FTL under Dimitrius lead, and I learned a whole lot real quickly and I just thought I'd share (for TGU to review here, once I'm done I'll see about adding it to the Armed Assault thread, although it could just as easily apply to all platforms):

    LESSON 1:
    I'm aware that there are varying styles of leadership; Specifically, Macro-leadership vs. Micro-leadership. A good example of Macro-leadership is telling a unit to go from point A to point B. Micro would be telling a unit to go to point A, stop, wait 2 minutes, then move exactly 45o. for 232 yards, stop again and then... etc. etc. Whenever I lead, I typically try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I say we're moving down a street and I want half my team on each side. This style of play can work, however, I learned that the higher up you go in tactical leadership (fire-team to squad, to platoon, to JTF command, etc.) the more valuable this style of leadership is. However, at the fire-team level, I rediscovered how quickly things can get difficult. It seemed every time a turned around one of my 6 man team was running down an alley and subsequently getting shot, in our tight urban environment.

    In hindsight, spending that much time on the ground probably wasn't that much fun for my team. It's a wargame, and so naturally we like kicking butt. In order to do that though, I learned that a certain amount of pushiness is required (especially at lower leadership levels). In fact: I'd wager that it's easier for many people to squad lead than to fire-team lead (it is in my case). On one hand, it's just a game and we wan't to remember to just have some fun; But on the other, bleeding out for 3-5 minutes at a time isn't fun.

    The lesson I learned is that when push comes to shove, you (as a fire-team leader), is ultimately to keep your team alive. Sometimes that (like parenting) means telling your guys "no... don't run off on me. I need you here."

    As you move, quick reminders periodically of what each member is supposed to be doing is very important. Formations and compass bearings are only useful if your team is prepared already to use them. otherwise, a simple: "You: Always watch our right, You: always watch front," etc., will work very well in giving each member a specific purpose within the team. and always, ALWAYS tell everyone on your team who they're supposed to be following (i.e. the point man).

    LESSON 2:
    When I dropped in this last weekend, I was quickly given a fire-team to lead. I already knew 3/4 of the people in the fire-team so I didn't think much of it. There's a reason (as it turns out) that Real Life units practice together... a lot. I didn't even take the time to brief my team before we loaded up in two Hunters and took off down the road, I knew loadouts, but I didn't think about individual skills, or abilities to carry out orders. I should have taken the hint when our Hunters got separated in about the first minute. Eventually we got it together for a little while, but then I made another mistake: I miscalculated personal skill-sets and took a risky move that got my team wiped.

    I'd like to submit that when a new Fire-team leader or squad leader is assigned, they take a serious look at more than just kit assignments. I've created a short checklist of important things to communicate to your fire-team during briefing:
    1. Tell them what they should expect of your leadership: That you will be giving orders, and they will be specific. You are in charge of keeping them healthy and armed, and equipped properly.
    2. Tell them what you expect of them: That they will follow your orders quickly and to the best of their abilities. As a fire-team member, they are expected to stay with their team at ALL times, (no advancing without your team) 10m-20m spread maximum, any further and you are essentially abandoning their team and endangering everyone.
    3. Ask your team about general skill levels: It should definitely be briefly considered before making risky moves. It could effect your pacing and you should be prepared to adjust accordingly.
    4. Equipment check: everyone assigned to you should be equipped to maximum team effectiveness. using a variety of weapons and equipment vastly increases your survival. Making sure you have additional special equipment for any specific objective. Make sure your members are also "properly" equipped for their specific role (super-medics aren't all that effective in a group setting). Also check your radio equipment at this point.
    5. Objective briefing: You don't need to give every last detail. but a general heading is important to keep your team on task. A landmark or location, and a mission type is all that's needed (e.g. "We're going to blow up that tower at grid 111222."). Usually you'll also add how you're getting there.
    6. Set to move:once you've spilled all this information as quickly, clearly and concisely, you should always end with two questions:
      1. Any questions?
      2. Anybody NOT ready? (note that this is a lot easier to ask than: "is everyone ready?" because silence is golden.
    Many times, it seems like teams just jump to the last half of this list, and important information is lost. A little bit of squad cohesion can go a very long way, if you know what to expect of your team prior to engaging in combat. Briefing your team with not only objectives and equipment, but with expectations as well is key to making sure that you understand what your team is capable of and just how you need to direct them. Otherwise, as a squad or fire-team leader, you'll essentially end up having to battle both the enemy and and your own team at the same time.

    ribbons_volunteer-class1.jpg
    "WARNING: Don't let me throw frags!"

  • #2
    Love this feedback Shoomie. FTL is a role that takes concentration.

    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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    • #3
      Good stuff.
      The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"

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      • #4
        My philosophy in management (not that I'm a manager IRL) is that it is much better to delegate to people to carry out tasks that they are better suited to handle and you worry about the stuff that you can handle. Besides the obvious chafing that many people will naturally feel when you try to micromanage everything they do, you need to balance your own workload so that you don't get overwhelmed.

        When you are a platoon commander or even a squad lead with a large squad, you typically have a pretty large potential workload in juggling all of your squads/fireteams, JIPs, CAS, various support, transport, and progress towards objectives. Not to mention planning tactics, setting waypoints, and getting feedback from your teams as to their progress and setbacks towards meeting those objectives. Critically, from a gameplay perspective you also don't want to let your guys sit around for extended periods of time without action, as people get bored and some will just quit and go do something else.

        So there is a lot of pressure while you are in command. Oftentimes after contact with an enemy, your teamleads will go down compounding communication issues and causing absolute havoc with the command structure. Not to mention if the platoon commander goes down or if he executes poor tactics, it can spell doom for the mission. So there is no pressure or anything there!

        Since a platoon commander cannot be everywhere at once,I find it better to allow your squad/team leads a bit of freedom in approaching their objectives. I typically give them some basic guidelines (weapons green, stay low, sprint to the hard cover, flank the enemy etc). Sometimes you will give them more freedom, other times less... command should be more focused on the overall tactical situation of all the pieces on the board, while the teams will often be more concerned with enemy contacts and close fire and maneuvering.

        YMMV - hope this helps! Bit of a ramble


        One final thing I'd like to mention - as a leader I'm always open to suggestions. I will listen, but I won't always act on them. I've had a lot of new players suggest I do this or take such an such an action, but it may or not be prudent depending on the abilities of my teams and assets or even how I'm trying to balance the type of gameplay from the players in the game. But I do value the feedback as it shows that a) people are into the mission and b) I may have overlooked something.
        "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
        -Einstein

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