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Boot Camp Session II AAR

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  • Boot Camp Session II AAR

    Thanks for everyone who joined us last night for the Second GRAW Boot Camp.

    As discussed in the Agenda post, we covered the basics of the React To Contact drill from US Army Field Manual 7-8. Please see that post for details.

    I ran a team through getting up to speed on this drill in the original GR game several years ago. In my experience, it takes three sessions to get smooth and confident with the drill. With that in mind, I think we had a fine start. I especially want to thank Mirfee for stepping up and assuming the uncomfortable role of TL while learning a new skill. That's a tough job and Mirfee handled it well.

    I also want to commend Tybalt for being one tough bastard as a one-man wrecking crew on OPFOR. IMO, he was a little too good. Perhaps haxor good. Or maybe it was the lag. :D

    In my mind there are some overarching themes that I'd like to discuss and ask each of you who participated last night to be thinking about as we work together to build on our experience and improve our collective performance.

    1. Solving the problem of the enemy's location.
    I think of the enemy's position as a bubble that expands and contracts. For example, at the start of a round, I know precisely where the enemy is, because I know the map's spawn points. Over time the "bubble" of possible enemy positions expands. When the team takes fire, it instantly contracts, since I can tell generally the position from which the incoming, uh, came. The bubble of possible locations may remain very large, but I can still begin to eliminate certain positions and therefore begin the process of shrinking the bubble. When I see the enemy, the bubble collapses.

    The first and most important task that a team has is to reduce this bubble to rougly man-sized dimensions. We use fire, movement, and communication to solve this problem.

    Last night I noticed a lot of paralysis as people struggled with the fact that they didn't really know where the enemy was located. My suggestion is that you work individually and as a team to consider how much you know about where the enemy is NOT.

    The defining moment to illustrate this point last night, in my mind, is the round in which I was running point for Mirfee and had previously winged Tybalt when I spotted him next to a boulder. The team poured a lot of suppressing fire at that boulder before we lost contact. A minute later, I saw Tybalt about 25m to my north and fired off a quick "contact North" before he shot me.

    At this moment, Mirfee's fireteam was hugging the western edge of the map, and the other fireteam was about 50m east of us. We were all about 75 M south of the northern edge of the map.

    Consider the bubble of possible enemy positions all of this information gave the team. It is the team's job, and the TL specifically, to coordinate fires, movement, and communications to shrink that bubble until the enemy is surrounded and killed. With a bit more practice and experience, we'll get very good at solving this problem.

    2. Analysis paralysis
    I think of a large part of tactics as the art of creating friction for your opponent. I want to present too many problems for him to solve. I want to slow him down, create uncertainty and fear, then walk up and kill him.

    We created a lot of problems for ourselves last night because everyone was trying to do his or her job, and nobody really knew what they were doing. I think that this is a natural part of learning a new way to do things. Don't worry about it. Things will get faster, smoother, and more effective. Everyone who attends will have an opportunity to practice in several different roles, including TL.

    Once we've done this a few times, each member of the team will have confidence in their own skills and an understanding of how their actions fit into the team effort, will know what their teammates are doing at the same time, and will be able to react immediately with aggression.

    This is the entire point of learning a battle drill:

    FM 25-101 defines a battle drill as “a collective action rapidly executed without applying a deliberate decision-making process.”
    3. Communications
    Next session we will pay a little more attention to standardized communications.

    Please review these SOPs to prepare.

    Finally, thank you all again for your interest and enthusiasm and support.


    Last edited by leejo; 10-24-2006, 09:39 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Boot Camp Session II AAR

    Excellent work both in the training op and the AAR Leejo. Thanks for your hard work. I'm a new player here, so I suppose my observations aren't as keen as some of you who are more seasoned, but for what it is worth, this is what I took away from the excercise:

    1) Minimizing movement. I think quick, short, "bursts" towards an objective waypoint and then complete proneness/lack of movement while you reassess the situation and then commence a new directive is the best way to go. As many players warned me, even rotation (without moving forward or laterally) can attract enemy attention. Ideally, one team should advance while the other team covers it... then switch, and "leapfrog" to the objective.

    2) Proper camo/cover. The best situations to be in, it seemed, are spaces where you can camp in that you are looking towards either a) the blue zone or b) a vector where incoming enemy movement is likely to take place, with some sort of cover behind you and to at least one side, and preferably both.

    3) A proper balance between tactical obediance (for lack of a better term) and instinctive agressiveness. Normally, if we were a public server, our problem would be to encourage the former over the latter... but since most of us here at TG are on the same page, I really think encouraging autonomous, independent action within the confines of a squad-led, structured system is the best way to go. This sounds like a contradiction, but I think if we practice regularly so that the drills we practice become second nature, then we, as players and a team, will start to feel more comfortable as a team, and less time will have to be spent relaying orders and more time will be spent finding and killing the enemy. As you yourself Leejo said it... the worst that can happen is suffering from "Analysis Paralysis". If we drill the tactics enough they should be second nature. And after that, our true talents can shine.

    4) Proper chain of command... and contingency plans. I think at the beginning of every round, it should be clear who leads the squad (obviously), and also who leads the secondary team(s). A point man for each should be established for each, and most importantly, perhaps, a chain of successors to the command postion. I know in atleast two of our rounds, our SL died and no one really knew who was in charge at that point. Most of us (especially me) are relunctant to take on that position, but if it has already been preordained in advance, it makes the transition instant, easier and more effective. As they say, "any plan is better then no plan."

    5) John Rambo... er.. I mean, Tybalt, must join our team. At some point, I'd like him to declare, "Meeting Adjourned!" with a GL in hand after killing everyone, complete with an Austrian accent... but that, of course, is a personal whim of mine which I realize is a secondary concern.

    In any case, these are just my initial observations and I realize I am quite new to the game so simply take them for what they are worth. I look forward to honing my skills with all of you and look forward to good times in the coming days.

    Last edited by Fuzzy; 10-25-2006, 03:28 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Boot Camp Session II AAR

      So much to digest, but I haven't had sufficient time to post my thoughts yet. But for quick comments... Leejo, another very informative nd challenging session. Growing pains for sure (or in some cases, refresher pains), but that's part of the process.

      I hope to post more in depth this evening.

      Looking forward to next session.


      • #4
        Re: Boot Camp Session II AAR

        Okay. My thoughts. Such as they are. ;)

        Firstly, I'm not sure what I can add to Leejo's comments and observations that hasn't been well articulated already. But I can say that the added responsibility of being TL, while huge on this portion of the learning curve, is a thrill and a half. While I got everyone killed repeatedly, I like the challenge and hope to improve at the job.

        I said during the training that I understand the concepts academically, but the minute 'boots are on the ground' academic goes right to hell, hand-in-hand with any plan. That resulted from two critical hurdles on my part.

        1) Lack of GRAW proficiency- I've only put in sporadic showings in *any* tactical game in months, let alone GRAW. So my instinctive abilities are atrophied and in need of some workouts. I need to not only regain my sense of situational awareness (such as it ever was at its peak), but develop it along the lines of the environment(s) that GRAW encompasses. First on that list is reading terrain and spotting people. Concealment, whether intentional or accidental, is unbelievably effective in this game. It's going to take some eye-sharpening and calculated guesswork to become effective at picking up a target, either by sight, or guided by intel.

        2) Too much assumption - I know from past experience that I can be overly complicated, or micromanaging, when commanding a squad. Not dismally so, but enough that elaborate instructions bloat comms and stall momentum. With that in mind, I've made a conscious effort to be more concise. However, I found myself ultimately *under*-communicating... relying instead on assumptions that everyone under my command automatically knew how to elaborate on my 'go there' order and fill in the gaps. I'm sure part of this was hoping that others would pick up the ball while I was fumbling around with my own personal challenges with this game (referencing #1 above).

        This kind of assumption is possible with a team that has drilled together extensively, and all members are proficient and well versed in their unit and command methods. Not so with a mixed group which is composed of highly skilled individuals, but lacking in the essential integration of a tight-knit team. No blame on anybody. Just a hurdle to be faced at this stage.

        We're all moving forward from one boot camp session to the next, trying to incorporate the previous week's drills with the current one's. That's demanding. It's realistic that we're not going to be well oiled in the span of one week. Hell, I was still consciously analysing my own cover/concealment options, observation angles, etc, while also thinking about what I had to do on contact, and further, figure out what everyone else had to do. Yeesh!

        It's going to take practice. I saw the fundamentals in place last night (I spent a lot of time observing post mortem :icon19: ). I have the highest confidence that everyone going through this boot camp *will* be capable of playing this game in the manner we're aiming for. It's just a matter of practice practice practice.


        • #5
          Re: Boot Camp Session II AAR

          Good AAR report Mirfee. Thanks for sticking your next out as SL. Or, rather, having your neck stuck our for you. Glad it wasn't me. :) I thought you did a great job considering the circumstances. Most of us, especially me, need to drill hard and learn to play the game from a strict tactical perspective before we will become cohesive and effective. This is what these drills are all about.

          Regarding your two main points:

          1) Profiency: Couldn't say it better. Ultimately this is simply going to be a matter of rote practice I think. Much of what makes a squad work is having each individual member knowing the ropes (taking good camo, staying silent, without having to be told or even think about it). This way, the SL can concentrate on the more important objectives without having to micromanage.

          2) Too much assumption. I can only add my .02 here, but it seems to be that all too often (not just the other night), a SL will give me an order like "rush that building to the North" or. "Fuzzy, get behind those trees ahead".. and I will be at a loss, looking at two or three buildings to the north or several groups of trees ahead. I won't be sure which ones exactly my SL wants me to take cover behind me. In the case of the trees, it probably doesn't matter much because the point will to be to position myself, looking over a certain direction, with cover. But in the case of the buildings, it is probably a lot more critical that I pick the right one. In these cases I think it would be helpful if SLs were more specific.

          Finally, if I might add an additional point, there were times in the exercise where I wished I knew what the "point" was of our advance. Obviously, we are trying to win by taking out the other guys... but I think it would get every one on the same page if SL said either A) "We are going to establish a perimeter around the zone and snipe" or B) Let's get there and start scoring points as I dictate, or even C) "Let's get within range and I'll make a decision based on conditions as I see it then," instead of "Ok... Alpha go left, Bravo go right." etc. This is mainly psychological for sure.... but don't discount it. Even if plans are changed later, it helps my mindset if I know what my SL ultimately has planned. It allows me, as a team member, to better fine-tune my own independant actions towards his overall goal.

          Any thoughts?



          • #6
            Re: Boot Camp Session II AAR

            Thanks for posting guys. I think that it's important to remember that these drills have a very limited scope. We will tie everything together soon by uniting strong individual skills, good team skills, leadership, communication, and planning. But it's a process and we're just starting.

            So far we have introduced some individual skills, added some collective skills, and begun to work on some leadership skills.

            Fuzzy, I think you're spot on in recognizing the psychological element that *any* plan has on the team. We can work on that too.




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