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  • The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

    Jeepo and Alpha encouraged me to post one of my recent blog entries here in the PR forum to get some feedback. It's a blog post from a few days ago-- some squad leading on Wanda Shan. During the round I ran into trouble again as an SL, not really knowing what to do when I make contact with the enemy (besides shooting them lol). We're moving out, someone says, "Enemy Contact!..." The firefight begins and then I go blank. Feels like I'm frozen. So much happening all at once and as I'm trying to process what the next course of action is my squad is slowly getting wiped out.

    What I wanted to discuss is the criteria for certain actions you take as a a squad leader when you make enemy contact. What makes you retreat out of a firefight? What makes you flank? When do you hold your position?

    I'm not sure if it's neccessary to read my blog post for this discussion but if you are curious about what started it all, you can read it here: http://www.tacticalgamer.com/blogs/a...anda-shan.html

  • #2
    Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

    For the unbelievably lazy, of which there are many here! ;)

    Originally posted by Angelo
    Wanda Shan

    Squad led a round on Wanda Shan for the first time. I let everyone know that I'm new to squad leading and would probably take it slow but still play tactical. Some guys said it was cool and a few left which was totally okay with me. Had some familiar faces in my squad-- HappyTimes123 and Noniol (my good friend). Round started with a 12 on 12 and since we were the only infantry squad we went on the attack to Northern Forest. My squad loaded up in an APC and I took a logi. The drive was long and we built a firebase NE of the objective. Then we made our way south and it wasn't long before we made enemy contact.

    What I soon discovered was that I am hesitant and unsure of what to do after making contact with the enemy, especially when I am on the move. Should we hold our ground? Should we set up base of fire and flank? Most times I have no idea and it seems like the time to make a decision is very short. "I just hope we win this firefight" is what I often think. This is probably my biggest struggle as a new squad leader and one I'm trying to figure out. I know this will all come with experience but for now, I want to think about my options "after contact."

    Most of the round saw us battling for Eastern Villiage. I had some ideas for how we could advance from the woods to the village and each time we were shot down.

    The first was to set up a base of fire on overwatch and have the squad move up. I got into position on what I thought was the tree line and called my squad to me. Told the AR to setup and we would move in. Then we all got shot up and I realized I was in the open lol.

    The second attempt was with my grenadier. Told him to lay some smoke to cover our advance. As soon as I gave him the distance he was shot and then me. Assault fail. Happened everytime, just before I said "go" we would get wiped out.

    Eventually we took Eastern, actually twice. The first time is worth mentioning because I learned something. We were sweeping the woods all around the perimeter looking for enemy FOBs (didn't find any) and when HappyTimes123 told me that the enemy is probably all at our defensive flag, we moved in to Village. It capped quick. We were the only squad there and so defended. Then we spotted one, just one, enemy infantry in the fields west of village. I had my guys fire at him and ordered another to follow me. We were going to get him! We advanced FAR into the fields but never managed to find him. He deployed smoke and stayed hidden in the big bushes. So hard to see infantry prone in those bushes. Then my guys back at Village were reporting enemy contact and soon my guys were down. As we ran back I saw a stream of enemy contacts running into Village from the west. The next moment I was down.

    What I learned was that I shouldn't get drawn out like that, especially when it's just one guy and he's in the open. When he's motionless (ala Yamalia of recent times) he has a little advantage as he's hard to spot but he can see us because we're on the move. We were also getting farther and farther from our cover fire. And we weren't there to defend Village when the enemy arrived. I don't know if that one guy's plan was to draw us out so the main attack could hit Village but if so, brilliant.

    Later in the round, with the server reaching full capacity, we managed to take back Eastern Village. We ran in with armor support and capped quickly. Northplum was CO and I practiced my COMMs. "CO, this is Squad 1, over." I asked him what he wanted us to do and he suggested we defend and get a FOB up. No problem. We then went on to have a very dramatic and exciting defense. The enemy kept streaming in from the open fields to the west and I spent most of my time looking through my binos marking targets. The guys had fun lighting up the enemy. Then we got mortared and ran to cover. A couple of our guys were wounded but we got them up. The mortars got our FOB, crates, and we had no fortifications and no extra ammo-- quite dramatic. We held until Logi's arrived with two crates. I got up a FOB and placed a TOW covering the wide west approach. Before the round ended HappyTimes123 used the TOW to take out an enemy tank far on the horizon.

    *after rereading this entry, with regards to making contact with the enemy while on the move; one thing I might want to do if I spot enemy and they have eyes on my position is simply to fall back. If I spot an enemy there might be more and we're walking into a position where they're in cover and we're on the move. Might not be good. Either that or take cover, return fire, and for a few seconds see how the firefight is going. Are we taking more fire than giving? Can I spot all the targets? If it looks like we're at a disadvantage, perhaps pull back and reposition so that we can get into a situation where we have the advantage. Live to see another day. More things to think about.

    For any squad leaders reading this; when you make contact with the enemy, when do you feel you have to break contact?

    Originally posted by Jeepo
    This is a good blog post, and I would recommend you duplicate it into the PR section of the forums to receive some feedback. Self analysis is the best way to self-improvement.

    Mortars for smoke MIGHT have been a good way to get cover before advancing over open ground.

    And don't be afraid to run away. If you stumble across an enemy squad that are in a better position, and you have no advantages like CAS, fire-support or armour, then back of and reassess, and get communicating on TS and Mumble. Good things happen that way.

    Originally posted by Alpha
    I would second that... put things like this in AAR form on the forums and you will get feedback. Just don't let it bug ya if some people are less than constructive with their criticism.

    Coming into enemy contact is THE critical point for your squad. How you react depends on the situation, and it's always very fluid. Things like whether you are "made" (spotted) or not, who has a better firing position, the effective range on the kits at your disposal, terrain... there are a million. I try to plan on how I want to handle contact and gear the squad for that type of encounter. If I plan on keeping the fight at a distance, I bring grenadiers, marksmen, ARs... and when contact is made I set up and fire if I have the advantage and maneuver if I don't. Example, if they are far away and there's a lot of open ground to cover... I'm in a superior position with long range kits. If they are pretty close and/or there's lots of cover between me and them, I try to break contact and pull away to a better position. You can pretty much bet on them moving slower than you because they are trying to find you as they advance, and all that cover normally means you have the concealment you need to reposition if you move fast enough. Set up in a position to force them into open ground if they want to continue the advance, hide and HOLD YOUR FIRE until they are committed to the open area. If you managed to pull all that off, you are almost guaranteed to win the encounter. If one of your guys fires early and they pull back into the cover, you can still hold them back while another unit moves to flank.
    Discuss! :D

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

      Great post!

      I know exactly how you feel, when there are a 1,000 things going on at once and you get that deer in the headlights feeling. With all of your SMs asking what to do, people crying out "THERE'S A GUY OVER THERE!!!", enemy armor getting louder and LOUDER, mortars going off, bullets flying, your stupid dog won't shut up, and it's overall just a cluster muck.

      One rule of thumb I like to use is, if I can't tell where I'm getting shot from, I move. Use trees, buildings, vehicles or whatever you can for cover. Just move to a better firing position so that you can see where you're getting shot from. Keep trying to get on their flank.

      If you do know where you're getting shot from, get your squad shooting at that location whether they can hit anything or not. You want to keep the enemy's heads down so the AR or scoped weapons can settle their deviation and finish the job.

      Unless you are in an Alamo position (fortified and defensive), relocate after the engagement. Try to figure out where the enemy was coming from and reposition to a more advantageous position to cover their likely area of ingress.

      As Alpha mentioned, try to get your SMs to hold fire until everybody has visual on the targets and are able to open up all at once. Not only will you have superior fire power, but you'll really surprise the hell out of em'. Six guns are better one.

      Hopefully, you have SMs that are willing to work together and stick close to you so that you have some support in your movements. If you're just flanking by yourself while the rest of your squad is popping tents in their campsite for their early graves, then just hope for the best.

      I can't remember who said it or who's signature line it is in, but the best advise I saw was along the lines of "An SL is basically a lone wolf with 5 guys following him." Get your guys to trust your judgment so that they will follow you and your orders. It makes the decision making process much easier when you don't have to worry about what to do if your squad DOESN'T follow you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

        Originally posted by CR8Z View Post
        Great post!

        I know exactly how you feel, when there are a 1,000 things going on at once and you get that deer in the headlights feeling. With all of your SMs asking what to do, people crying out "THERE'S A GUY OVER THERE!!!", enemy armor getting louder and LOUDER, mortars going off, bullets flying, your stupid dog won't shut up, and it's overall just a cluster muck.
        Most of all... DON'T PANIC! (Even more important than your towel.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

          What I soon discovered was that I am hesitant and unsure of what to do after making contact with the enemy, especially when I am on the move. Should we hold our ground? Should we set up base of fire and flank? Most times I have no idea and it seems like the time to make a decision is very short. "I just hope we win this firefight" is what I often think. This is probably my biggest struggle as a new squad leader and one I'm trying to figure out. I know this will all come with experience but for now, I want to think about my options "after contact."
          It's really something that comes with repeated experience. As a squad leader you have to constantly check your map. Be aware of hostile markers/positions, be aware of friendly squads, be aware of what support you have at your disposal. All of this, on top of managing your guys, making sure they stay awake don't get restless.

          If I know I don't have a chance, I dig in and prepare to take as many as I can with my squad. If there's a chance I try to get the jump on an enemy squad. I spend just as much time looking through the binoculars and map than I do actually moving and shooting.

          The instinct to make decisions really varies/depends entirely on your situation, and it depends on what you think your squad is capable of doing. The speed to make decisions just comes with experience and being able to recognize the situation and your options.

          Always stay calm, and always be sure to remember that it's a game. Stay loose, and don't let repeated failures frustrate you, just re spawn and try a different approach :)

          Don't be afraid to retreat and regroup either, your ancestors won't disown you. Even if they do (HOW DO YOU KNOW?!), just get your squad back up and kick some ass.

          "Don't strike when the iron is hot. Make the iron hot by striking."


          Fox's tip of the day: Turn off your ears. Squad members are just a tool for your conquest. :p

          (sarcasm)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

            Did I see the enemy first or did he see me?

            How many of my squad mates positions revealed?(if they are all in a line formation behind you about 5 feet then they are all revealed)

            How many of the total enemy units do I think I have positions on?






            Where are my guys located?

            Where do I think the enemy guys are located?

            Which group has an overall positional advantage?





            Do I have any blue units in the area that I expect to lend a hand?

            Does the enemy?

            (these are sketchy because sometimes its a bit of a toss up if the blue unit can think beyond their squad voip)




            That takes about 2-3 seconds. There is no equation you can plug the answers into to decide what to do next really, but

            Example:

            If you see the enemy unit and he outmatches you 2-1 in men and you are on equal or worse position you might consider trying to avoid a confrontation and instead tail them for stragglers or when they enter a disadvantageous position or at least alert the team to their strength/heading/AT/and suspected purpose.
            |TG-12th| Namebot

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

              I try to get the location(s) of those first few shots, and if there are any movements to the left and right. That way I can put down some return fire and also strengthen the flanks if necessary as well as get the squad into the cover/defensive mode for either suppression by fire, suppression for offensive fire and also so I can whip out the radio and mark it for other friendlies in the area.

              Lately I've been trying to use the clock system when squad members see contacts. I have gotten used to the compass but for some reason I find it easier using the clock system i.e. check your six which really stands for check your six o'clock/directly to your rear.

              Sometimes if a player just yells out "enemy at 345" I find myself immediately saying, give me a direction as well: N,S,E,W,NE,NW etc.

              But after the above components are given as stated in my first few lines I will always make sure that players don't have their binocs out, certain players will be on full auto or 3 shot burst, the AR is deployed with a friendly close by and no one rushes up or in front. Unless the player on point is the one who initiated contact where I will then have him fire on full auto or semi automatic, move positions and re-initiate contact to make it seem that there is more than one person in the area. So that the next few guys who move up can put down a steady stream of fire.

              I do really enjoy the urban firefights. They seem to last longer than the wooded ones do.

              I always also give credit to my medic because in a situation like this he's the one who's head is staying down, if he charges up in my experience he's the first to go down and now as a squad we are in a trickier position.

              As a suggestion if a player goes down don't pop smoke immediately, only do it if u have to. Popping smoke gives away two positions, yours if an enemy player sees where the smoke trailcomes from and also yours when you go revive and heal the player. It is essential that suppression fire is given because if you are in a firefight against me more often than not you will have one or two enemy players firing directly into the smoke area of your downed squad member, and I will do everything I can to make sure your medic doesn't get a revive or if he does that the player gets shot again right away or that the medic is the next one who goes down.

              Finding where the shots are coming from or even the general direction is key, after that getting your bearings, getting into cover and putting down a force of fire is what comes next.

              Good blog post btw.
              Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
              Level II Volunteer FireFighter
              Level I HazMat Technician
              NYS EMT-B
              Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

              sigpic




              Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
              RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
              Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
              Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
              We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

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              • #8
                Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                Squad lead often and keep reasessing yourself like this! Good stuff that you'll surely learn from.

                I know that if I make contact with the enemy and they do not know of me I will bring all my guns to bare and make sure we have significant fire power readied before opening the engagement. I remember a long ways back in a round of Qwai where I had found an enemy FO being built by the USMC team; while they were preoccupied digging I brought my squad to a line had my H-AT sight in on the FO and told everyone to fire only after the H-AT.

                Within twenty seconds the entire six man squad was dead. Was a text book surprise assault highlighted by the sheer 'wtf' moment of the opening shot. This is actually a really nice thing. When starting the engagment, if you have the ability to, make the enemy piss himself. This is best done with a big gun; 40mm grenade, L-AT/H-AT, Mortars, CAS, and even the LMG. If the squad is unprepared the sudden jolt of action from 0 to 100 will shock them to the point where they will hardly be able to return fire.

                After that jolt always be sure you are able to keep constant stream of fire focused on them even if you miss this will have them scrambling for cover more than searching for you. Do note that as every second passes by and you do not kill them the better off they'll be at returning accurate fire.

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                • #9
                  Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                  In short I think the most important thing when first coming into contact is the enemy position. "The 3 Ds" Distance, Direction, and Description should be the first things passed on not only by you but your squad mates. Often not all of your squad knows the exact position of the enemy, thus cannot provide enough fire support. Once this information is relayed you can make more educated decisions. Too often someone just yells out "contact", great.....pretty useless unless everyone knows wheres the contact coming from.
                  __________________
                  |TG|||---DoRo---||

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                  • #10
                    Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                    Originally posted by Doro9 View Post
                    In short I think the most important thing when first coming into contact is the enemy position. "The 3 Ds" Distance, Direction, and Description should be the first things passed on not only by you but your squad mates.
                    Distance and Description may be hard to tell in the first few seconds.
                    An initial contact report will usually be lacking in information, but it will have enough that everyone knows the general direction of the enemy.

                    If you're moving, or the squad is watching a general area, providing a general direction relative to your squad is good enough. These directions include 'Front', 'Left', 'Right' and 'Rear'. If you can hear the gunfire coming in from the squad's front as they are moving, you can hastily call out "CONTACT FRONT". Afterwards you can properly assess the situation, and provide a more detailed contact report.
                    This is not universally true of all situations and terrains, say if you're able to spot the enemy right off the bat.

                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                      If I can't locate my first reaction is usually to run for concealment and prone whilst trying to determine the source of the fire. For some strange reason I'm usually the first one to get shot so I'm out of action for engagements a lot of times.
                      McFadden-Lord of the Too-Large Sigs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                        In line with what you said doro, but I usually go for direction first, and also if it's only one shooter or if it's more than one. - Something about the whisps and the bullet matter hitting or ricocheting off the trees or walls that gets me all giggity. Plus more often than not within a few seconds I or the rest of my squad will know or say how many people we are dealing with/is it a threat due to our location.

                        - This comes up more in urban settings. Are we are the low ground;enemy on high ground, vice versa.

                        - If shooting is coming down the street, how many people have yet to cross to the corner; any cover that can be used; do you fire a return shot or do you keep moving while marking it on the map and alerting the other sl's.

                        ^I love marking things on the radio, there is no doubt, maybe because it's one of the things that I can truly say I really enjoy doing, I think it's a huge part of each round even with Air support included with gtld markers and it alerts other SL's to what is around if you can't or forget to communicate it.
                        Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
                        Level II Volunteer FireFighter
                        Level I HazMat Technician
                        NYS EMT-B
                        Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

                        sigpic




                        Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
                        RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
                        Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
                        Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
                        We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                          1- I try to inform my squad about the goal we are trying to achieve before we enter hostile areas
                          2- Explain enemy contact rules (hold fire, shoot immediately, etc.) also before

                          Most of the time when you spot the enemy first, it's good to put a marker down, let everyone know and then open fire!
                          After you successfully engaged the enemy, move!

                          Static defense is really difficult in cities, like you said do not run after them. Sometimes I like to send two squad members out to a different locations so that either them or me get first contact and i have the ability to flank. IMO defense works best with two squads, one roaming one static.

                          And well I might be completely off here so don;t blame me when you get killed! ;)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                            Sorry I couldn't reply sooner, been very busy at work but I've been soaking in all that you guys have written. Really great stuff! I'm really looking forward to my next go at squad leading as I have many new things to try. This is the general summary of things I'm learning in this thread:

                            Upon making contact with the enemy, if they haven't seen you yet, get your squad set up so they can all fire at once. This will create overwhelming firepower and surprise. From that point, you get your bearings and take it from there.

                            If you make contact and are taking fire, try to find the location of the enemy, and return fire immediately. You want to get suppression on them. Get cover. Get your bearings and take it from there.

                            After the firefight, relocate.

                            The advice you shared really helps me to not only have a better idea of what to do when I make contact but also how to prepare my squad for contact. I can share with them the things I mentioned above so they know what to do when we enter a firefight.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The First Few Seconds After Enemy Contact

                              Originally posted by Angelo-1621 View Post
                              If you make contact and are taking fire, try to find the location of the enemy, and return fire immediately. You want to get suppression on them. Get cover. Get your bearings and take it from there.
                              I think you might be missing one thing that is very important in most firefights - suppression alone isn't enough. You need both fire and manuever to win many of them. If you don't flank around and finish them, or move around so you can shoot them from different angles, they'll do it first.
                              In-game nick: [FSG]Oskar Xfire: wrestlersesf

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