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whatever happened to squad leadership?

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  • whatever happened to squad leadership?

    I write this as a commentary piece, a little real world, a little game world, with a little sarcasm and humor... so don't take it so serious folks.

    I am proud to have served in the US Army for just over 10 years... out of those 10 years, about half of the time I was a Sergeant, a leader of men, (and an occasional woman)... I took the duty seriously, I have always been into tactics and procedures, and proud to announce that at most war games my squad and I usually performed in the top percential... without tooting my own horn too much, I loved to lead, I loved to motivate, and I loved being a soldier... and especially loved my troops.

    Well it's been another 10 years since I ended my military service... something I regret alot these days... but I have a new job, new life, and new family, (my own vs the military family.)

    So I revisit my military days with buddies I've known, other current and ex-military folks on the net, (places like the Military Gaming Group, SimHQ, and Tactical Gamer), and of course, todays latest and greatest computer games...

    Squad tactical computer games like GR, OFP, AA, and JO... have a nice way of making total strangers work together on a team like they were longtime war buddies... All those games seemed to allow someone to be in charged and someone to lead from the front...

    Well with Battlefield 2 being released a couple of weeks ago... I have spent alot of time with this new game... I have had alot of fun, and the teamwork in BF2 has been the best in any previous game... the game thrives on teamwork... I have played as a grunt, AT guy, SF guy, and even explored the leadership roles. I have played as Commander about 5 times and a squad leader about 20 times... This is the problem I have... in Battlefield 2 you lead from a bush, or an empty building or just outside of an objective... you don't lead from the front like many leaders have done in past wars, real and virtual... that for one is something I don't see happening in the real world... but then again, in the real world, when you pay the ultimate sacrifice, you can't re-spawn in 15 seconds next to your squad leader. (wish you could).

    As the commander... your goal is to find a nice hole to hide in so you can watch the command screen... there you order your squads to and from different locations for different purposes. You send in supplies, UAV's, and artillery strikes for your squad leaders... you only talk to your squad leaders, because POOP ROLLS DOWNHILL... you, as commander simply keep your squad leaders informed, and supplied and let them carry out your basic orders as they see fit... all in the comfort of your hiding spot.

    Three things about the commander role I would like to see changed/added:

    1. Add one more tool of support for the squads... I would like to see a Spectra Gunship be allowed to be called on a target just like an artillery strike, and it would be used to thin out an overwhelming army at a certain point.

    2. I would like the CO to have an option of taking everyone assigned to one squad, and that squad would have to be at a friendly airport, loading them up in a C130 for an airborne drop, anywhere on the map.

    3. I would like it that when you become a CO, your personal on the battlefield is no more... you don't hide or cower in a hole somewhere... you frankly are in the rear with the gear... off map, off battlefield.

    As a CO in BF2, my belief is that you should spend most of your time, constantly running scans, and with each new scan you should be reporting to the squad leaders... something like this:

    "SCANNING... scan complete, our rear base is clear, 1st squad you have 2 vehicles, and 4 infantry units to your north, 2nd squad your clean, go ahead and capture that flag, no enemies nearby, 3rd squad you got a whole group of enemies coming up on your south, across the bridge, prepare to defend, 5th squad, your nearest 3rd squad, head west to flank third squads enemy... I'm putting an UAV on target now".

    This is just an example... but don't be too concerned about issuing each squad movement orders... your squads should automatically be regrouping, moving to the nearest objective without orders... only order a squad to a point on the map to defend, or to assist another squad... squads need to keep moving, they can't capture a point then wait for a CO's new order... by that time the enemy CO may have artillery coming down on them... keep moving.

    In brief.. CO's SCAN, REPORT, and SUPPLY.

    Then as a squad leader... thats where the fun begins, you get the basic reports and basic orders from your commander, then you have to take your squad of 6 on the missions to complete the assigned mission.

    As a squad leader, I found it best to keep communicating with your troops, if they know your there and with them, they will obey and follow your orders better... if they never hear from you, then there tempted to go off on there own and do there own thing.

    Once you receive your orders, or if no order, gather your men, "1st Squad form on me"... then move out...move out as a team either in vehicles or on foot. If in a vehicle, don't just go driving your squad up to a point that is defended, use what you have, if it won't go up with the enemies force, pick a new plan. (don't drive a utility truck with a machine gun up to a point where an M1A1 is waiting.)

    If you move by foot, don't move strait from point A to point B, stick to cover and concealment... don't walk over an open area or down a road, use the wood line to move to destination, or the water way if preferred.

    Listen to the scan reports from your CO and relay the related information to your squad...

    "1st SQUAD... CO reports 2 vehicles and 4 infantry units at objective". Move your squad near the assigned objective, then come up with a plan... "AT guy, move around to the right and take out the armor, once armor is hit, remaining infantry, move over the hill and into objective."

    The squad leader, now I know this is hard, needs to find a nice spawn place, usually in some woods, over looking the objective and the battle... as your soldiers pay the sacrifice, they can immediately respawn on you and move back into the fight... if you, as the squad leader dies, then you have to spawn back at a controlled point, that may be way away.. then as your troops die, they respawn with you, away from the battle... and the battle quickly ends with your whole squad back at base.

    Encourage your soldiers as they fight, give them orders and congrats on good kills or mission goals.

    "Soul, enemy take rolling up on you to your right, across the river"

    "Roger... engaging... target destroyed"

    "Great job Soul, get ya a case for that one!"

    "Good job squad, nice team work"

    "Way to work as a team, now get that damn flag"

    "SWEET, Good Job, we got new orders to take the other one now".

    etc etc

    So, after all this writing... in conclusion what I'm saying is that BF2 ain't the real army, and thou it's nice to use real world tactics, like flanking, suppressive fire, and bounding overwatches... you squad leaders and you commanders need to know your purpose, stay alive... and LEAD YOUR MEN, from the rear!

    See you on the battlefield. ;)
    Magnum |TG-18th|

    We stand between chaos and order, evil and good, despair and hope - we are the Thin Blue Line, and we will never be broken.

  • #2
    Re: whatever happened to squad leadership?

    nice post Magnum.

    I hope you consider to create a squad which will known as Magnum's squad so from time to time, we can join and benefit from your experience and leadership skills. Also we can follow your squad's progression, experience, etc...




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