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Squad Leader 101

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  • Squad Leader 101

    Last night I mucked about as Squad Leader (as |TG|Rizzo) for a while and I discovered a few things:

    1) it's tougher than it seems!
    2) it helps to have an able commander at the helm
    3) you should let your squad do the bulk of the work
    4) it helps to give very specific tasks to squaddies
    5) I really suck at it so far!

    Alright, i'll expand on these a bit (boss is away today, got lots of time on my hands! You poor bastids...)

    1) It's tougher than it seems!

    It's perfectly acceptable to just set a waypoint for your squad and say "Move out!" and if you have some good people they will try like hell to carry out those orders to the best of their ability. This is how most squads I've been in have operated--with the exception of a single night with SmokingTarpan as SL but he doesn't count because he's some sort of aberration!--and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    This is pretty much how I led last night--just set the waypoint and away we would go. It worked to some degree but I gotta say, it left much to be desired and I felt like I should have done more for my squad (other than die! more on that later...).

    2) it helps to have an able commander at the helm

    A good squad leader will keep the squad busy no matter what but it definitely makes his/her job *much* easier if there's a decent commander at the helm. The commander should be your eyes and ears, relaying the info and giving out orders. I really get immersed in the "action" part of a game (ie the shootin'!) so it was difficult for me to focus on the maps and try to come up with orders for my squad that would most benefit the whole team (again, other than the simple "Attack this position!" type stuff).

    This is where the commander can make a *world* of difference. The commander should be the one coming up with grand strategies and coordinating the squads to see them through--not to mention providing support via UAV, supplies, arty, etc..

    3) you should let your squad do the bulk of the work

    This is where I really run into trouble as SL. :icon15: I'm too aggressive. I try to do too much myself and stick my head where it doesn't belong and end up getting my arse shot off.

    IMHO, a SL needs to be more passively involved, hiding somewhere while concentrating on leading and less on fighting and doing the *grunt work*. SmokingTarpan is very good at this. He hangs back and orders the squad around to specific tasks. This serves two critical purposes:

    a) by being out of the action the SL can focus more on the maps and intel and thus move the squad around more intelligently.
    b) provides a nearby (and hopefully, safe) spawn point This is crucial!

    Sure, there's something to be said about 'leading by example' and 'inspiring your troops' but it does no good getting your ass shot off a minute into every encounter! Hehe, trust me I know, as I had mine shot off plenty last much to the chagrin of my squad and their tired feet.

    Anyway, point is, the SL ought to take on a supporting role, stay out of the way, give orders, focus on the map, stay in touch with the cmdr, and not get his ass shot off.

    4) it helps to give very specific tasks to squaddies


    While a quick waypoint and "Attack this position!" is fine in and of itself and may get the job done, giving specific orders to each squaddie will net you much better results and it's a lot more fun! For example, rather than merely saying "Defend this position" to the entire squad you might give each squaddie specific tasks like:

    - JBRanger, get up on the hotel roof and snipe
    - Wyz, hop in that AA gun
    - asch, cover our right flank with your SAW
    - Kark, put a mine in the hole in the wall
    - Tempus, watch the road with your AT

    ONce again, that smoking tarpan fella (what the hell is a tarpan, anyway?! ANd how do you smoke it?) is good at this. Me? hehe, not so much. Like I said, I get too caught up in the shootin' so this is another reason why I think the SL should be more passive--so as to be able to focus more on these specifics.

    I suppose once things settle down we'll start seeing squad configurations for specific missions. Like sending a spec ops squad to blow a bridge with C4 or an anti-armor and engineer squad to wait in ambush on a road at a bottleneck, et al. Right now it's mostly just a hodge-podge as we learn the game and get to know each other. I'm really looking forward to utilizing the specific classes more in the future here at TG! :)

    5) I really suck at it so far!


    Last but not least, for reasons outlined above, I suck as SL! I'm just not SL material. I'm way too action-oriented. I get so absorbed in this task that I tend to forget everything else...which pains me cuz I know my squad is relying on me!

    Frankly, I much prefer the simplicity of being a grunt and taking orders rather than giving them. But I know there will be times when SL's will be needed so I'm going to try and improve. Just bear with me while I fight temptation to pick up my M16 and run to the front lines!

    PLease expand/dispute/deny these ideas and add your own!

    |TG|Rizzo out
    Last edited by TG_Rizzo; 06-16-2005, 03:57 PM. Reason: Did a little clean-up

  • #2
    Re: Squad Leader 101

    Great topic, and good writeup. I think we all have something to learn from Tarpan (although I have not had the pleasure of working with him yet).

    The most frustrating thing for me as squad leader is when the comm does not give orders. Then I have to invent something useful for my squad, but of course, I do not have the big picture.

    3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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    • #3
      Re: Squad Leader 101

      Originally posted by Plink
      (what the hell is a tarpan, anyway?! ANd how do you smoke it?)
      I think my avatar should answer your question. :)

      I agree with pretty much everything here, especially the part about the SL hanging back. I feel bad because it's other people who are out there doing all the fighting and dying, but really, it's hard to direct traffic when all you can do is huddle behind a wall and pray to survive the artillery attack. And that is essentially the job of the SL- to direct traffic. Telling your guys to take the flag is one thing, but telling two men to distract a tank from the east while the rest flank from the west is completely different.

      Just a few things to add to the class from my experience.

      -If you don't have or won't use a mic, don't be a squad leader. You don't have time to type in the middle of a firefight. I think this also goes for the commander. All leader positions should be talking.

      -Talk as much as possible to your squad, and give regular reports to the commander.

      -Use the tools given to you, like requesting UAV and artillery before launching your assault. I'm slow to do this and tend to rely just on my fighting force, and it puts me at a major disadvantage.

      -Set a plan, and be ready to change it. Again, another thing that I'm slow to do is adjust my plan once it starts to fall apart.

      -Be ready to tell people what to do, and set them straight if they're not doing it. You can't afford to have your only medic decide to take point, or one of your men standing and skylining next to the squad sniper.

      I think that covers most everything that's major, Plink already did a good job. Good luck to all SL's, because it really is tough.
      [squadl]
      "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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      • #4
        Re: Squad Leader 101

        Fantastic write up, I'll definitely be taking all of that info into battle during my next tenure as SL. Especially the part about hanging back, I too find myself on the front line too often as SL.
        "If it's dangerous to talk to yourself, it's probably even dicier to listen" -Jim Hightower

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        • #5
          Re: Squad Leader 101

          Another thing, squadies, protect your SL! I know it's hard especially when caught up in a firefight, and I fall victim to this too, but many times I'll see people trying to save their own skin when the SL is dying. Keep him alive and you'll be able to respawn on him to help more. Sometimes it's out of your control, but watching his back and covering his enemies in a firefight while he can attempt to A) call in some type of support or B) try and fall back to a more defensible or safer position helps.



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          • #6
            Re: Squad Leader 101

            Originally posted by Tempus
            Great topic, and good writeup. I think we all have something to learn from Tarpan (although I have not had the pleasure of working with him yet).

            The most frustrating thing for me as squad leader is when the comm does not give orders. Then I have to invent something useful for my squad, but of course, I do not have the big picture.
            I am quite new with BF2 (played the demo a lot these last few days) and after a while I got frustrated with just storming the base, die, storm the base, die etc. so I formed a squad. I had no idea what I was doing and started exploring the commands, and after reading some tips and trick I got it up and running.
            I tried it first time when I was on a server where there was abt. 60 players, and on my (USMC) team there was no squads at all! However people started joining my squad, and we began to have succes.
            All I have done so far is point-and-click the orders (move out, attack here, etc) but the idea of giving specific orders (get in the APC etc.) have occured to me - and here it comes - that would mean that I would have to lean back a bit more, let the others fight, and control my troops better. I will try and do that, but I have to tone down the urge to attack... but that might be good, I feel bad for the team when I get killed...

            However let me note, that I have ordered quite a few "defend base" orders, I just cant help being to active in the defense myself...

            These last two days I have been squad leader for some time, and gained some experiences. And yes, it is so damn frustrating to have a weak commander. One thing is not having orders (it sucks!) but what makes me more frustrated is when he keeps sending orders in all kinds of directions. We can spend 1 minute reaching a fortication (maybe more) only to be ordered back for a minute, then forward etc - I know it is a dynamic game, but doing it like this leaves no room for accomplishing anything, but dying while crossing the open areas... How about making teams with some primary functions (i.e. defend west base) and leaving room for a secondary function, should that be more apporpriate.

            Og well, just some thoughts from a new guy.
            - delanvital
            Play hard, play proud, play TG!

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            • #7
              Re: Squad Leader 101

              What do folks think are the best kits/classes for Squad Leaders (may be situation/map specific and if so, feel free to build on that)?

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              • #8
                Re: Squad Leader 101

                great post. in particular, I just wanted to comment on "4) it helps to give very specific tasks to squaddies" -- this, i think, is probably the single most important thing that separates good, cohesive squads from one from those that degenerate. as rizzo posted, giving specific tasks is very useful (e.g., "hey X, go up on that roof and snipe"). but also, SL's should feel free to take charge even when it might not seem obvious: Tell your boat/helo/apc driver where EXACTLY you want everyone to disembark (otherwise, the natural urge is just to go right up to the front door); describe an assault plan to everyone AHEAD of time, so everyone knows where they should be, and what the contingencies are (e.g., "X and Y, you go up that ridge and don't open fire until Z hits that tank"; or "if they start flanking us, I'm going to fall back to that rock to be a spawn point, everyone else hold your position"). Also, since the SL is often toward the rear of a position, the SL is in a unique position to see and warn your squad members. So if you see an APC, don't just report it on your radar, say something like "Hey, X, watch out to your right" -- they'll appreciate it. Finally, if you get killed and are the closest spawn, get on your mic and let everyone know ("squad leader down") so way your medic(s) can try and reach you if they can.

                at first, I was afraid of sounding too bossy or whatnot (after all, this *is* a game, and everyone should be having fun). but i've realized that specific instructions can go a long way to keeping everyone on the same page (and alive). plus it does make things more fun for everyone -- well, at least none of my squaddies have complained yet :)

                finally, I'll just encourage SLs to make heavy use of their mic's, even if you think you don't have any useful info to convey. the reason is that when you have prolonged periods of radio silence, things can fall apart quick; people can get restless if they've been lying around for a while, staring at a big purple shield on their radar, with nothing much else going on. and that's when they start doing their own thing. give your squadies progress reports on artillery/supplies, crack a joke, or shoot the breeze. trust me, it'll make everyone happier.

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                • #9
                  Re: Squad Leader 101

                  Agreed with pretty much everything said here. I play SL quite often am am still learning (especially the maps, it is really difficult to plan effectively if you do not know the maps very well, but that should come for all of us in time).

                  As a SL I see your main objectives as forming the plan. This is not only setting the objective / co-ordinating with the CO, but also about being the eyes and ears of the guys who cannot afford to take their eyes off their screens to look at their radar map. It could be anything as simple as 'Enemy APC approaching from north by north west' or 'ok they look dug in, no firendlies in area so use grenades to pin them down", to more advanced stuff as 'approach along the road on the right side, and then take up a position in the trees to the south to cover squad 3 as they move in', or 'Jastley get in the hills to the south to spot and snipe, I need the support and a medic to the north, the rest to the south. CollBox cover that door to the side, and watch the c4 I'm planting in the doorway'.


                  I think it helps to persuade your team to wait to spawn on you, set ERV (emergency rendez-vous; something I always forget to do!), and to set your team's kit up. If you are going for urban assault then a sniper in your group would soon be left behind for example...

                  As a final point, the enemy CO's are a predictable bunch for the most part. The number of times I have said to my squad:

                  "Ok guys, well done on capturing the flag. Now get the hell out of the central area as you are a prime target for a retaliatory arty strike."

                  Typically two seconds later I hear the shells coming in... ;)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Squad Leader 101

                    Originally posted by delanvital
                    However let me note, that I have ordered quite a few "defend base" orders, I just cant help being to active in the defense myself...
                    I find that it is easier for the SL to participate in defense because the flag you are defending is still a spawn point. One reason the SL hangs back when assaulting is to provide a close spawn point to the objective.
                    |TG-12th| asch
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: Squad Leader 101

                      Originally posted by asch
                      I find that it is easier for the SL to participate in defense because the flag you are defending is still a spawn point. One reason the SL hangs back when assaulting is to provide a close spawn point to the objective.
                      Good point. In fact, after being SL on Sharqi a few times I want to amend my comments on this actually.

                      The SL *can* be much more aggressive where there's a natural spawn point nearby since it's not critical that the SL provide spawning. In cases like this, where you're going to get into the fighting, I like going with Assault class for the body armor, Support for providing ammo, or as an extra Medic.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Squad Leader 101

                        One formula I like (when operating far from a friendly spawn point) is having the SL be support, with a medic as his wingman. They become a mobile spawn, medical, and resupply point. SL can put down base of fire and stay towards the rear, to keep the spawn point alive. Medic can spam the med packs out there because the SL keeps resupplying him.
                        For this to work you need a good point man though. SL gives verbal directives and the point man physically leads the maneuvers. SL and medic stay relatively "safe" towards the rear of the element.
                        This also helps a lot with task saturation. SL can just follow the squad while the other guys focus on movement and security. SL now has more time available to verbally direct the squad and to call in artillery and targets.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Squad Leader 101

                          I play as an SL from time to time, and I'm thinking about starting to experiment with fire teams. I'd like to divide my squad into 2 fire teams. One team's main role is to pin down enemies with suppressive fire. The other team's main role is to flank the enemy and take them out with direct or indirect fire. The biggest problem I'm having here is that 6-man squads are just a tad too small. I like to have 3 men on a fire team, but that means putting the SL and the medic in a dangerous spot one way or the other. In this game, you need to keep the SL alive, and you need to keep the medic near the SL. So, here's what I've come up with:

                          Suppressive team: support, medic, assault (SL)
                          Flanking team: assault, assault, anti-tank

                          Yes, I'm a big fan of the traditional assault class. I wouldn't even bother with anti-tank but there's so much armour in this game you can't live without 'em. Obviously you have to be flexible.

                          The biggest advantage here is that you can use simple, time-honoured tactics and you only have to issue orders to two teams (as opposed to five people). Another advantage is that even the smallest ground vehicle will hold 3 people...just order your fire teams to stay together and you won't have anyone left behind.
                          |TG-1stMIP|Mannerism​​​​​​​

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                          • #14
                            Re: Squad Leader 101

                            That's a nice combo. AT is pretty important for the reason you state. Nothing worse than getting pinned down by an AFV with no way to fight back, and the whole squad goes down.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Squad Leader 101

                              What the heck, that's EXACLTY what I'm going to try diong next time as SL (not necessarily the same classes, although I agree 100% on the fireteam)! I even mentioned this in my JediSquad topic.

                              I agree, the main thing making it easier to command two elements rather than 5 guys. It's the same logic as having squads vs commanding 31 other players. SL being on fireteam is exacly what I meant and the medic provides same firing capabilities as the Assault's firearm. Plus the medic stays close to SL on the same element.

                              My Assault team would go as follows: Acutally, I need to think a bit more about it, my head is wierd right now; I just got up from a 10 minute semi-nap



                              --JP
                              --JP

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