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The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

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  • [GUIDE] The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

    The next in a series of how-to's and guides for the modern battlefield represented in Squad.

    I would much rather wear out a set of tires then a pair of boots.

    With the release of the first wave of vehicles in A7, the start of a paradigm shift is upon us in Squad. Players have had a few weeks now to get the feel for the new toys, their capabilities and, hopefully, their weaknesses. Vehicles are a new tool available on the battlefield, and like any tool, in the proper hands they are capable of doing magnificent things, but in the wrong hands there can be a lot of damage done with them. My intent here is to share my experiences and ideas to create a SOP of sorts for the vehicles currently in the game that can also serve as a template that translates to newer vehicles as they are introduced going forward.

    First, the vehicles themselves. Each faction has at its disposal an armed vehicle that can be used for troop transport and fire support.

    US Army: M1151 HMMVW. Armed with a M2 (Ma Deuce) .50 caliber machine gun. Seats 5. Up-armored.
    Russian Army: BTR-80 APC. Armed with a 14.5mm machine gun. Zoom optics. Seats 13. Armored.
    Insurgent/Militia: Technical jeep, armed with the Dshk .50 caliber machine gun. Seats 3. Lightly armored. Highly mobile.

    Mechanized brings a huge amount of adaptability as well as firepower to the battlefield.

    The focus of this post is using any of these vehicles as more than just a fast transport for troops (which they are) or as a toy for lone-wolf hunting of other vehicles (which is how they are primarily used).

    In Squad, there is an abundance of anti-vehicle weaponry available to each team. With cover as well as the limited control over any area due to the small number (relative to the map size) of players on each team, vehicles are extremely vulnerable to being flanked and destroyed by these weapons. Considering the value to the team that each of these vehicles can bring, both in terms of the number of tickets they represent as well as the heavy firepower they provide, they are far too valuable to be used carelessly and exposed needlessly to enemy anti-tank weaponry. Specifically speaking, the Russian BTR-80 alone is worth 30 tickets. Killing one with just a crew of 2 inside represents a loss of 32 tickets to the enemy team. If you consider that on a server with 70 slots there are 35 players on a team, destroying a BTR-80 with a driver and gunner is the same as killing 91% of the opposing team instantly. Destroying a BTR-80 with a full squad inside results in essentially killing the entire enemy team in one fell swoop. In terms of overall impact on a team, if a team starts a round with 500 tickets, losing a single BTR-80 represents a loss of 6% of that team's total tickets. While HMMVWs and Technicals have a lesser ticket value, they are still substantial and inflict heavy losses to a team when they go down.

    So, these assets are incredibly valuable to a team. As other vehicles are introduced to the game their values will only go up and their loss to enemy fire will have larger impacts on a team, so I believe it is a good idea to start developing some good practices and tactics now so that they translate naturally to the next wave of vehicles coming.

    Enter the mechanized infantry unit. A Mechanized Infantry squad in Squad is a single squad (or perhaps 2 - covered later) that utilizes a vehicle or vehicles to provide fast, safe transport of the infantry element of the squad to an engagement and then both the infantry as well as the vehicles compliment one another in protection and fire support. Mechanized infantry units never let the infantry element nor the armor element operate separated from one another. The infantry provides support and protection for the vehicle, and the vehicle provides protection and support for the infantry element. I will touch on a few ways of doing this here. Hopefully others can add to this and then everyone can try to apply some of these to their game and add new ideas here.

    The Basics

    First, if a vehicle(s) is integrated into a squad, the Squad Leader should always be dismounted when not being transported from point A to point B. In English, this means that the Squad Leader should never be the driver nor the gunner when you are expecting contact. Designate two members of your squad to drive and man the weapons on the vehicle and let the SL lead the ground element.

    Why? Well, I hope these are obvious reasons but:

    ) You cannot place a rally point while in a vehicle
    ) You cannot spot threats and mark them for your squad and the team
    ) You cannot deploy FOBs or emplacements
    ) You cannot keep control of the infantry portion of your squad, which comprises almost 80% of your squad, leaving them directionless and leaderless.

    Second to that, you should not have any of your medics in a driver or gunner position in a vehicle. I assume the reasons for this are beyond obvious.

    Once the game introduces the concept of requiring a crewman kit to operate certain vehicles then this problem will resolve itself.

    One exception to the SL rule is if there are 2 squads working together to form a mechanized infantry unit, with one squad consisting entirely of infantry and the second squad is responsible for the vehicles utilized.

    Dismounted Patrol

    There are some instances where a "patrol" of sorts is called for. This is usually on a larger map and during the first rollout phase of the round where both sides are advancing toward their objectives but contact has not been taken yet. At a point the SL determines, the infantry is to dismount and take the lead. By that I mean that the infantry element of a mechanized unit, when dismounted, should always go ahead of the vehicle. This is especially true in urban environments or areas that have a lot of cover and concealment positions for enemy troops. The purpose is to scout for any potential threats, engage those threats and help direct the vehicle to a position of safety that will allow the vehicle to provide fire support on those threats. By sending the dismounts forward, you help reduce the risk of a vehicle driving into an enemy ambush or taking a rpg shot.

    The way I generally do this is to send out my squad in an upside-down "V" formation when traveling moving. The intent is to cover as much ground as possible while protecting the flanks of the vehicle to the best of our ability.

    The SL should mark an objective and the infantry should clear to the designated point forward and then call the vehicle up to their position, wash-rinse-repeat.

    When contact is taken the SL needs to mark the threats immediately and the squad needs to get suppressing fire onto those positions immediately. While this is happening the vehicles can move up to take over the suppression and allow the infantry unit to advance on and destroy the threats.

    Assaulting an Objective

    When mechanized units go on the offensive against a point, things get a little hectic and the tactics vary depending on the situation, but there are a few general things that I've found work well.

    First, no vehicle has a place directly assaulting a point without infantry support. The number of threats and directions that those threats can come from, and the value of that vehicle to the team, should be enough to dissuade anyone from directly assaulting a defended position with a vehicle.

    Instead, I prefer to use vehicles as stand-off fire support and suppression. This is especially true if they can do this from a secure area, such as an area where friendly troops have established control and ownership, greatly reducing the threat of a flank from enemy infantry or vehicles. If the area is relatively secured, I may leave one or two infantry with the vehicle to help protect it. Squad members who have the AT, grenadier or even the SAW role are ideal for this as their weapons can be used in a stand-off fashion and/or provide additional suppression of the target.

    If we are assaulting from an unsecured area, I prefer to let the vehicle driver and gunner free to roam the perimeter of the target. By remaining mobile it reduces the chances of an enemy element getting an opportunity to flank the vehicle. It also helps increase the chances of seeing where enemy reinforcements are approaching from and suppress those units as well as the intelligence gained to help the team element the spawn point.

    There are a lot of other variables involved so those are just general guides. Each situation is unique and every player has their own style, so I'm sure there are going to be a lot of different strategies and opinions on the best usage of vehicles to assault a point. I look forward to seeing those thoughts shared here.

    Defending an Objective

    Using vehicles to defend a point has it's advantages, but it requires a lot of help from the infantry element to make it work.

    First, vehicles defending are, almost by definition, sitting ducks. Most likely the vehicle will be somewhat stationary and confined to a specific area when acting on defense, especially if directly on a flag. If you want to utilize a vehicle as an additional emplacement, then you certainly can but I would only do this if you can offer it additional protection by building sandbags or hesco around it, protecting its flanks and making a much smaller target by making it hull down. The problem with this is you are severely limiting mobility of the vehicle and it can be avoided by the enemy if they know its location and firing arcs. You will have to rely on your infantry to cover the exposed sides of the vehicle in this case.

    For reasons I described above in the Patrol and Assault portions of this post, a mobile vehicle on defense is probably a bad idea due to it's lack of protection from almost any infantry elements. A lone wolf vehicle of any sort roaming a defensive position under enemy attack is going to be killed by the enemy infantry and/or vehicles being used to assault a position.

    The best way to use a vehicle to defend a position is, again, in a stand-off fashion away from the point and in an area where at least one flank is controlled by friendly forces. This probably means a location overlooking a capture point or other defense objective, but not directly on that point, and supported by deployed defensive structures. Using the zoom optics of the vehicle or the binocular capabilities of the SL to spot targets for the defenders on the point and to provide suppressing fire on advancing elements would be the best usage of a vehicle on defense.


    I've only scratched the surface of this topic here. There are many more aspects of vehicle usage and tactics that I haven't talked about. I'm anxious to see what opinions and experiences all of you have to share as we build a repository of knowledge and tactics that will help all of us make the game of Squad here at TacticalGamer more enjoyable for everyone.


  • #2
    Re: The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

    Great write-up, Dispo. Thank you.

    For those wishing to read more, the 1st MIP relied heavily on US Army Field Manual 3.21, "The Stryker Brigade Combat Team" when developing its SOPs.


    • #3
      Re: The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

      Firstly, great post.

      I thought a video could be used here to highlight some great points from PR:

      You will notice in this one that [MENTION=22091]dbzao[/MENTION] is the SL and is leading the dismounted element. SOP here for 1 APC is usually to set the squad up in the following way:

      1 x SL
      2 x Medic
      1 x AT
      1 x MG
      1 x Rifle Ammo/Other

      This gives you the capabilities to kill and support anything that comes your way. The only glaring weakness you might find is a lack of air support - in that you hope to liaise with the team, or in a pinch try and pick up your own AA kit if buzzed by enemy offensive air.

      In this video, formations are lost pretty quickly due to the contact with the enemy. DB naturally takes his guys up the covered position away from the direct eyes of the enemy team. His most valued weapon is shown multiple times - his radio and map markers. This allows him to use [MENTION=49610]TBob[/MENTION] in the gunner seat to engage threats in order of danger. Infantry first, trans chopper as opportunity, and smoking a tank.

      Flanking a heavily defended and dug in team like in this position usually required a lot of good intel and "pre-game" work. Where are the enemy heavy AT kits, where are the mortars, where are the armour and air assets, and do they have TOW emplacements.

      To Dispo's point, the APC is held back and acts as an IFV at this point. Its heavy gun is brought to bear on infantry and vehicles, and ATGM used on the tank. Had it been assaulting the flag directly, likely it would have succumbed to a light AT shot early on due to the number of contacts on the FOB. Only in certain circumstances would you mount up the infantry and go barrelling into that position, mostly if there were few alternatives and you had a lot of open ground to cover.

      A squad like this benefits hugely when working "off" another friendly squad - you can see hints of that towards the end where DB is coordinating with [MENTION=16023]Portable.Cougar[/MENTION] and his infantry to flank the position.

      APC's bring mobility, cover, and a lot of fire power. One of these turning up in your area with a good squad to run it will cause you to have a bad day. Yes, its a PR video, but this is the end goal we are working for.....great times to come!


      • #4
        Re: The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

        Even though the video shows Project Reality game play, the principles are identical and it was a textbook example of how infantry can support armor while the armor is also supporting infantry. Great coms, great teamwork and the objective was neutralized.

        As a side note, the BMP3 is a death machine and I can't wait for them to make their way into Squad.



        • #5
          Re: The Squad Leader's Guide to Mechanized Infantry

          Yeah, great example of maneuver, combined fires, and the importance of intel and communications.




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