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Squad Leader 101


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Welcome, in this guide I will explain my thoughts and advice on what are the fundamentals of being a Squad Leader in SQUAD.


Firstly, SQUAD is a team game. Teamwork and communication is key, and a team that does not adhere to these two basic principles, is not a good one. All teams need one thing to uphold this and maintain the balance; this is where the Squad Leader comes in.


I will split this guide up into seperate chunks for easy reference and reading. These will be:


i. Introduction
ii. Earning the Stripes

1. Squad Leader Basics
2. The Squad Leader
3. R.O.P.E.
4. Rallies and Fobs
5. Infantry Tactics
6. Leadership I
7. Leadership II
8. Callouts


i. Introduction



"Alpha, secure a base of fire at this ridgeline. Bravo, flank right and take that compound."


Squad Leading is a fundamental part of Squad. A team without an SL cannot expect to perform to the standards that will be needed to win a match, therefore having someone in charge is key. Perhaps, it is due to this responsibility, that people are reluctant to take charge. However, one does not even nessersarily need to understand much about the game in order to Squad Lead. As a role, it is actually rather noob friendly. If you at all have the capacity to tell other players what they need to do, then you will be a good Squad Leader. If you can do that but also take advice from others on what you should tell those players to do, then you'll make a great Squad Leader. The key to SQUAD is, win or lose, as long as there is clear stucture and leadership, players will enjoy themselves. After all, SQUAD is a video game.



ii. Earning the Stripes





"Squad Lead, what's the plan? Can we get a Rally?"


SQUAD isn't a milsim game by any stretch. In fact, the game is quite similar to games such as Battlefield or Project Reality. They are teambased shooters with objectives to complete. Amongt all the chaos of battle, someone must step up to lead a small section of that chaos. The role of Squad Leader isn't nessersarily earnt, you do not need to work to get it, however you do need to put in the work to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Through this guide, I will try to explain how one can put in that work effectively to truly earn those stripes. As someone with the experience of this over the past 5 years, I feel my advice could benefit others.



1. Squad Leader Basics


Recap of Squad Leader basics, seasoned players may wish to skip this article.


Equipment - Squad Leader is the only role that can utilise the following:


- Rally Points - A bag in the Squad Leaders kit that can be placed down when 1 other team member is nearby and there are no enemies nearby. This grants a wave based respawn system for your squad and may be packed up manually or rearmed from an ammo box. Note that enemies can destroy this if they come close enough.

- Place FOBs and FOB Deployables - The Squad Leader can place down a FOB Radio if there is a logistical vehicle and teammember nearby. When supplies and ammunition is dropped on this FOB Radio, FOB deployables can be placed within the blue circle on the map. This can range from Spawn Bunkers to Vehicle Repair areas, Ammo Boxes to Weapon Emplacements, this list goes on.

- Command Radio Net - The Squad Leader can communicate with other Squad Leaders over a seperate radio channel called Command Net, this is nessersary to organise attacks or defences with other squads, as well as understand the intent of other squads.

- Create Fireteams - The Squad Leader can assign Fireteam leadership on squad members and assign other squad members to that fireteam. This is especially important if you wish to split up your 9 man squad into smaller sections for different jobs. Note also, that Fireteam leaders can place marks on the map, useful if you have spotters.

- Kick players from the Squad - Not all Squad members will do as they are told and some will protest and cause more harm than good. It is important to kick players from your Squad if they are not suitable for your squad. Remember, do this before you get into combat if applicable.



2. The Squad Leader



The Squad Leaders job is to ensure that his/her plan is executed as effectively and efficiently as possible. Not all plans will survive first contact, so being able to improvise and adapt is a key to success. Remember, always plan to adapt. The more adaptable a plan is, the more likely it will accomplish its objective. Always keep an objective in mind and understand how to accomplish that objective with the assets you have. There is no point is sending a 3 man squad into a frontline objective, if it makes more sense to secure a flank on a defensive objective that another squad cannot. Communication is key. Communicate with other squad leaders over Command Net to understand what needs to be done. This is especially important if there is a Commander online. Acting as a Squad Leader can be broken down into 4 easy to remember acronyms: R.O.P.E.


3. R.O.P.E.


"Alright, Rally up here. We're attacking Farmstead up ahead. We're to flank right whilst Squad 2 takes the left, the Bradley will cover up the middle. Let's go!"


Rally. Objective. Plan. Execute. 4 easy to remember acronyms that summarise the fundamentals of launching an attack/defense as a Squad Leader.


- Rally - Rally's can turn a bad day into a good one. See that FOB getting overrun by the enemy behind you? Better set up a Rally here so your team has somewhere to spawn in the meantime until the FOB is cleared or replaced. Always utilise the Rally when you can. As a wise man once said, it is always better to have something and not need it, than not have something and need it. The same can be said of the Rally.

- Objective - Understand what your objective is. It is no bother sending a squad out and not understanding what you want to do with them, it will just lead to unnessesary death, which is not fun for anyone. If you wish to defend, pick an area to defend that will either stop the enemy from doing their objective or just slow them down. If you wish to attack, pick an objective or enemy position to attack. Once your objective is clear, you can begin to plan.

- Plan - Plan out your objectives. An objective without a plan more than likely won't be completed, and even if it is, it likely wasn't fun for the team. Throwing meat into the slaughter house may have worked 80 years ago, but combat has evolved. If there's a flank you can utilise, utilise it. Ensure that the plan is clear with your teammates, so that no one will jeopardise it by mistake.

- Execution - Stay with your squad and keep clear communication during your execution. It is no good to clot up comms with unnessersary chatter, however no chatter at all, is also bad. Be sure to learn terms such as "Contact" and "Bearing" as terms like these can keep your communication clear and concise.



4. Rallies and Fobs


The Rally Point is one of the most important features of a Squad Leader. In fact, due to the fact that some Squad Leaders have placed Rally Points when they should have, I have seen entire games be clutched and won just on this alone. There is a reason this is the first part of R.O.P.E. Do not forget about your Rally Points! Ensure that you place them in a safe area where the enemy isn't too likely to destroy them, but also give your team a quick and safe way to their objective. Finding the balance between quick and safe is the most important factor of placing a Rally. Think on this when you place one down.

A FOB in a nutshell is a rally for the entire team. These should be placed in strategic areas that allow your team to move effectively between objectives without becoming a major target. Remember, if you place a FOB directly in a capture zone before you have a safe FOB on the outskirts, then that FOB is likely to quickly be overrun. Do not expect your team to have to fight over a FOB, if there are other objectives to be done. Another thing to avoid for just this purpose is "Super FOBs." A Super FOB is an FOB that has been highly barricaded with deployables. This is bad because not only does this become a major objective for the enemy team, but it draws resources, manpower and time away from your team in order to build the thing. Where once back in the days of 2015, this may have been an OP meta game, now in 2020 this becomes the biggest and easiest target for any enemy. All an enemy needs to do is simply utilise a commander support and your Super FOB will become a not so Super FOB in just a few easy artillery shells. Not to mention the fact that once the enemy has overrun this Super FOB, they can utilise the cover and deployables against you.

Be smart about your Rally Points and FOBs. Once you understand how they work, it will become second nature to utilise them well.



5. Infantry Tactics





Fire and Manuever is the meat and potatoes of the infantry. It is perhaps my most beloved tactic and was perfected during World War II by the German's, and those very same tactics are the ones we use today. The core principles of this attack method is to fire and destroy/surpress the threat, then manuever towards the enemy and vise versa. Keep doing this until the enemy position has been taken and destroyed. Be sure to utilise cover and concealement during this otherwise it will be easy for the enemy to beat it.




If a target is entirely engaged by superior firepower, then that target will not be able to manuever effectively or at all. If you are in a position where you cannot close the distance with the enemy, it is often best to beat that enemy through overwhelming firepower. An enemy that is completely engaged, will have to stop to deal with that threat, this opens up an opportunity for another squad to flank and destroy that enemy. Overwhelming firepower is employed best from safe cover, where you have room to manuever. Defilade and Enfilade often work the best. Remember, conserve your ammunition and ensure that your squad members utilise their fire and adjust drills. If a machine gunner maintains a position for too long, the enemy will zero in an destroy that threat. Additionally, a squad utilising the same base of fire for too long is likely to attract more attention than do damage. Do not give the enemy the excuse to call in fire support on you.




If a target does not present a direct threat to you, it is often wise to have your squad close the distance with that threat. There is no reason to engage from a range further than you need unless you were acting as distraction or overwhelming firepower. For example, if an enemy were utilising a compound for defense but left one of their flanks wide open. Abuse that fact and advance through that flank until you reach the compound. From there, you can destroy the enemy installation swiftly and effectively.




Another bread and butter fundamental of infantry combat. If Fire and Manuever warfare does not present itself to be the most effective, then employ a flanking manuever to change the balance. Flanking is often employed best in direct combat if the enemy have to worry about a certain flank. For example, if a Squad Leader leaves Alpha team as a base of fire to the enemies South, she/he can send Bravo team as a flank to the enemies West flank, the enemy will already be in contact and may leave their flanks open. This is a classic "Hammer and Anvil" tactic. When not in direct combat, try to close the distance with the enemy first before engaging, you may find you can use the terrain to your advantage in doing this. Once you are within striking range of the enemy, perform the killing blow.




A base of fire is a position utilised to employ weapons against an enemy force effectively. If flanking was the Hammer, then this tactic would surely be the Anvil. An effective base of fire can shift the balance of a battle very quickly, but that can also go both ways if not employed efficiently. Place your team in a position that is both defendable and open for manuevering. A base of fire team isn't there to stay permanently, so ensure that they can get out should that position become too heavily compromised. Furthermore, ensure the position is defendable so that you can employ your weapons effectively to surpress and destroy the threat.




An area that you are able to put accurate fire upon is called a "Kill Zone". This can range in sizes and the size of the kill zone will depend on the position you are in, the range you are at and what weapons you have at your disposable. Generally, a defender will try to funnel the enemy teams directly into their kill zones, whilst an attack will try to manuever around an enemy kill zone to set up their own kill zones. All skirmishes use this principle and it is important to understand the science of warfare to gain an understanding of how to keep yourself and your team alive.



6. Leadership I


"There are many aspects to leadership, but only one way to lead, and that is by example."


1. The Importance of Leadership

The majority part of leading in SQUAD has nothing to do with SQUAD. It's just plain leadership. It's getting 9 random people to work together over an objective, communicate effectively, solve problems as a group and use critical thinking and quick decision skills in a stressful environment. This can be a lot to take on at first, and no one is perfect, but once you understand how to do this I guarentee you will feel rewarded and so will your teammates. You just did a thing, be proud of that thing.


2. Responsibility

It is your responsibility to carry out a plan of attack. Squad Leaders make a lot of decisions, not always good ones, knowing how to take responsibility for those decisions can grant you a lot of respect from your teammates. Remember, not everyone will agree with your plan, so be firm in your decisions and stick to them. If someone is protesting to your plan, ensure they understand what they must be doing and stick clear to your plan. Do not hesitate and say "I think we should attack." Replace that with "We're attacking, get ready to move out." Your language should be confident and clear. Squad Leading means responsibility, and responsibility means taking the blame. Do not blame your teammates, blaming leads to frutration and frustration leads to negativity. Once negativity breaks out in your squad, the squad shuts down. Try to remain magnanimous in your role, your teammates will respect you for taking responsibility and will be more likely to work with you on working out your next plan of attack. Additionally, everyone loves a charity. If you can tell your squad members, "I want you to...", they will feel more involved with the plan. This not only keeps them engaged in the plan, but also engaged in the game. SQUAD is a video game after all.


3. Decision Making

Squad Leaders make a lot of decisions. Remember, a bad decision can be better than no decision at all. Keep aware of how the game is playing out and stay in check with other squad leaders, this will help shape your decisions. Once you feel the flow of the game, you should become a part of that flow through your decision making. The trickiest part of a game can be in those opening stages, choosing where to go first and what you want to do. You will find that as the game plays, decision making will get easier through time, as more opportunities will present themselves. Be confident in picking up those opportunities and being clear to your squad and what decision has been made. A decision folds directly into the plan.


4. Attitude

No one likes a loud mouth. No one likes a hypocrite. Everyone likes a leader. Be a leader. The moment you begin to blame your teammates, point out flaws and not engage in making the best of a bad situation is the moment your leadership values fade. If leadership fades, the entire squad crumbles. Try to remain unfazed, even when the crap hits the fan, remain cool and collective. Lead your men how you would want to be lead. Remaining cool and leading by example will surely maintain a high level of respect within your squad. Even if you are not winning. Even if perhaps you are not a very good tactictioner. Your squad will respect that you kept your cool and lead to the end.


5. Positive Reinforcement

Everyone loves praise. It is wired directly into our brains. Be sure to praise your squad members on what they did right. Even if your squad member missed that enemy tank with his AT, praise him for his effort on doing so and give advice on what to do next time. Your squad members will not appreciate it if Captain Hindsight comes along and says "You shouldn't have done that, now we'll die." Infact, say something more along the lines of "Good effort, lets all fall back, rearm and flank for a second attempt."



7. Leadership II


"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."


1. Radio Etiquette

Local channel should be your go to channel. If your squad is in shouting distance, then use local channel. You never know when someone may need to use squad channel during your briefing to call out an imminent enemy attack. Squad channel should only be used for things the entire squad will need to hear, like squad objectives, enemy FOBs and imminent enemy attacks. Any other chatter is better suited for local channel. Additionally, as a Squad Leader, you shoud get used to using your Command Net. Be sure to call out enemy FOBs, enemy armour and significant enemy attacks over Command Net. There is no harm in other squads having that knowledge, should they find themselves against that threat in the future.


2. Rapport

I don't know about you, but I like a bit of banter in my games. It's an excellent way of expressing character and making new friends. Your squad members are more likely to get along with you and listen to your orders if you have some character about yourself. After all, personal character is about 50% of leadership. Fortunately, we're in a video game and not in a real world firefight. So there is more room for jokes here, just be sure they don't directly impeed your ability to lead and achieve your objectives. No point in knock knock jokes over the squad net when an enemy MBT is closing in on your position. But remember, humour can take the edge off of losing. Know how to build a rapport with your team and you'll find yourself gaining a much more friendly control over them.


3. Other Squad Leaders

Players tend to get less talkative when things are going badly in a game of SQUAD, and start slowly tuning out - except for Squad Leaders. The verbal lashings that SL's bestow upon each other during a match of SQUAD is truly something to behold. Whenever negativity and blame starts being thrown around like a hot potato, people's first instinct is to shoot back. The problem is that if someone's blaming you for something - even if it's not your fault - trying to correct them is like putting out a fire with gasoline. Don't argue with other SL's. Even if you could crush his argument with logic so undeniable it would make Plato proud, don't argue with other SL's. Don't ever make anyone else wrong in this game. If someone's a bad SL, that's simply another factor in the situation you're dealing with. Don't call him out, and don't start a flame war in Command. He may be new, he may be having a bad day, he may not have read this guide - it doesn't matter. SL infighting just undermines the morale of your entire team. Your SL's may be bad, but they're what you've got to work with, and it's better to handle your corner of the war as best you can. If an SL is frothing at the mouth on Command, ordering you to pull your squad back to his position, either calmly explain your objective to him and carry on, or calmly relay the censored version of his request to your squad and start falling back. If you harbor doubts about the other squads, always keep them to yourself - never share them with your squad. Remember to compliment other SL's that are doing a good job and thank them when they come to your aid. Reprimands only get you an inch where positive reinforcement gets you a mile.


4. Mistakes

You will make mistakes as Squad Leader. It is human nature to make mistakes. Embrace those mistakes and learn from them. Not only does it make you a better person in reality, but it will make your a better Squad Leader in SQUAD. Keep making decisions, keep giving orders and do not freeze up. The moment you freeze up is the moment all those bad decisions start rushing in your head, clouding your judgement and creating a minefield to walk through to find the answer. Keep on top of yourself and take responsibility for your mistakes and move on.


5. No man left behind

No, not the USMC quote. What I mean by this is: Do not leave people hanging. If someone is asking for ammo, work out a way to get them ammo. If someone is complaining about a problem they have, work a way to solve that problem. A Squad Leader should effectively be a father to their squad. Give them what they need and make sure they feel like they are getting what they want. Keep a firm hand on the situation and try to ensure that all needs are met. Your squad should be self sufficient, but do not assume that this will always be the case.



8. Callouts



Below are a list of callouts very common to the game of SQUAD:



"Form up on me"
"Form up on Squad Leader"
"Loose formation"
"Tight formation"
"Watch your spacing!"
"Spread out"
"Stay on me"
"Squadmate on me for Rally"
"Squadmates on me for Radio"
"Lead the way"
"Take me to it"



"Weapons tight"
"Weapons hot"
"Hold your fire"
"Wait for my command"
"Standby squad"



"Hold spawns"
"Hold spawns for Rally"
"Spawn at FOB"
"Spawn at Rally"
"Rally is hot"
"FOB is hot"



"Enemy movement"
"I have visual on X"
"...multiple infantry!"
"...enemy armor!"
"...bearing Two-One-Zero!"



"Return fire!"
"Covering fire!"
"Suppressive fire!"
"Keep their heads down!"
"I want fire superiority!"
"Lay it on them!"
"Find some cover!"
"Cover me"
"I'm covering you"
"Follow the tracers!"
"Conserve your ammo!"
"Short, controlled bursts"
"Empty your mags!"
"Right flank is folding!"
"Left flank is folding!"
"Secure left flank!
"Secure right flank!"
"Cease firing!"



"Enemy down"
"Target down"
"Enemy armor destroyed"
"Enemy is retreating"
"Friendly is hit!"
"X is hit!"



"Move in!"
"Slow and steady"
"Stay low"
"Don't skyline yourself"
"Hold position!"
"Hold position, wait for stragglers"
"Roll up their right flank!"
"Roll up their left flank!"
"Regroup with your squad"
"Pull back to us!"
"Dogpile on X!"
"Get bodies on cap zone!"
"Sweep the area"



"Clear those buildings!"
"Clear those buildings top to bottom!"
"X, you're on point"
"Set weapons to full auto"
"Check your corners!"
"Watch those windows!"
"Watch those rooftops!"
"Building clear"
"Town is clear"



"Enemies are capping X!"
"Enemy has capped X!"
"Enemy HAB on (your name here)'s position, mark it!"
"Enemy Radio on (your name here)'s position, mark it!"
"Enemy HAB is down!"
"Enemy Radio is down!"



"Fall back!"
"Fall back to Move Marker!"
"Fall Back to Rally!"



"Set up a perimeter"
"I want eyes in all directions"
"I want X on overwatch"
"I want guys on rooftops"
"I want people at windows"
"Watch for that X"
"I want eyes looking East"
"Area clear"
"North is clear"
"Man those emplacements!"
"Enemies in compound!"
"They're breaching north!"



"Friendlies in the area!"
"Those are friendlies!"
"Check your targets!"
"Check your fire!"
"That was friendly"
"No friendlies in the area, shoot on sight!"



"Frag out!"
"Get frags out!"
"Smoke out!"
"Get smokes out!"
"Wait for smokes!"
"Mark with colored smoke"
"Marked with red smoke"
"Grenade, get down!"
"Bad frag, get down!"



"Ȁ̶̮̤̰͎̖̮̞̝͖̠l̵̩̪͚͙̝̏͝l̶̡̬̗̊͆͛̆̓͝a̸͕̥͌̇̈́̾̈́ḩ̴̧̪͙͉̩̱͉̹́̊̓̅́̈́̈́̌̕͠ͅṵ̶͉͚̆̓̀͠ ̵̗͚̭̫̝͓̳̹͕̿̎̄́͐̽͗͝Ā̷͉͓̗̜͕͍k̶̞̥͕̈́͜b̵͍̩̦̲̪̉͗̽̊͆̎͝͝͠ḁ̴͚̺͒̐̑͑̿͠r̷̼͇͖̬͊̀̓̋̎̔̎̈̐!̵̩̭̙̖̮͑̾ͅ"



"You're hitting low, bring it up"
"You're hitting high, bring it down"
"Adjust 5 meters left"
"Adjust 5 meters right"
"Good hits, good hits"
"Pace your shots"
"Target down"
"MG, get ready to displace"
"MG, displace!"
"MG, deploy on Eye marker!"
"MG, notify me when deployed"
"MG, be ready to return fire"
"MG, commence firing"
"Lay it on them, MG!"
"I want to hear that MG firing!"
"Ease up on that MG!"
"MG, cease firing, cease firing!"



"I want LATs moving to intercept"
"What's the ETA on that rocket?"
"LAT, how's your ammo?"
"LATs and HATs, resupply here"
"LAT, can you get a visual?"
"LAT, it hasn't seen you"
"LAT, you're in its blind spot"
"LAT, you are safe to approach"
"LAT, zero for X meters"
"Good rocket"



"Friendly mortars, requesting Fire Mission"
"...bearing One-Four-Eight, Elevation One-Four-Two-One"
"Fire when ready!"
"Fire for effect"
"Rounds complete"
"Good hits, good hits"
"Mortars, walk your shots left and right."
"Mortars, shift West 100 meters"
"Mortars, shift East 100 meters"
"Mortars are short by 100 meters!"
"Mortars are over by 100 meters!"
"We have mortars on standby"
"Mark your targets for mortars"
"Friendly mortars inbound, let us know how they land"
"Mortars are dry"
"They've got us zeroed!"
"Shells incoming in 20"
"Shells incoming!"
"Find overhead cover!"
"Mortars, danger close! You're hitting friendlies!"
"Mortars, cease firing, we're moving in"



"Comms short and sweet, please"
"Clear comms, please!"
"Clear comms, I'm radioing Command"
"Squad 2, say again?"
"Type it in chat please"
"What's the situation down at X?"
"What's the ETA on X?"
"All squads, be advised"
"Squad 4, be advised"
"Never mind, disregard"
"Wrong chat, disregard"



"Squad 2, we're holding, over."
"Squad 2, we're pinned down, over."
"Squad 2, heavy resistance in X, over."
"Squad 2, no resistance in X, over."
"Squad 2, we've got your flank, over."
"Squad 2, we're waiting on you to engage, over."
"Squad 2, we've taken heavy casualties."
"Squad 2, X is hot, over."
"Squad 2, no enemies sighted at X, over."
"Squad 2, enemy squad moving in on your position from the Northwest, over."
"Squad 2, enemy armor headed your way."
"Squad 2, we need reinforcements at X, over."
"Squad 2, we're losing X, over."
"Squad 2, we're on our way to relieve you, over."
"Squad 2, we're falling back."



"Engines off until I say"
"Is everyone onboard?"
"Engines on"
"Slow down"
"Speed it up"
"Stay on the road"
"Get off the road!"
"Stop the vehicle"
"Disembark at Move Marker"
"Embark at Move Marker"
"Friendly armor inbound!"



"Tell me what you see"
"Be my eyes"
"You're assigned to Squad X"
"Reinforce Squad X"
"I want regular updates"
"Let me know when it's done"
"Regroup when it's done"



"I want shovels on X"
"I want my squad on shovel duty"
"Shovel that up"
"Shovel that down"



"Marked on map"
"Please mark on map"
"Mark your contacts"
"Is X icon still accurate?"
"Is my marker accurate?"
"Clean up your markers"
"Give me a grid for X"
"Grid B-Five-One-Five"



- Attack / Secure
- Defend / Hold
- Flank
- Search & Destroy
- Ambush
- Relief
- Reinforce
- Regroup
- Withdraw

- Recon
- Recover Vehicle X
- Fortify / Build
- Logistics / Logi Run
- Transport



- Point
- Recon
- Patrol
- Flank
- Base of Fire
- Fire Support
- Guard Duty
- Overwatch
- Tank Hunting
- Shovel Duty
- Ammo Resupply
- Standby
- Pair w/ X Squad Member (ex. Medic and Machine Gunner)



- "Good work, squad."

- "Great effort guys, well done!"

- "Tough luck guys, we'll get 'em next time."
- "Unlucky squad, we did what we could."



*Credit to Vance for inspiration.

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