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Thoughts on leading a unit

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Hi folks,


I don't think I'm available on Saturday for Raz' leadership training, but of course I have lots of opinions, so I thought perhaps I'd put them down for posterity's sake. ;)




There are three levels of command structure (as I see it) in EU3's platoon structure: Platoon leader, Squad leader, and Fire Team leader.  Each have their own obligations, scope of responsibility and function.  Regardless of the leader's position in the platoon, the common objectives are all the same:


1) Complete the mission objective.

2) Return all soldiers to base alive.

3) Return all assets to base in working order.


Unless the mission is a "clear the town" type mission, "killing all the enemy forces" is not on this list.  Indeed, I've led one or two missions where we barely shot at all.


I would say the most important characteristic of a good leader is situational awareness: you have to be able to assess the things that are going on around you quickly, and make authoritative decisions.  Sometimes there is no right decision, but you just have to get things moving.  Standing around thinking about what to do, or appearing indecisive, leads to situations where people get killed.


On leading a FIRE TEAM - being a Fire Team Leader (FTL)


The fire team leader's role is to implement the squad leader's tactical plan which completes the mission objective.  The FTL leads by example, taking decisive actions which maneuvers the team into superior fighting positions.  The FTL is the primary contact with the Squad Leader, making reports on the team's progress and on any new battlefield information as it appears.


FTL Checklist:


Ensure everyone in the Fire Team:


1) is on allocated radio channel and knows how to use their radio;

2) carries a loadout of gear appropriate to their role, modified as required by the Squad Leader;

3) has, and is using, earplugs;

4) knows their role in the Fire Team;

5) knows who will replace whom if the Team takes casualties (for example, who will call in to Squad Lead if the FTL is out of action, who will lead the FT).


On leading a SQUAD - being a Squad Leader (SL)


The squad leader's role is to implement the platoon commander's strategic plan which completes the mission objective.  The SL directs the Fire Teams, being aware of their relative positions and giving them move and action objectives which lead them into the overall mission. The SL should coordinate with other squads to implement the strategy.  The SL remains in contact with the Platoon Commander, making reports on the squad's progress and relaying new battlefield information acquired from the teams.  The Squad Leader should not be a front line unit, but should support the Fire Teams as required, especially in maneuvering the squad medic into positions where needed.


It's a dangerous thing to micromanage two fireteams: the SL should give the FTLs movement and action objectives (move here, take this compound, destroy that vehicle, etc) and then let them decide how to implement.  Otherwise, the FTL is just another rifleman.  Giving the FTLs the agency to implement the SL's tactics gives them practice, allowing them the opportunity to try out skills that they can eventually use as a Squad Leader.


SL Checklist:


A) SL must:

1) create radio channel(s) for the squad;

2) coordinate with Platoon Commander in the development of a Strategic plan of action;

3) know how to get in touch with other squads and elements (Vortex, Torch, Logi, etc).


B) Ensure the Fire Team Leaders:

1) are on appropriate radio channel(s) and have backups to communicate with the SL in the event they are injured and unresponsive;

2) are aware of the strategic and tactical plans to be implemented by the fire teams;

3) are aware of any special equipment their teams must carry to achieve the objective (explosives, etc).


On leading a PLATOON - being a Platoon Commander (PC)


The platoon leader is really only needed when there are multiple squads to manage: if there are Alpha, Bravo and Torch elements, for example, that's too much for any one squad leader, and it really helps to have a Platoon Commander to manage all those elements and let the individual SLs concentrate on their specific objectives.  The Platoon commander's role is to develop the overall strategy for completing the mission objective.  The PC can either make the plan completely independently or in conjunction with the Squad Leaders, but the PC always has the final say on how a plan will be carried out.


The Platoon Commander should not micromanage the squads or fire teams directly - they can develop objectives for the squads to complete, but it's the role of the SLs and FTLs to figure out how to achieve these.  If the Platoon Commander overrides the decisions of a SL, it can lead to loss of morale, not to mention hurt feelings.  The Platoon Commander's role is largely planning and logistics: if you want to shoot things, you probably shouldn't take this role.  In fact, if you've come up with a good plan, you've got good Squad Leaders, and nothing goes way out of the ordinary, you might not even have anything to do other than coordinate comms.


The PC should modify the mission strategy based on reports coming in from the field.  For example if the plan calls for a team to assault a compound and it turns out the compound is filled with tanks the team can't reasonably overcome, then the plan needs to change.  A good PC will liaise with the Squad Leaders on the ground to come up with a plan that will work.


PC Checklist:


The Platoon Commander must:


1) create a plan which uses all the elements at their disposal;

2) take into account the disposition of squads when creating a plan (For example, don't create a plan which uses CAS to just destroy all the targets, because that'll give nothing for all the other players to do);

3) ensure the various Squads know how to reach Command element (via Long range and short range radios);

4) ensure each squad knows their role in the strategy.


There you go - there's my two cents!


- R

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Think its discipline training that is required. There is a constant insubordination and undermining of command by personnel without anykind of command authority.

You won't believe how much criticizim and suggestions is thrown at squad leaders and platoon commander about their command decisions, it just needs to stop.


You can give constructive feedback to person in charge above you, but not start sharing your views how to make it better during mission (unless asked). 



Also on related note, remember to keep in touch of your commanding officer during situational developments. Example. ambushed convoy doesn't mean you should go AWOL on to the AO once the threat is neutralized or evaded, but contact command and organize, if they are dead, someone take temporary command and organize.



P.S Fireteam leaders do not forget about your role, thou many seem to play it as just another rifleman. It has authority over others within the fireteam

and can act within the lines of squad leaders orders (example. during "hold position", you can order your fellow fireteam members to position the way you see fit).

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