The Importance of Squad Leadership
In this guide you will learn about the most difficult, rewarding and important job in the army. As a squad leader, you are the glue that holds the army together. You motivate your players to play well and have fun. You take orders from the field commander (FC) and turn them into effective action on the field. Good squad leaders are the reason an army win battledays, and this guide will assist you in developing into a good leader.
Squad leading comes with a broad set of responsibilities. Rather than covering them all in detail, which would result in a much larger wall of text, this list quickly gives an overview of each. Developing skills in these areas will be up to you over the course of the campaign.
- Squad Manager: you must set loadouts, equipments and camos that are appropriate for the map and mission. As your situation changes over the course of the game, it is your responsibility to adapt your squad’s loadout and equipment to make sure you can complete your mission.
- Spawn Point: you are the primary spawn point for your squad. Position yourself accordingly and use this to complete your mission; safe spawn points are worth more than heroically dead squad leaders!
- Radio Man: you will be communicating between squads and with the FC constantly over the course of the game. Doing so effectively is essential to good army coordination and mission success.
- Squad Tactician and Commander: you are responsible for using your squad members and their skills effectively to accomplish the mission. Whether on attack or defense, give each member of your squad specific orders on what you want them to do, and ensure that they are in position to support each other; do not let people wander and do not waste their talent with vague or incoherent orders!
- Model Player and Benevolent Leader: you must be the player you want your players to be. Always keep a positive attitude, always communicate clearly, calmly and professionally and always make sure your players know you expect the same from them. Encourage them, guide them and ensure that they are motivated to win.
This duty has been split out from the others since it relates to what you do before and after a round. You might not have any bars, but you’ve still got leadership responsibility! Remember that pad and paper? Note down who is in your squad for every round and how they performed in their roles. At the start of the round, write down what squad you are leading (e.g. Bravo) and the people inside. As soon as the round is complete, jot down a few notes about what you noticed your squad doing well and doing poorly. When the battleday is over, you are responsible for posting to the after action report (AAR) thread with your squad for each round. You are also responsible for noting people who have done well enough in some area to rank up. As squad leader, you are the primary channel through which players get noticed - do not shirk this important responsibility!
Basic Tactics will cover two simple maneuvers which apply to just about every map and mission, as well as a brief discussion of how to use squad kits effectively. There exists a huge world of tactics beyond this, and you are encouraged to think up your own as you develop as a leader. Don't rely on micromanaging your squad as that will just put stress on everyone, just give clear, concise orders before major maneuvers.
Overwatch/Bounding Overwatch: simply stated, a unit in overwatch is covering another unit as it moves. The overwatching unit should have good cover and clear fields of fire towards the direction of advance that do not endanger friendly soldiers. Bounding overwatch describes a maneuver in which two units coordinate to leap frog forward, with one unit always in overwatch while the other moves. Applying this to a BF squad requires good coordination. While it sounds simple, it is not something pub-trained FPS players do by default and can be quite difficult to maintain in the chaos of a battle. When moving your squad from flag to flag, identify cover, stick together, know when to retreat or hold for a better chance, and make a coordinated push for the objective. With practice, this maneuver will become second nature and can be executed nearly as fast as the standard “zerg to the flag”.
Flanking: a flanking maneuver is one in which you to bypass the enemy and position yourself to the side or rear of their main force. A single soldier, a squad, a division or a whole army can pull off a flanking maneuver, and if successful it is often game changing. As a squad leader, you have yourself and your squad members to work with. If you are attacking a point, you should quickly make a read on how to approach it, and determine if it’s worth splitting your force. It is important to remember that the enemy is intelligent as well, and they might try to out flank you as you move. Flanking is extremely situational, but generally speaking, you want a scenario which gives good cover to the flanker, has the enemy focused on something else, and which will allow you to quickly take advantage of the chaos created by the flanker hitting the enemy position from the back.
Things You Should NEVER Do
The cardinal rule of squad leading is that you must never act unprofessionally or in a way that sets a bad example for your players. Even small side statements like, “well, we lost this one” or “what the hell does the FC wants me to do?” can add up into a demoralized squad that doesn’t want to follow orders. Remember, even if you have one bad round, you could have good ones later in the day. If you’ve soured your squad you might not be able to bring them back on board. Some points:
- Never panic or freak out: never even hint that you don’t know what it is you’re supposed to be doing; if the FC is a total crap-show, you as squad leader should take responsibility and invent something useful for your squad to do. The last thing a squad wants to hear is a squad leader that is clearly in over their head.
- Never rage or bitch: never, ever, EVER bitch or rage at your squad. You can forcefully correct mistakes that are correctable, but we have players of all skill levels here and as a squad leader you must NEVER make anyone feel unwelcome.
- Never stop talking to your squad: make sure your squad is hearing your voice, even if its just encouragement, frequently. If your squad chat is silent, fill the silence and encourage your squad members to talk. A silent squad is a great way to discourage future attendance.
Always be clear, concise and targeted with your orders. Never give ambiguous orders, always ask for acknowledgement and acknowledge orders. Lead by example and have discipline with your comms.
Talking to Other Squad Leaders
On most objectives, you’ll find another squad leader with you. After the FC gives all SLs their orders, it is often up to you to communicate with each other and organize your attack or defense in more detail. For this, don’t worry too much about rank, or chain of command. If the other SL isn’t saying anything, tell him where to go, even if he’s above you in rank. Don’t be afraid to talk. Channel commander is not a one-way line. It exists, so you can talk among yourselves and organize your stuff. Don’t be afraid that it might clutter up comms. As long as you keep it short and precise, it can only benefit the army.
When to Take Initiative
As a squad leader on the ground, you will perceive opportunities that the FC may not be aware of. You will have to make a hard decision - take advantage of that momentary opening or continue on with your mission as ordered. If you make the right call, you’ll be the hero who saved the round. If you make the wrong call, you’ll be the idiot who couldn’t follow orders. No pressure! The general rule of thumb is that if you want to make a move, clear it with the FC first. If the FC agrees with the move, you’ll get the OK quickly. If he disagrees, you’ll hear why and be able to take solace in the fact that there is an overall plan.
But things fall apart. If Channel Commander is too congested or the FC is non-responsive, you will have to make your call on your own. Think about the overall strategy, how the round is going, what other people are calling out. If a flag is truly undefended, you can send two guys in to make it blink or neutralize it, forcing the enemy to over-respond and alleviating pressure elsewhere without abandoning your current mission. If your squad is wiped and can’t get orders to spawn in, and you see a flag blinking without any support, think about the overall strategy and then make the call to spawn in on it or not. Call it in to the FC as you do it and make sure to repeat yourself as necessary for him to know what’s going on.
The thing you must never do is not communicate back to the FC as soon as you have the opportunity. If you made a move without saying anything, call back to the FC as soon as you can. Do not run off and then complain later when the FC is giving you orders that assume you’re at your original position. You are responsible for giving timely sitreps to your FC - don’t try to be a hero and leave him hanging.
Leadership Outside the Battleday
Our final section cover some basic points about leadership beyond the battle. A squad leader doesn’t hang up his leadership spurs the second the battleday ends. He must continue to demonstrate leadership throughout the week, in practice, and when just pubbing around. He should be setting an example on the forums with good AARs, good contributions to strategy threads and an overall commitment to getting better himself and improving other players.
The most underrated thing a squad leader can do is turn any random pubbing session into a practice. If you see a couple guys from the army playing, gently nudge them into the same squad and see if they’re up for playing it like a battleday. Generally, people who signed up for GC did so precisely because they wanted to play in a good squad, so this is not usually hard to do. Once you’ve got the squad together, practice everything in this manual. Tell your impromptu squad what you’re doing and get them to buy into it as a way to get better.
If you have officer aspirations, what you do outside the battleday will be hugely important in deciding whether or not you get the promotion. We have plenty of players who will show up on Saturday, but the number of players who will continue to show the same intensity through the week is very small. Make yourself one of that elite few and we will notice.
Guide made by StarfisherEcho and Cheesy.
Last updated by mrBLUE9. Aug, 2021.