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The Cheesy Tactical Guide: Part One - Basic Soldiering
By salt. Cheesy_LeScrub
Soldiering. Being a Squad-mate. What does it mean to you? Soldiering gets me more riled up than beer and football on a Friday night. Soldiers, the infantry, are on the ground to win the fight; to close with and kill the enemy; to get on his Flag, in his FOB, in his pit, in his face: to wreck his day. Your focus is the Objective. Whatever it may be. Whatever your Squad Leader tells you it is. You’re there, with your boots on the ground, balls-deep in the♥♥♥♥♥♥ to get a result. You’re there to pile up brass and pile up bodies. And, without you, the team gets nowhere. So, how do you, as a member of a Squad, be a good soldier?
If you are not familiar with Project Reality, or you have only recently picked up a copy of Squad, then I guarantee that this game will offer you a virtual experience like no other—except for maybe Oculus Rift porn. Squad is much more than just a first-person shooter (so is Oculus Rift porn for that matter). Squad is, from the ground up, an exercise in concentration, patience, coordination, communication, strategy, planning and, above all else, teamwork. For you to succeed, and by extension for your Squad and for your team to succeed, the game will demand of you a commitment to put your buddies before yourself. Whilst you are playing Squad you owe it to your teammates, your Squad-mates, and your Squad Leader to be fully attentive, prepared, and positive.
Firstly, it’s important that you have the right kit. Make sure you get yourself a microphone. A microphone is essential. You’re not prohibited from playing the game without one, but without one you will be a liability to your Squad and to your team. If you don’t have one, get one! They cost a tenna at your local computer store or stationary retailer. If you’re an Australian, you can get ‘em real cheap from Officeworks or online from places like PC Case Gear. No one cares if you sound like a twelvie, or if you’re naturally shy, or if you don’t talk much. If you’re willing to participate, you’ll be fine.
Each time you join a Squad you should immediately check-in with voice comms: “hi lads, how are we?” Kick it off with a positive. By doing so, you let every other bloke know that you’re there, you’re confident, and that you have a microphone. And you let the Squad Leader know that you’re good to go. You should tell all your Squad-mates if you’re new. Get it out in the open. You may feel like a chump, but we all had to start somewhere. It’s important that other players know your experience level and what contribution to expect from you. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. If each dude assumes that you’re a 500 hour veteran then their expectation of your behaviour, knowledge, playstyle, and experience will be vastly different from them knowing and expecting that you are just getting to grips with the game. Furthermore, it gives them the opportunity to sort you out and mentor you properly. Your SL may buddy you up with a more experienced player or he may help you through the functionality of a new kit you’re trying out. You may also be the first bloke to break the ice. If the Squad is all clamed up, someone saying anything can help kick start the comms and the banter. Be positive and be confident. If you’re not, wing it.
Importantly, you should join the game, your team, and your Squad with a positive team-focused attitude. Nothing degrades morale more quickly than a negative attitude. We all have bad days, I’m renowned for having bad days, but the blokes in game don’t, and shouldn’t, have to deal with your♥♥♥♥♥♥ We’re all playing to have a good time. If you want to whinge, or ♥♥♥♥♥, or moan, please take it elsewhere. And, for the record, no one cares if you consistently score high KDRs. Squad is about playing your role within a team. Sometimes that means rolling in kills, Squad-score, and glory. Sometimes that means sitting on a hill for 30 minutes watching the world go by. Remember: it’s not all about you. The game is not about you.
Listen to your Squad Leader & focus on the Objective
Squad is an objective based game. You win a round by capturing flag points, destroying caches, and killing the enemy. Therefore, a major portion of this guide is dedicated to reinforcing a mentality of playing the objectives and of being objective conscious. I cannot harp on this enough. When you’re playing Squad, whatever you’re doing and whatever your role, your actions should be, in some way, related to the team’s objectives and/or the objectives of the particular gamemode that you’re playing. You should be thinking about the objectives constantly and asking questions of yourself and of your Squad. “Is what I am doing right now positively contributing to the team?” “What could I be doing better?” “What could we be doing better?” This focus on playing the objective should be your preeminent concern for the entire round. Irrespective of what the 40 other players on your team are doing, you can make a difference by playing the objective. Sometimes, one player is all it takes to tip the balance in a firefight, on a flag zone, or at a FOB. Get your♥♥♥♥♥♥onto the point. Get behind some cover. Dig in. Help out.
So, just to make it crystal clear: you must play the objective. It is imperative.
Whilst each gamemode has its own particular conditions, as a general rule most objectives are achieved by having more friendly players within the objective zone than the enemy. Or, your team has more friendly players blocking, hindering, or otherwise preventing the enemy from achieving their own objectives. An objective can be anything from an enemy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Rally Point (RP), or weapons cache. It could also be a piece of terrain, a roadway, building, bush, or a contestable flag zone. It may not necessarily be what is marked on the map as an “objective”, but a task or place that requires your attention to support your team’s overall effort. In the instance of destroyable objectives, having more friendly units in the area can speed up the time in which your team secures the area around the objective thereby making it safer for specialists to move in and destroy it. If it is your Squad’s objective to capture one of these points, defend one of these points, or hinder the enemy, then get your♥♥♥♥♥♥into gear and Shia LaBeouf it! Just do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.
During a game of Squad you will receive direction and orders from your Squad Leader: abbreviated to SL. Good SLs are affectionately known as “Squaddie” or “B¬oss”.♥♥♥♥♥♥SLs are commonly known as “♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥”, “chump”, or “NFI”. If you like your SL, be sure to give him a pet name. For the time you’re in game your Squaddie is more important than your girlfriend, your wife, or even your favourite hand. He is your be all and end all. The SL is the king of your world. Your Sun and Stars. Your… well, you get the picture. The most important rule of Squad is never be a liability to your SL. The second most important rule of Squad is do not give in to distractions. SLs are typically more experienced players with a lot of playtime under their belt. You’ll figure out pretty quickly if your SL knows his♥♥♥♥♥♥ And, if he does, you should listen up.
Always pay attention. Always act smart.
Your Squad Leader is there to direct the Squad and ensure that your individual efforts combine into a single team-focused contribution. The SL isn’t there getting off on a power-trip. And he isn’t ordering you around for ♥♥♥♥♥ and giggles. It’s of the utmost importance that you listen to your Squad Leader and focus on the command that he has issued. Nine players working individually would no doubt make a difference in a game. But nine players that are focused, coordinated, and working together will have a much larger and more noticeable impact. Remember, you are merely a piece in a much larger tactical puzzle: from your individual commitment comes Squad and Team success.
It is important to always respond on VOIP if a comment or question is directed at you and you should never, under any circumstances, wander off on your own to take up a lone-wolf vendetta. As it will be explained shortly, it’s OK in most situations for you to take some personal initiative to find a better firing position or briefly track a potential contact. But your focus should always be to maintain cohesion and contact within and with your Squad. The old adage that a “chain is only as strong as its weakest link” rings aptly true in these circumstances. Do not be that weakest link.
It’s also very important to remember that at any given time you may not know the full tactical picture. What you see in front of you, and on the overlay map, is often only a fraction of the whole story. As such, it’s sometimes the case that the order your Squad Leader has given may not make sense at the time. But unless he’s a full-blown drop-kick (in which case I’d suggest you bail from the Squad) I guarantee that it is serving a definitive purpose. This includes your Squad being on the defensive: sitting in vacant capzones, acting as a blocking force in the middle of a forest or on a hill, or just generally waiting for the enemy to come to you. There are some days where you’re going to feel like Squad is the most tedious or dissatisfying game in the world. You haven’t been on the offensive, your Squad is tasked with defending a cap, and you haven’t had a whiff all game. But just remember your part in the whole scheme of things. What you’re doing is probably important. And what you’re doing means that some other bloke doesn’t have to do it. Your time will come. And when it does, you’d better hope against hope that some dude is sitting back in the defensive cap and guarding it with his life. Because if you lose it, there’s no point being on the attacking cap. Long story short: the team should trust you. You should trust the team. The game is not about you.
You must also be conscious of what your Squad Leader is dealing with at any given time. He will be constantly engaging with other Squad Leaders in order to appraise and react to the current situation, take action to address any present deficiencies, implement the team’s current plan, evaluate and predict friendly and enemy action, plan contingencies, and coordinate the action of your nine Squad members in concert with up to forty other players. This all takes place, mind you, whilst you’re sitting there browsing♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ stroking your neckbeard, and complaining that the task you’ve been set “clearly, and in no way, is actually helping the ♥♥♥♥ing team”. If you’re unsure about what you’re doing, or why, you should ask. It’s up to the Squad Leader to be transparent about what the Squad is doing. And you can absolutely make him accountable for it. But it’s not up to you to take matters into your own hands and wander off elsewhere. Listen to your Squad Leader and focus on the objective. Squad will only succeed if everyone is willing to contribute. If you don’t like your SL, or you think he’s doing the wrong thing, then say your piece in a respectful and considerate manner. If he’s not interested in what you have to say, just leave. Don’t make a song and dance about it.
Select a critical kit first
When you first join a Squad you’ll need to select a kit. A good idea is to ask the Squad Leader what he needs, particularly if the game is already in progress when you join. You can use this as part of your check-in procedure outlined in Point 1 above.
“Hi SL, Cheesy here, what role do you need mate? I see there’s Medic or LAT still available.” “Hey Cheese, take LAT mate. We’ve got a few enemy vicks floating about” “Done. Spawning Rally”. “Cheers”.
If you’ve joined at the beginning of a round, then a Squad Leader will often announce what kits he would like his soldiers to fill. From there, it’s good drills for players to call out which kits they’ve selected. Doing so allows the SL to take stock of what kits are in his Squad, and it allows other players to identify the Medics and other specialist roles that may be called upon as the game develops.
SL: “Ok boys, SL here. Please fill two medics, AR, Grenadier, and LAT. Machinegunner optional. Otherwise, your choice.” S1: “I got AR mate” S2: “Medic” S3: “Medic too” S4: “I just took rifleman mate” S5: “Grenadier” S6: “Hey dude, I grabbed LAT” S7: “Hey guys I’m kinda new so I’ve got rifleman” S2: “Who is the other Medic? This is S2, I’ve got one of them” S3: “Me mate, S3” S2: “Alright, perfect. Let’s keep some separation so we don’t both get slotted at once” S3: “Hah. Perfect. I’ll stick with SL”
If the SL states that there is no specific role he would like you to fill, then you should endeavour to fill any of the roles available in the following order of importance—
Irrespective of what roles have or have not been filled, if you’re a newer player, then, as a general rule, you should start at the bottom of the list and work your way up. Most kits above Rifleman require some actual in-game experience to operate—in terms of weapons, equipment, and playstyle. Selecting Medic in your first ever round is a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed, lost, confused, and then subsequently chewed-out by less forgiving players.
Having said that, Squad really is a game in which the best training is on-the-job training. If you would like to try a new kit then announce to your SL and your Squad-mates that you’re going to be using a kit that you’ve never played before or with which you have limited experience. Most community members are willing to teach if you’re willing to learn. Just ask for help and you’ll receive it!
Know your role within the Squad: Part 1
Once you’ve selected a kit it is critical that you understand what role you will be fulfilling within the Squad and within the wider context of the game. A Medic is not a pointman and an Automatic Rifleman is not a Rambo. I’ve briefly outlined the responsibilities and playstyles of each role available in the present build of Squad (Early-Access) below. But before we get to that, here is your role as an infantryman in Squad.
The role of the infantryman is to work with his Squad in order to seek out and close with the enemy; to kill him and to capture the objectives. He is to do so by utilising his Kit, with proficiency and skill, in a manner that achieves a positive outcome for his Squad and for his team.
Almost everything that you do should be geared, in some way, to supporting your team mates by performing your specific job: because no one else can. You picked the Kit, you do the work that you’re supposed to do. Simple. But. And it’s a big BUTT (I cannot lie). At the end of the day, everyone is a rifleman—irrespective of what Kit you select or what role you wish to play. Everyone has a weapon and everyone will be expected to use it. It’s up to you to determine, at any given moment, if you’re needed to perform your specialist role or if you’re needed as a rifleman to do some killing.
In order to perform your job within in the Squad, you must demonstrate proficiency with the Kit that you have selected. I’ve addressed this issue above in Select a Critical Kit First. If you’re not sure what to do: ask. Don’t wait until the snap-crackle-pop kicks off. You must also avoid the temptation to think that you’re special. Hot tip: you’re not ♥♥♥♥ing special. If you have an ACOG, you’re not a sniper. If you have the DMR, you’re not a sniper. If you’re the Squad Leader, you’re not leading an SAS Recon patrol in the middle of Afghanistan. Do your job. Do not wander off. Do not be something you are not. Help out your mates. Maintain Squad cohesion. Do what you’re there to do. End of story.
Just a quick note: Depending on the Faction, either NATO/RU (Conventional) or Militia/Insurgent (Unconventional), you could be armed with any variation of weapons. I’ve done my best to give a general description of each. In any event, the weapons are generally equivalent in terms of function, if not look and performance or manner of use. Therefore, we assume an AK47 is equivalent to the M4A1—an assault-rifle is an assault-rifle whichever way you cut it.
Rifleman Rifleman. Grunt. You’re on the field with your gat, your frags, and your raging, rock-solid battlefat. A rifleman is the most basic constituent of the infantry squad. You have one job: get rounds down range at the enemy. You’re the first bloke in the order of march, the first bloke through the doorway of an objective, and, often, the first bloke to get slotted when the♥♥♥♥♥♥hits the fan. But don’t let that discourage you. A rifleman is an essential Kit. When you’re not killing, you should be supporting the other members of your Squad. Help them out with situation awareness and check their six. What you do might not be fancy but it is ♥♥♥♥ing important. In later iterations of the game, you’ll probably be “armed” with ammunition which you can distribute to your Squad members. For now, it’s best if you stick with a buddy like the Automatic Rifleman and watch his back.
Designated Marksman (DM) You are not a sniper. You are not a sniper. YOU ARE NOT A SNIPER. Sry caps. The Designated Marksman (DM) is a rifleman with an enhanced optic. You should be fulfilling every role of the rifleman, except that you can reach out and touch the enemy at a further distance. Your role is not to lone-wolf, although your SL may put you on overwatch to cover the Squad as it advances or to check a flank while you’re in defence. Note: this is not lone-wolfing. The advantages of your optics should not be used for trying to headshot some ♥♥♥♥wit who is three kilometres away faffing about on a hill. That’s a waste of ammunition. Use your optic to enhance your Squad’s situational awareness (see Situational Awareness) by searching for and identifying targets that are out of visual range for everyone else. While you’re still a rifleman, it’s not all about killing for you.
Automatic Rifleman (AR) The role of the Automatic Rifleman (AR) is to act as the Squad’s base of fire. Armed with the M249 SAW or a variation of the RPK (not to be mixed up with PKM) you possess the weapon that spits the most lead at (typically) the fastest rate. The AR is crucial in both defensive and offensive capacities. If you’re playing as AR you should be seeking direction from your SL as to where he wants you placed and what lanes he wants you covering. If the Squad gets into contact, your job is to saturate the enemy with a large volume of fire, suppress them, and help your blokes take the initiative in the firefight. Due to the cumbersome nature of your weapon (particularly when reloading or, indeed, firing from any position that isn’t prone) it’s always a decent idea to ask the SL if you can have a buddy to help you out: queue Rifleman.
Grenadier (GL) The Grenadier, a “Rifleman with benefits”, exists to lob little gold-tops of joy at enemy point and area targets. Highly mobile, and highly accurate, the Grenadier packs a powerful punch. As a Grenadier you should avoid wasting ammunition on lone enemies or targets at extreme range. If you’re working in concert with the ACOG, you can potentially have him spot and adjust the fall of your shot if you’re not sure where your rounds are impacting. As a Squad Leader, I like to direct my GL to hold fire until I need him to engage enemy FOBs or Compounds. The Grenadier comes into his own when on attack in Insurgency. Lobbing GLs into the enemy cache location can be absolutely devastating as they explode around packed-in enemies in a confined space.
Light Anti-Tank (LAT) The Light Anti-Tank (LAT) Kit is another “Rifleman with benefits”. You will be armed with a variation of a single-shot disposable Light Anti-Armour Weapon (“66” or “LAW”) or a variation of the RPG (including, at some time in the future, ammunition types to select—HE, HEDP, HEAT). You represent the only organic anti-tank capability within your Squad #nopressure. Your job is to destroy light-skinned enemy vehicles such as Technicals (Techies) and Transport/Logistics Trucks (Transpo/Logis), and to damage, disable, or knockout (if lucky) enemy light armour such as up-armoured Humvees, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). LAT should refrain from engaging main-battle tanks for the obvious reason of staying alive. However, contingent upon the damage models that are implemented, LAT may be able to track (disable) enemy MBTs in the future. LAT should also refrain (if possible) from engaging infantry without the express consent of the Squad Leader. Make no mistake, the LAT is perfect for neutralising fortifications and lobbing rounds into objectives. But you should only do so when you’re confident the weapon won’t be required to engage enemy vehicles in the immediate future. Vehicles > Infantry. If you waste your LAT your Squad will get wasted.
Know your role within the Squad: Part 2
Medic (Doc) The Medic (or Doc) is the life-blood of your Squad. Without your Medic your Squad cannot hope to function at full effectiveness in the heat of battle. As the Doc, your primary responsibility is to look after injured team mates. You are not there to do the fighting. Of all the Kit choices, where the decision between Specialisation/Rifleman comes into play, the Medic should always err on the side of caution. If the Medic goes down the team goes down. When the♥♥♥♥♥♥hits the fan, and the worst situation turns even worse, then you can obviously pull out your weapon and pile brass and bodies. But as Medic you should not be looking for a fight. Ideally, you should stick with the Squad Leader and then move off when and if you are required. If you stay centrally located, you can locate and treat casualties much faster.
Speaking of which, as a Medic you should always ask for support from your team mates when tending to casualties. Get some other blokes to cover you whilst you go to work on the injured players. When dragging is implemented, have a Rifleman drag the wounded player to you (instead of doing it yourself). This way, you don’t put yourself in the line of fire. Always remember to report to the SL when you’re running low on bandages. When my Medic reports to me that he’s almost out of supplies I make it my Number One priority to escort him, or have a rifleman escort him, back the Ammunition Point in order to restock.
Officer (Prick) Haha! I can’t fit this into a paragraph. Please see Basic Leadership.
And, with that, you should now have a basic understand of what each role entails. This, of course, is by no means set in stone. As the context and circumstance of each game changes you’ll find yourself performing duties or tasks that fall way outside of this description. Roll with it. At least now you’ve got a head-start!
Maintain situational awareness: Part 1
Situational Awareness (SA) is one of the key contributors to success in a game of Squad. SA, simply put, is your ability to identify, process, and comprehend the current state of the game and how the unfolding events apply to you, your Squad, and your team. By extension, SA is your capacity to “read the play”. Much like a brilliant footballer will always find himself in the right place at the right time to make a play, make an interception, or pick the gap, your ability to read the play will ensure that you’re impacting the game in a positive manner. Without SA you cannot hope to do this. SA is developed and maintained through use of your critical faculties: conceptualising, analysing, and evaluating what you’re seeing, hearing, and doing. You should also apply these evaluations to what the enemy is doing: from where the enemy is, and where he is going, you can deduce the direction from whence he came. When you add all of these things together—that is your location and your intentions, the location of friendlies and their intentions, and the location of the enemy and his suspected intentions—you can build a pretty accurate picture of the game at that time and allow yourself the capacity to react accordingly or plan ahead. If you don’t know any of these things, then actually playing the game becomes a lot more difficult for yourself, your Squad, and your Team.
SA is also a test of your ability to filter out unnecessary ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t that has no bearing on you, or that would otherwise distract you from doing what you need to do. The battlefield in Squad is often a chaotic shitfight, replete with dust, explosions, gunfire, obstacles, threats, friendly players—all manner of distractions. Your ability to filter out these distractions and focus on the job at hand, while keeping abreast of the current situation and the context of the game, is what will set you apart from the field. Now, that’s all good and well, but without applying this concept to in-game scenarios it doesn’t make too much sense. So, what are some tips that can help you maintain your situational awareness?
1.Check your map frequently This sounds obvious enough. But when I say frequently, I mean ♥♥♥♥in’ frequently. You should flick up your map every thirty seconds or so. Why? Well, you always need to know the following— o Where you are o Where friendlies are Where’s your buddy? Where’s the Squad Medic? Are those enemies or friendlies that you’re about frag with your LAT? o Where the enemy (possibly) is Friendlies aren’t there is that an enemy position? And you should— o Look for markers your SL has placed o Identify key pieces of terrain o Gather an appreciation for the terrain that you’re about to move through
Checking your map is critical. Every round I observe instances of fratricide or otherwise ♥♥♥♥♥♥ play than could have been avoided by a five second map-check. You lose nothing by checking the map, but you could cost your buddy everything if you do not. Check it. Check it again. And then check it once more to be sure.
Maintain situational awareness: Part 2
2. Monitor your Supplies and your Status Your Squad Leader is not there to hold your hand. You are responsible for your ammunition, your supplies, and your status. You must maintain these things if you want to be effective on the battlefield. Remember, do not be a liability to your Squad. The kind of things you should watch include the following— o Health & Stamina (you can’t fight effectively without either) Wounded? Get patched Out of stamina? Take a knee o Ammunition Specialist Requirements (bandages, LAT, grenades) Reload and restock when there’s a lull in the battle Report any deficiencies so the SL can address them
The more information you feedback to the Squad about your status, the easier it is for the SL, or other players, to make decisions about how to correct any shortfalls. Don’t be that guy who can’t do his job because you’re out of ammunition. If you’re a Grenadier and you run out of 203s, mention it to the SL! If my Grenadier tells me he’s run dry on 203s, it’s always a priority to get him restocked. The worst time for me to find out that he’s out of ammunition is when we hit the next cache and he can’t mess stuff up (FSU) [thanks language warning] with his gold-tops of joy. That’s negligence on his behalf and it pisses me off—he just became a liability to me and my Squad. Whenever there is a lull in the battle you shouldn’t be alt-tabbed on RedTube. Reload. Do a quick check on your ammunition. Ask other guys about theirs. Make sure everyone is bombed up, kitted up, and good to go. Trust me, the SL will appreciate it if do that type of important—albeit menial—admin so that he doesn’t have to (see Be Proactive).
3. Report Enemy Sightings Every time that you see the enemy, you should communicate his position and draw inferences from where he is and where he has come from— o Where is he? o How many? o Moving to where?
The more information you have about the enemy, and the more information you communicate to your Squad, the better everyone’s SA becomes.
4. Identify the enemy by their weapons Identify the enemy’s firing points from muzzle-flash, smoke, tracers, and sound. If the enemy is shooting at you, move. Relocate. Get to cover! If an RPG misses high, or a 203 hits to your left, or a burst of machinegun rakes your window… ♥♥♥♥ing move. This, again, is something simple that I see time and time again on the battlefield. Don’t give the enemy a second chance. If he shoots at you, work out where it came from and move. I love it when someone gives me a second chance. Because once I’ve let loose with a sighting round the second will always be dialled in. o Remember: militia factions may be using the same weapons as your faction. Identify the type of weapon and check the map before you engage.
There’s not much more than I can put into writing on the topic of Situational Awareness. You will find that as you play the game your Situational Awareness will develop naturally. It’s a concept that’s difficult to teach on paper but quite easy to master with in-game experience. The tips listed above are but a small list of the type of action you can take to enhance your SA to begin with. As you gain experience in the game you will quickly learn what to look for, how to look for it, and why. Practice makes perfect, and as Situational Awareness will keep you alive, you’ll get the gist pretty quickly.
Take the initiative
The initiative is important at the individual, Squad, and team level. In this section, I will deal with the initiative at the individual level. As it applies to the Squad and the Team will be discussed in both Part Two of the Guide: Basic Leadership and Part Three of the Guide: Formula for Success respectively. Please see there for further information.
“The Initiative” is a phrase that I use quite a lot in my writing. What does it mean? The initiative, or taking the initiative, is the continual process by which you make decisions and impact that game. When you have the initiative you are on the front foot. You are moving. You are winning the firefight. You are capturing flags. You are impacting the battlespace. When you do not have the initiative, you are reacting to the enemy. He is manoeuvring on your position, he is capturing your flags, or he has out-flanked you and destroyed your spawn infrastructure. Do all of these things to the enemy and he will end up confused, disorganised, and easy to pick apart. However, have these things done to you and you will find out how easy it is to lose a game of Squad. You should always take the initiative. Seize it and maintain it and all else follows. Set the pace, set the tempo, do not be reactive. A pertinent note: without Situational Awareness you cannot take the initiative. If you don’t know the context of the game (where the enemy is, where your team is, or the flow) then you will not be able to impact the game in any meaningful manner. Please refer to Situational Awareness (quite literally right above here), or in Basic Leadership, for more information on that subject.
There is no set way in which you can simply “take the initiative” and know you are doing so. Initiative manifests itself in several forms, and there is a lot of crossover between taking the initiative and the section on Being Proactive. For instance, if you’re in a static position defending a flag zone, to take the initiative you may move yourself to a better firing position from which you are covering an area that no one else in your Squad is covering, if you’ve got the ACOG you may get yourself onto a roof for better observation, or if you’re the Squad Medic you might let everyone know that your “Aid Station” is the green-door building at the southern side of the compound. Movement. Thinking. Always thinking. Those are the keys. Taking the initiative gives you scope to think and act outside of what your Squad Leader has asked you to do. However, when acting on your own you should consider what you’re doing and how it will impact the overall objective of the Squad. If the outcome is counterproductive, or purely self-interested, then you may want to rethink your personal plans. Vendettas, lone-wolfing, or getting sick kills do not count as a meaningful way to take the initiative.
If you’re actually in a firefight, you gain the initiative by first suppressing the enemy through volume and accuracy of fire and then quickly manoeuvring on his position to flank and destroy him. For instance, if you see an enemy soldier that is close to you, and you decide to engage him, you, by default, have the initiative over him. To maintain it, you should notify your buddies to suppress his known position whilst you, or someone else, move around to his flank in order to take him out. This concept, of course, can be extrapolated to the Squad and Team level. And I will do so later on. Unfortunately, the scope of this guide will prohibit me from an engaged discussion related to the application of infantry minor tactics in game. I may write another volume dedicated to that in the future.
Communication is the lynchpin that holds a team together. Communication is used to combine the key tenants of Situational Awareness, Proactive contributions, and the Initiative. The result of this is organisation and coordination amongst your Squad. If you are not communicating, you are not playing Squad. If you do not have a microphone, you must get one. As I noted in the Introduction, a lack of a microphone will not preclude you from playing the game but it will severely inhibit your ability to make a positive contribution to your Squad and your Team. Without a microphone you will get people killed. You will be combat ineffective. From Communication comes Success.
You must make sure that all of your communication is concise, clear, and accurate. This, of course, does not cover in-game♥♥♥♥♥♥talking. That can be whatever the hell you want it to be. So long as when the action starts you switch-on and start doing your job properly. Communication in Squad takes many forms. Throughout the course of a round you should be communicating constantly with your Squad and your SL. Your SL should be giving you updates on what you’re doing and why, and you should be feeding back to him, and your buddies, any information that you believe is pertinent to completing the mission. This includes any suggestions, comments, or questions that you have about the current tactical situation as it applies to your Squad specifically or the Team in general. This harks back to Being Proactive. There are many times that I, as a Squad Leader, have had incredibly intuitive insights and ideas come from a Squad member—solutions, strategies, or plans that I hadn’t even considered myself. These ideas, when executed, have then gone on to directly impact the result of the game. If you’ve got something to suggest, do so. Most of you either have, or will, lead Squads. You’re not stupid. If you see something going down that you think needs to be addressed then bring it up!
However, the most important aspect of communication in Squad is the Target Indication. A target indication is the manner in which you convey information to your Squad regarding enemy contacts from which you are receiving fire, putting down fire, or have seen an enemy combatant and wish to draw attention to him. The basic format of a target indication is simple—
• Distance • Direction • Reference • Type (of enemy)
So, to put this into practice—
• CONTACT! 100 meters (Distance) • 300 degrees (Direction) • Top of feature (Reference) • 2 infantry (tanks, APCs, HMGs, whatever) in the open! (Type)
Now, in the heat of battle you’re never going to get the format absolutely perfect. And that doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you convey the relevant information: how far away are the enemy? In what direction? What is the enemy? And how can I help my buddies find the enemy?
• CONTACT! 300 Degrees • Top of the ridge • 2 enemy in the open • About 100 meters
• CONTACT! 2 enemy • 100 meters • Top of the feature • At 300 degrees from my position!
• CONTACT! 100 meters • 2 ♥♥♥♥wits with AKs • 300 degrees • Watch my splash! (proceeds to smash 100 rounds from the SAW in their direction)
Four methods. Same information. Same result. Learn it and use it. The more effective you can communicate the location of the enemy, the more quickly and more efficiently that you and your boys can deal some death in their direction. Weight of fire and accuracy of fire. That♥♥♥♥♥♥wins firefights.
Provide feedback and be accountable
Just a quick note here, but one that is nonetheless important. Provide feedback. All day. Every day. Let your SL and your buddies know if you’ve got a suggestion, if you think they’ve done wrong, and how they can improve in the future. Be tactful, be respectful, and don’t be a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ about it. Let the new guys know how they can improve and why they did wrong. When doing so, you must also be accountable. Have integrity. I [explitive] hate liars. If you do something wrong own it. Sack up. Be a man. It’s an online video game. At the end of the day we’re all buddies.♥♥♥♥♥♥talk, but keep it sensible. Play hard, but do it fairly. If you get bollocked, and you don’t like it, let the dude know that he’s out of order. There’s no need to start a fist fight. If it escalates, leave. Join a different Squad. I’ve seen a few spite-filled encounters in my time and they never end well for anyone. They leave a bad taste in the mouth and a poor example for new players. We’ve got a reputation to uphold. Most of us are mature adults. If you find someone who isn’t, don’t give him the time of day. Enough said.
The game isn’t all about you!
As a final note, I’d like to leave Basic Soldiering where it started: the game is not about you. You are but one of a handful of people in your Squad, one of 40 to 50 people on your team, and one of 100 people on the server. Your actions, your attitude, and your decisions will impact the game for all of them. You define the experience not only for yourself, but for them. Never forget that. One bad apple can spoil the entire experience. For the Veterans of the community it’s imperative that we set the tone. It’s on us to encourage and mentor newer players, engage and communicate with each other, and enjoy what we’re doing with and against each other. A friendly, positive attitude will entice others to try the game, and, hopefully, it will make them want to stay. For newer players, you just need to jump in and get started. Roll with the punches. Learn as you go. Get♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥off. Get frustrated. Earn it. Because I guarantee that once you’ve worked through the learning curve, and once you’ve put in the hard yards, the experiences that you have in this game will stick with you for years, and the community members who you meet and go into battle with will be your gaming mates for life.
If you’re a lone-wolf, or if you’re looking for a game that is designed to satisfy self-interest under the guise of teamwork, then try Battlefield or Call of Duty. I don’t mean that maliciously. I play Battlefield regularly, and I used to play Call of Duty. But the attitude, playstyle, and approach that you can take into those games simply does not gel with the environment or the purpose of Squad. If you’ve come to the Squad community from either of those franchises, it is of the utmost importance that you understand this game is not like those. Project Reality, the true ancestor of Squad, was a genre defining tactical realism experience. Squad is set to emulate it. But the experience is up to the players and the community. Do what you can to win. Do what you can to destroy the enemy and wreck their day. But do it with integrity, respect, and a team-first/community-first attitude!
That’s that. Thank you very much for taking the time to read Part One of the Cheesy Tactical Guide. It has been a true labour of love: a few sleepless nights, a lot of caffeine, and a several dozen drams of scotch-whisky. I genuinely enjoyed writing the Guide. And all I can hope is that you got something out of it. Whether you read the whole thing, or only a chapter, or only a paragraph—if you left knowing more than when you started then I’ve achieved my goal.
And, one final formality—
While I consider this Guide a community resource, please extend the courtesy of contacting me, Cheesy_LeScrub (Alex), via Squad Forums, Steam, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for written permission to copy or disseminate this Guide by any means (I won’t say no!). This work remains entirely my own, unless otherwise indicated by reference or inference. I have done my best to include correct citations to sources that have assisted in the writing of this Guide. Any picture, diagram, or model produced by use of the game Squad should be credited to Offworld Industries.
See below for a few resources and some sources of further reading.
RESOURCES and FURTHER READING
Whilst I drew inspiration for this Guide from many publicly released sources, and posts within the Squad Forums, the following I have specifically referenced—