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The Cheesy Tactical Guide: Part Three - The Formula for Success!
By salt. Cheesy_LeScrub
So you’ve read through the guide and you’ve made it this far! Or maybe you’ve decided that this is where you want to start. Irrespective of where you started, or why, this section is the business end of the guide. The Formula for Success is my take on Squad at the strategic or “operational” level. It comprises a more critical analysis of the keys to team success in Squad—the meta-game related to integration and cooperation between Squads. This section is quite theoretical and presumes that the reader has an intimate knowledge of the mechanics and flow of the game. It is aimed primarily at those players who already fill the Squad Leader role on a regular basis, or players who are looking to take up that mantle in the near future.
The Formula for Success can be applied to all gamemodes that were present in Project Reality and those that (I assume) will be present in Squad. I have included reference to various gamemodes, through use of examples, in order to fully explore the Formula. The previous sections of this guide have involved a lot text. The best way for me to illustrate the Formula is with a diagram. So, what is the Formula for Success?
Bingo. The Formula for Success is a giant ... well, you guessed. And, much like its fleshy real-life equivalent, it’s pretty easy to understand: a team that is Focused on Objectives, operates with Speed, and is supported by a Spawn Network, will, in almost all cases, achieve ♥♥♥♥♥♥! Uh… I mean… victory! So far we’ve looked at both Focus on Objectives and Speed in section two Basic Leadership but I will provide a bit more exposition here. However, for the most part, the following section is dedicated entirely to the establishment and maintenance of spawn networks.
In the interest of editorial integrity, and as a nod to my good mate, I would like to make it clear that the image above, and indeed the original concept of the Formula for Success, are not my own creations. I have merely borrowed the diagram and the concept (with written permission) and engineered it to apply to Squad. All credit belongs to Swedge (an Australian gamer and exponent of tactical realism) who has written extensively on Project Reality: Arma 2. Swedgey presented the Formula in his Cheeky ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Strategy Guide for PR:ARMA2 BETA. Despite being written for PRA2, Cheeky ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ is still completely relevant and totally applicable to Squad. If you’re interested in some further reading, I highly recommend it.
Focus on Objectives & Speed
A Focus on the Objectives is key to success as a Squad Leader and it is also key to the success of a Team. A Focus on Objectives requires the Squad Leader to motivate his Squad, and other Squads, to complete three simple objectives. These objectives may change, and they may take a higher or lower priority contingent upon the circumstance and context of the game at the time you are assessing the situation, but they are the three tenants to success. They are—
• Objectives (flagzones/cache locations) o Offensive/Defensive • Creation of infrastructure (Build Spawn Networks) o Forward Operating Bases/Squad Rally Points • Destruction of enemy infrastructure o Location and suppression of enemy FOBs/Squad Rally Points
At its most fundamental level, winning a game of Squad is incredibly easy. If each Squad Leader on your team is focused on completing these objectives (in concert with each other, through effective use of communication and coordination) then I guarantee that you will win 75% of all games that you play. And the 25% that you do lose will be the result of an exceptional opposition or plain bad luck—the former you can be thankful for the challenge, the latter happens to the best of us at the worst of times.
Completing the above objectives should be done with a sense of urgency. There is a military adage that goes “slow is smooth, but smooth is fast”. That’s not entirely true. “Slow is methodical, and methodical is accurate” would be more appropriate. And, of course, in the real world where real lives are at stake it’s important to take that approach. But Squad is a game. You have the luxury of being allowed to take a few more risks. Be quick about what you’re doing. I’m willing to stake a game on the trade-off between accuracy and assurance for a little more speed. Attain speed through proficiency. Practice what you’re doing and get good at it. What’s important to remember is that in Squad most things are equal: flag capture times, FOB build times, movement speed. If you can gain the advantage of speed in aspects of the game that you can control, such as personal proficiency, organisation, and an aggressive attitude, then you can get yourself one step ahead of an enemy who is not that way inclined. Every second counts. Beat the enemy to the objectives, establish your position, and receive him into the teeth of your defensive structures. Why fight a meeting engagement on a flag zone when you can establish yourself, absorb the enemy, and then push through and onto the next objective?
Being tactically aggressivewill win you the game. Be aggressive when it calls for it. There’s a time and a place for a defensive mind-set and an attacking mind-set. But if you’re always looking for the opportunity to go on the attack you should take it when it presents itself. Sometimes you will have to do so at the expense of your Squad’s structure or organisation. You make the call. Is the risk worth it? Will leaving three men behind on the FOB be enough to secure it while you move forward to establish another position? These are the types of decision you will have to make. But rather you make them with an aggressive attitude than miss the chance all together.
At every opportunity you should hunt, locate, and destroy enemy spawn infrastructure. ♥♥♥♥ up his support structures and he won’t be able to maintain a supply of men and material to the front line. Wreck FOBs, locate Rallys, and cut off his logistics chains. Conversely, create depth and maintain your own structure (as will be explained). If an enemy is relying on a tenuous spawn network, and you happen to mess it up, you will steam roll them. The further they have to move to the battle, the better it is for you. Distance of movement destroys cohesion. And, obviously, the further the enemy have to move to get back to the battle gives you time to do what you please. What better to do with that time than attack.
Build and Maintain a Spawn Network (2)
The success of a team in Squad is predicated on the creation, support, and maintenance of a defensive or offensive spawn network; from this, all else follows. What is a spawn network?
A spawn network is the systematic integration of Main Base (MB), Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), and Rally Points (RPs) so that a team may develop depth, maintain flexibility, and have the capacity to supply an unimpeded flow of reinforcements and materiel to critical locations on the battlefield.
Without an integrated, fully-functioning spawn network a team cannot hope to consolidate its position, supply its position, and develop the opportunity to further advance from its position. These are the express objectives of a spawn network. The compromise of a spawn network, or any one of its constituent parts, jeopardises a team’s ability to fight—in sometimes spectacular fashion (you will get rolled). A more subtle and often overlooked consequence of your spawn network is that players take queues, mostly subconsciously, from the location of spawns and infrastructure. You will note that players often use spawns to decide where to move or what task to undertake, or, indeed, to determine what features on the battlefield are important. To this end, your spawn network should be designed (with RPs and FOBs placed in such a manner) that even the most daft, but ultimately team-focused player, can easily deduce where to go and what to do. Whilst most gamers who play Squad are more tactically astute than their CoD or Battlefield counterparts, it is never detrimental to fashion a spawn network that is simple and self-explanatory. As Swedge noted in Cheeky ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, you may not be able to lead a horse to water but you can build a ♥♥♥♥ing lot of taps around its mouth.
A hierarchical approach to the spawn network looks as such—
Main Base (MB) Forward Operating Base (FOB) Squad Rally Point (RP)
Quite obviously, each individual component of the spawn network has its own distinct advantages and limitations. Starting at the most basic level—the Squad Rally Point—I will explore both the SRP and FOB, in turn, to shed some light on its attributes and explain how it is best employed to enhance the team’s spawn network. The MB does not really warrant a discussion as its role is inherently limited. It gives you an instant spawn—done.
It may be best to note here that the following discussion assumes that fortifications (constructibles) are inextricably linked to a radius emanating from the FOB radio. This is a fundamental concept, and one that shapes the entire discussion on FOB purpose, placement, and integration. Should, at any time in the future, the ability to establish defensive structures be removed from the FOB then this entire analysis will be redressed to that end.
Squad Rally Points (2.1)
Small, discreet, highly mobile, free to place without restriction, and for your Squad only: the RP is the essential and versatile final component of the spawn network. An RP should be your Squad’s most forward spawn point. SLs should feel free to place RPs in more dangerous forward positions without too many undue fears of the consequences should they be compromised or overrun. Whilst RPs have a high spawn-timer, they have a low ticket penalty for destruction.
RPs are an essential tool for maintaining Squad cohesion and replacing casualties directly on the front line (on or near your current position). Spawning off of an RP (slightly higher spawn-timer notwithstanding) also serves to facilitate Speed, and thus a more effective Focus on Objectives, as Squads spend much less time faffing about waiting for a trickle of players to rejoin and for the Squad to reorg. Without access to RPs, it follows that newly spawned soldiers are required to rejoin the fight from MB or the nearest FOB. This has the potential to be problematic for several reasons. Firstly, the nearest FOB may be a considerable distance from your current position (particularly if the Spawn Network has not been established correctly). And, without vehicular transport, the time it takes for reinforcements to rejoin could unnecessarily prolong the amount of time that your Squad is spent immobile. Secondly, spawning from an FOB could place undue risk on soldiers as they manoeuvre, often individually, through potentially hostile terrain in order to link up with the Squad. Thirdly, any spawn from a friendly FOB increases the chance that its location will be compromised. If any component of the Spawn Network should be compromised, quite obviously the RP is preferable in every instance. These factors, of course, do not suggest that you should never spawn on an FOB. They are merely a list of considerations that you may wish to take into account when selecting a spawn point or, for SLs, when you’re placing an RP.
The advantages of the RP lie in mobility and discreetness. They’re much easier to place than FOBs and they’re far less obvious, there’s no User Interface that prompts enemy players when they are within the vicinity of an RP, and, unlike FOBs, RPs can be used without too much discretion. RPs should be placed frequently and updated often. An SL should do his utmost to ensure that their Squad’s RP is always on the map. If it is running now on spawns, then he should prioritise placing a new one in order to refresh the count.
Ideally, RPs should be used forward of FOBs. However, all SLs should take care to place RPs away from or on a different approach from the nearest friendly FOB—in relation to known or suspected avenues of enemy advance. As noted in previous sections, enemy movement toward an objective zone can be, and often is, indicative of the direction they travelled from their own spawn infrastructure. If anything should be compromised, losing an RP over a FOB is most definitely preferable. Further advice related to the placement of RPs can be found in the Physical Location portion of the discussion on FOBs. As those lessons easily translate to the FOBs smaller cousin.
Forward Operating Base (FOB) (2.2) Part One
Whilst Main Base is where the spawn network begins, and the RPs are where it ends, the FOB is, without doubt, the most crucial link in the entire spawn network. FOBs have two intrinsic functions. First and foremost, FOBs are a forward spawn point for your entire team. Indeed, once placed, they are the only spawn point for your entire team within a 400 meter radius (excluding cache sites in Insurgency). Everything else is subsidiary to this function. Everything. Irrespective of what you intend for the FOB, you must always remember this: a single poorly placed or inadequately defended FOB can, quite literally, determine the outcome of an entire round. It can force players to manoeuver upwards of 400 meters to rejoin the fight, and it has the potential to drain assets, manpower, and tickets by forcing a team to defend an untenable position for the sake of maintaining their team’s forward spawn. Therefore, you should always think before you place. Secondly, an FOB provides a 100 meter radius within which fortifications and weapons emplacements can be placed and built (shovelled).
To this end, there are several key considerations that SLs should take into account prior to establishing a new FOB. Although these considerations are not ranked in order of importance, nor is one necessarily more important than the other, they will ultimately determine the type and placement of an FOB. Indeed, the circumstances and context of the game at the time you choose to establish a new FOB, when considered in conjunction with these points, will often determine the type and placement of the FOB without much input on your behalf. And remember, there is no substitute for actual in-game experience.
Before establishing an FOB, you must determine the purpose that it will serve within your spawn network. The purpose of an FOB will determine where precisely you decide to locate it and with what, if anything, you choose to fortify it. An FOB’s primary function as a spawn point aside, players typically construct two types of FOB: the secluded and concealed “Spawn FOB” (SFOB) and the dug-in fortified “Firebase” (FB). Whilst each maintain the capacity to spawn friendly reinforcements, the SFOB is typically placed in a secluded area with little to no fortifications as evidence of its existence—providing covered and concealed avenues through which friendly reinforcements can return to the battlespace. Conversely, the FB is typically a “balls out” fortified position less concerned with concealment and more concerned with providing a formidable position from which a friendly element can provide fire support (direct or indirect) to an objective zone, a friendly element that is manoeuvring, or to secure key piece of terrain from the enemy.
2.2.1a.1 Spawn FOB (SFOB)
The primary function of an SFOB should be to provide a conduit through which friendly reinforcements flow easily into the battlespace. Typically, an SFOB should be placed in a secluded position that provides multiple covered and concealed approaches to the objective zone. In the interest of concealment, an SFOB should have little to no fortifications. If required, sandbags or hescos can be erected around the radio itself to provide immediate cover to any players spawning at the position. However, an SFOB’s security lies in the bet that you’ve placed it such a position and such a manner that the enemy is highly unlikely to locate it. Don’t make it easier for them by situating emplacements nearby.
2.2.1a.2 Firebase (FB)
The Firebase serves an entirely different purpose to the SFOB, as its intended purpose is to provide a fortified fighting position from which friendly elements can dig-in with maximum physical security at the expense of concealment. The FB is often placed on or around objective zones or on critical pieces of terrain. An FB should be placed judiciously. If a team is to construct an FB it must be confident that it has the resources to construct it, to maintain it, and to defend it, and that these concerns do not come at the expense of the objective. FBs are magnets for enemy attention—particularly if they are placed on an objective. An FB should never be placed in such a manner that terrain, circumstance, or lack of attention cause it to be compromised easily. And it should never be established where an enemy can easily capture an objective and neutralise the FB at the same time. The FB must be placed and constructed in such a manner that it affords every advantage to the defenders and little, if any, advantage to the enemy.
Here it is pertinent to note that in a video game (and Squad in particular) it is far easier for an attacker to isolate, attack, and destroy any fortified static position. The real-life advantages that are generally stacked in favour of a defender are significantly diminished by the ability of an enemy to respawn quickly, communicate easily, utilise to good effect the prevalence and accuracy of indirect explosive weapons, and exploit the more organic manner in which players handle command, control, movement, and assaults through terrain. Most static positions in Squadwill be overrun if subject to a sustained attack for a period of 15-30 minutes. If an enemy has to destroy your FB to take a flag zone, it had better be a ♥♥♥♥ing good FB. Be aware of this. I’ve seen FBs annihilated in short-order in almost every instance they appear on the map; I’ve been responsible for that destruction on numerous occasions. Always remember: your FB is also your spawn. Never make it easy for the enemy to eliminate your spawn, capture an objective, and destroy your FB at the same time. Never. Make. It. Easy.
As I write this, the debate continues to rage on the Squad Forums (and in game) as to the legitimacy of what has been coined the “Super FOB”. A Super FOB is, in essence, a player-made fortress that aims to deny enemy access to a piece of ground or simply to satisfy some bizarre urge for players to “FOB-craft” their team into inevitable destruction. Unfortunately, the tendency of most proponents of the Super FOB is to construct an FOB that a) does not impact an objective at all, b) is placed in a centralised, though tactically untenable location (thus precluding other more useful FOBs from being built), and c) serves as a resource and man-power sink as players flock to defend the FOB (for no appreciable gain) as opposed to attacking or defending legitimate objectives. I’m highly critical of the Super FOB phenomenon. And this harks back to my Introduction. Squad requires a degree of selflessness. Building a massive FOB, in a ridiculous location, without want or desire to achieve the team’s objective, shows to me a profound disrespect to your fellow team-mates and gamers. It should be discouraged at all costs.
Forward Operating Base (FOB) (2.2) Part Two
Depth is the deliberate integration of multiple FOBs and RPs with the intention to create and sustain a multilayered spawn network that specifically avoids the reliance on a single forward spawn point. A team should never rely on a single FOB once they have advanced from Main Base. A team that relies on a single forward spawn runs the risk of being catastrophically overrun if this spawn is compromised.
Depth is often established as the natural flow of the game progresses, and as teams establish FOBs when advancing across a map in AAS or spawning at cache locations in Insurgency. A team should always aim to create depth as they move forward through new objectives. And a team should always work hard to defend their depth if an FOB in the rear area is being compromised. If you notice that your team has advanced without creating positions in depth, then you should immediately address this issue. In general, when placing an FOB, you should look at the map and determine if your current spawn network would be sufficient to support your team should the most forward FOB be overrun. If you believe the network is sufficient, then you can go ahead and place your FOB in a position that supports the most forward objective or simply not place one at all. If you notice that your side only has one or two FOBs, then take ten minutes out of your game, grab two buddies, and build up some infrastructure behind the line. You should also ensure, if possible, that each objective has a supporting FOB either servicing it as a spawn point, a defensive position, or both. If your forward spawn and objectives are overrun, this FOB in depth will then serve as your team’s pre-established fallback position from which they can mitigate the loss and regroup. And they can do so having spawned at that next critical location (that is the enemy’s next objective) without faffing about or having to move a substantial distance to get there. If you fail to do these things, then by the time you realise the deficiency it may already be too late. If you are in the position to destroy an enemy’s depth by neutralising an FOB in their rear, then you should, if circumstances allow, make every effort to do so. In the subsequent discussion on FOB Placement I will go into further detail about the theory of where to place FOBs in relation to objectives in order to achieve this depth.
It is important to maintain flexibility when placing your FOBs. Typically, a team will build FOBs as Squads advance across the map from their MB to their first contact with the enemy. Once vehicles are implemented it will not be uncommon to see Squads branch out across the map to place forward FOBs in anticipation for future action. In any event, when building an FOB network, thus hopefully creating depth, it’s important to consider what impact a particular FOB will have on the potential to create further, more advanced FOBs or even FOBs that are more tactically sound. Taking into account the 400 meter exclusion zone is critical when calculating where to place FOBs as you advance (or in anticipation of an advance). What will happen, I guarantee, is there will be imperfect FOB placements that will require a degree of flexibility from you and your team. There may be situations where you’re forced to put down an imperfect FOB for the sake of speed or necessity. However, if you reckon you’ve got enough time you should always place the FOB in an area that will provide your team with maximum flexibility—both defensively and offensively.
Flexibility is also concerned with allowing your team multiple spawning options and multiple approaches to objectives. What you should avoid at all costs is a centralised FOB. One FOB in the centre of the map inherently limits the potential to create depth, limits your spawning to a single point, and only offers a unilateral approach to the objective. Imagine a triangle with two Flags in the middle. Placing a FOB right in the centre of the triangle would most certainly offer the quickest, most direct means to reinforce the Flag zones and the capacity to construct emplacements and fortifications. However, if you place a FOB at each point of the triangle you immediately triple your team’s spawning capacity, offer a multilateral approach to the objective zone, and force the enemy to contend with more than one threat vector—at the slight expense of distance and time required for reinforcement. As discussed in Purpose, distance and time are not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to placing concealed FOBs.
The speed at which you need to place an FOB may come at the expense of flexibility—this is another judgement call that SLs will need to make in-game at the time. Often times you will not find the perfect location for an FOB. And as the game plays out you may find yourself in a cracking flank position with the perfect opportunity to exploit a gap in the enemy’s position, or your team may be getting rolled and a backup spawn point is an absolute priority. This isn’t to say you should simply rush a FOB placement for the sake of it, as you charge out across the map, or hastily fall back to your next defensive flag. You will need to make a judgement call to decide whether or not it is worth the risk of hunting around for a more ideal location or simply whacking the FOB down and moving on. If you’ve got the enemy on their heels, it’s probably best to opt for the latter. If there’s a lull in the battle, then you may wish to take your time. It’s your call.
Forward Operating Base (FOB) (2.2) Part Three
2.2.1d Physical Location
When placing the actual radio for your FOB the physical location is critical. These rules apply to SFOBs and FBs a like (as the radio itself acts as the spawn). Ideally, the radio should be placed in an area that offers both cover and concealment. Cover being a position that cannot be attacked by direct (and ideally indirect) enemy fires, and concealment being that the enemy simply can’t see it (and ideally the approaches to and from it). Depressions, saddles, draws (or re-entrants for us internationals), heavily forested areas, large (high-walled and spacious) compounds, or an area that is simply out of the way are perfect locations for FOB radios. Places to avoid include the crests of hills, high-traffic areas (both known and suspected—friendly and enemy), and any area that has a significant terrain feature (be it a building, outcrop, or hills) that provide an easy overwatch into the radio area.
Placing an FOB radio within a building warrants a discussion in itself. Siting a radio within a structure has significant pros and cons. If you’re looking to place a radio in a building, the building should be within a compound that has multiple egress points. Your team, at the time, can decide to wall up or fortify these egress points (which, of course, act as entrances for the enemy). But the choice to do so is key. When it comes to buildings, you should avoid, at all costs, placing a radio in an isolated or otherwise standalone structure that is easily identifiable. Placing radio in a grape-hut in the middle of a field may offer new spawns a significant amount of cover from all types of fire, but it is a perfect way to have it isolated, suppressed, and destroyed—at the cost of a lot of lives and a lot of tickets.
Generally speaking, the radio should also be far enough away from an objective zone that the enemy cannot easily capture both at once. There may be situations where this varies (and that has been addressed in Purpose and Depth) however as a hard and fast rule it’s best to whack your FOB in an area through which you do not expect heavy enemy movement. This is part of the trade-off you have to make between a discreet spawn-focused FOB or a balls-out defensive gargantuan.
Also remember, if you’re wanting to build up a defensive structure around your FOB, your radio does not have to be in the centre. For example, if you’re looking to build a firebase on top of a hill to overwatch a piece of terrain or an objective zone, siting the radio on the reserve slope will allow your team to spawn in cover and concealment but still enable you to build weapons and fortifications on the crest. Long story short: if you’re intending to build a FB, then you should consider at all costs not placing the radio in an area that is susceptible to enemy fire or access.
2.2.1e Squad Leader Cooperation
Of course, it is paramount that you cooperate with other Squad Leaders and consult them on your appreciation of the situation and where you believe is the best location for an FOB. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in a brilliant position to place a new FOB, only to have another Squad Leader place one down thus prohibiting you from establishing your own. Communicate. Always. Talk to the other SLs. Mention that you’re in a cracking position and you’re about to establish a new FOB. Ask if this conflicts with their plans. If it does, why? How? Where? What are they doing? This step, whilst not the longest nor most engaged, is arguably one of the most critical. Cooperating with your fellow SLs is the be all and end all of a team. Oh, and not to mention the fact one of them might simply have a better idea than you or have seen something that you yourself have missed.
Forward Operating Base (FOB) (2.2) FOB Placement
2.2.2 FOB Placement
Now that we’ve had a look at these considerations in isolation, we’ll now look at them together and apply the concepts to several real-world (actual in-game) examples. Remember, all of these concepts can also (within reason) be applied to the Squad Rally Point.
1.2.2a Unfrail’s Approach to FOB Placement (for AAS)
This foundation of this discussion relies quite heavily on a conversation I was involved in on the Squad Forums. The topic was related to ideal FOB placement. To elucidate his position in the debate Unfrail produced the following illustration, which he has graciously consented to my using for this guide.
Unfrail’s Guide to Effective AAS FOB Placement as presented on Squad Forums
Unfrail’s diagram succinctly articulates the considerations of Purpose, Depth, and Flexibility when establishing an FOB in relation to an objective zone and within a spawn network a large. It further provides a good illustration of the areas in which the Type of FOB you decide to establish (SFOB or Firebase) becomes important—in the context of its proximity to the objective zone or its position relative to the suspected axis of enemy (and friendly) advance. This point I touched on briefly in Physical Location. In order to maintain the security of your FOB (particularly the radio itself), irrespective of its Type, it is important to site the radio in an area that will be generally clear of heavy enemy, and indeed heavy friendly, traffic. If you’re building a Firebase rather than an SFOB, in an area through which you suspect large numbers of enemy to traverse, then all effort should be directed toward establishing the radio in a location that is totally covered and concealed—as you can almost guarantee that the location of your FOB will be compromised quite early in the piece. All-in-all, you should do all you can to reduce the chance that an enemy unit will discover your radio, or, in the instance of an FB, have direct line of sight to it and the ability to place well-sighted explosive ordinance in the vicinity.
Quite obviously, the closer you place an FOB to the axis of enemy advance, or on a key piece of terrain, the higher the chance the enemy will discover its location and therefore the more resources you will need to dedicate to establishing suitable (effective) defences, and physically manning them. This is a trade-off that you need to make, and a critical set of decisions that must be communicated between Squad Leaders: does your team have the time, resources, and inclination to establish and then defend a high-risk FOB? Is that risk worth the reward? Is the safety of placing a secluded SFOB outweighed by the necessity of fortifications and fire-points at or nearer the objective zone? The risk factor is neatly presented in Unfrail’s diagram (as Red through Yellow through Green “hotspots”), in conjunction with the line through the flagzones representing the primary lateral axis of advance for both teams. Placing an FOB in the red zone constitutes a significant risk to its survival. Placing an FOB in the yellow zone reduces this risk. And placing an FOB in the green zone diminishes the risk more-so. It is, however, important to note that even the most secluded FOBs can, and sometimes are, compromised by the enemy. However, in most instances, this is an individual soldier who is either lost or lone-wolfing. As such, the capacity of that individual to destroy the FOB before being killed himself is almost negligible and thus exceptions like this should not factor into your decision-making. Should a lone-wolf compromise the location of your FOB, an effort can be made to mitigate the enemy’s (further) attempt/s to locate and neutralise it before it’s too late—though lone-wolves don’t often communicate that well anyway.
I have referred frequently to areas of “both enemy and friendly traffic” as a factor to consider when placing an FOB. I do so with reference to both sections on Situational Awareness in Basic Soldiering and Basic Leadership. Situational Awareness drew attention to the other ways in which the enemy can deduce the location of your spawn infrastructure (aside from physically locating it) by merely observing origins, volume, and patterns of your team’s movement. There is no way in which you can totally obscure your team’s movement from FOBs. However, as outlined in Physical Location, you can place the FOBs in areas which provide concealed or covered egress points and that do not dissect the lateral axis of advance of both teams. The point here, in the context of Unfrail’s illustration, is to place an FOB that, whilst not on the suspected axis of enemy advance, is also not on the main axis of your advance. Placing FOBs set back and to the side of objectives, perpendicular to the axis of advance, or in otherwise “out of the way” areas are all means by which you can conceal their location for longer—as the enemy is less likely to stumble through those locations on their way elsewhere.
So, now that we’ve got the theory out of the way let’s look at some practical examples taken from real in-game scenarios. Always remembering: there is no substitute for actual experience.
The Textbook Spawn Network
The following in-game screenshot is a textbook example of a spawn network. I use the term “textbook” liberally—in the sense that this network is still problematic if critiqued on the basis of all the points which I have previously addressed. However, you will never find a perfect spawn network. And this is as close as you will get.
The annotations denote the following: build order in text, supported objectives in green, and “zone of control” in blue. We assume the main axis of advance is through each objective on the East-West axis—accounting for the independence of both Northern and Southern “sets”. PAAS does encourage unilateral (East-West/North-South) movement through the battlespace as the in-game situation changes. However, Squads will typically focus on their next East-West objective in coordination with other elements focusing on their own East-West set.
• FOB One and Main Base are supporting the first three caps. Admittedly, if the team was pushed back that far without building another FOB near C9 objective it may spell danger. Having said that, there was no pressing requirement to address the issue at this stage in the game. • FOB Two (a classical SFOB) was built by Squad 2 as Squad 1 moved in on Objective E6/F 6 and Squad 2 established contact with the enemy moving from the G4 objective (to screen). • FOB Three (a classical Firebase) was placed by Squad 3 in anticipation of contact with the enemy moving from G8/H8 • FOB Four was established by Squad 3 with the assistance of Squad 1 whilst Squad 2 held G4 with support from a Squad Rally Point and SFOB 2. • FOB Five was established by Squad 1 and Squad 2 as Squad 3 held in place at objective H7 with support from FOB Four.
As noted, the green lines are indicative of the individual objectives, and approaches, that each FOB is supporting. What is less obvious is my use of the blue line indicating the FOB’s “zone of control”. By zone of control, I mean the battlespace that is directly (immediately) influenced by the FOB and in which a team can defend, reinforce, or attack through by utilising that given FOB as a spawn point. Therefore, a zone of control is effectively a portion of the map that you are denying to the enemy by placing your FOB. This is one of the elements of Depth and Flexibility that allow you to withdraw (voluntarily) or fall-back (if forced) to a more sustainable position—the zone of control is that position.
When looking at this particular example, it’s necessary for me to highlight the simple fact that the team is not relying on a single forward spawn. Indeed, there are five forward spawns in play at the moment this screenshot was taken: FOBs Two, Four & Five, and RPs 2 & 3. The team would come to rely on a single FOB (FOB Five) once the final I5 objective was captured. However, each SL was duly updating RPs forward and away from each FOB in such a way that none of our FOBs was ever compromised.
In order to establish such a spawn network on a notoriously difficult map and gametype combination, each Insurgent Squad communicated perfectly, resolved issues amicably, and worked the enemy over through an exemplary use of mutual support, speed, and objective focus. So, with that in mind, what is actually problematic about this spawn network? As the situation stands at the time there is nothing seriously wrong with how the spawn network has been created. There are, however, a few points of concern that could have been addressed—
1. The H5 FOB was established out of necessity, in the interest of speed, to facilitate an immediate and sustained assault on the final I5 Flag. Considering that the enemy were fixed in-place, and unable to advance past that objective zone, the FOB was not in any immediate danger. Some enemy did manage to get past the FOB (and we later found an enemy RP in H4kp7) but the FOB was not placed on the main axis of their advance, and their influence was mitigated, and thus rendered negligible, due to the existence of FOB Two situated in Depth from which we spawned to recapture the objective. The network was also supplemented by forward Squad Rallys that kept the fight at the flag (for the most part) and not at the FOB (or the backcap). Admittedly, in the face of a coordinated opposition thrust, the FOB could have been overrun as there were no defensive emplacements. 2. FOB Three and FOB Four were placed dangerously close to objective zones. However, FOB Three was made quickly redundant by the speed of the team’s advance and FOB Four was established as a fall-back/forward support position after Squad 3 had secured the G8/H8 objective and was capturing H7 objective. 3. FOB Two is a very common FOB location for both teams on PAAS Logar. It is a key piece of terrain that provides overwatch on both the D4 and E6/F6 objectives (in a Westerly direction), and support to both the E6/F6 objective and the G4 Flag (in an Easterly direction). However, should the team be pushed back through the G4 flagzone, FOB Two becomes incredibly vulnerable to attack as the enemy work to establish themselves on the E6/F6 objective and then push through to D4. Any serious opposition team would not be able to complete E6/F6 & D4 double without first locating and destroying that FOB.
That’s that. Thank you very much for taking the time to read Part Three 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—