Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tactical Briefing 05: How to Plan and Execute a Squad Sized Assault


Welcome virtual soldier. Today we will be discussing how to plan as a squad leader, and then execute that plan, an assault on a small town.

One of the most important things to know about launching an assault is intelligence. You need to know what your squad is up against, and if they are capable of succeeding in that assault. Sending a squad of men against a fortified company of enemy infantry with armor and air support is not a winnable situation.

If you have support of your own like air support or a sniper support team. You have to take that into account. Brief the support units and have them assigned to a place to provide that support and be able to respond quickly enough when time for that support is needed.
Besides intelligence, you need to know how to read a map, make your plan based on enemy forces, enemy contact, and terrain layout of a map. Plan to protect your flanks, and be able to retreat if necessary.

I’ve decided with the last two tactical brief articles to present them in a little different fashion. I’m going to show you an assault mission, and explain what and why I did certain things.
This mission is based on an Armed Assault game mission, but it can be used with any tactical simulation that allows you the freedom to plan, move, and attack as needed. Unfortunately, some games force you down a certain path, where your leadership skills aren’t that important. But for the games that allow free movement, like the excellent Armed Assault, you can attack a defended position, and if done right the enemy won’t even know your team is there until it’s too late.
Final word before we start. Make a plan, but be flexible. Sometimes you have to change your plan on the fly. Be prepared to do that as a leader, and as a soldier be prepared to follow new orders.
Plan and Execute an Assault

Remember what I said in the introduction of this briefing — using available intel then good map reading skills are the first two and most important things to know.
In Armed Assault the mission briefing should give you the needed intel on the mission. The mission maker shouldn’t create missions that are not winnable.
As for the map, learn how to read terrain and then use that terrain to get your teams into position to engage and destroy the enemy. In Armed Assault, zoom in and out with the mouse wheel. Know where the hills are and which way the terrain lines (contour lines) move.

Don’t rush planning — spend some time with it. Double-clicking on your map allows you to insert a text message on the map. This can be used as a reminder to you during the mission in single player mode, or you can use it to instruct and brief your fire teams on the plan during multiplayer sessions. Everyone in your squad can see these text messages.

You then start your mission only after you’ve made a plan and explained the plan to your squad members.

First we order the squad to load up in their vehicles. Once mounted, order them into a column formation and return to formation. I always drive the lead vehicle due to the limits of intelligence in the AI, but if you’re doing a multiplayer mission, make sure humans do the driving.

After a check of the map and intended direction is determined by using the compass, the squad moves out in from a friendly, secured area towards waypoint 1.

We arrive at waypoint 1 which is still far enough away from the assault location to not be spotted.

The squad is ordered to dismount and return to formation.

As a squad leader, order your squad into fire teams using the “Assign” menu of Armed Assault. Also order your AI to “Hold Fire” and “Combat Mode, Danger”. This keeps them from firing too early and makes them go into the prone position whenever you stop.

We move out in wedge formation towards the town from waypoint 1 to waypoint 2. Noticed how I used the hill to approach the town for protection and not be seen.

Now as a squad leader, most of my mission time is watching, observing, ordering, and adjusting my orders to my fire teams. Don’t watch individuals. Concentrate on the entire fire or support teams as a group.

Once I have both alpha team (red) and bravo team (blue) in position, I order an “Open Fire” in the target menu. Alpha team then moves up to the hills ridge, overwatches the town, and opens fire on targets.
Bravo team moves into location and opens fire.

You’ll notice that Alpha team has been ordered into line formation to maximize firepower while bravo team is still being ordered to move from cover-to-cover on the flank.

If a man goes down, you can order a medic to move near the injured soldier. Then use the action menu of your wounded soldier and order him to “Heal at Medic”. Keep your people healthy. If they remain injured, move them back to a support / overwatch role.

Depending on the game settings difficulty, whenever a friendly unit sees an enemy it will appear on the map. You can then use the target menu to assign team members to engage a specific target.

Once all known enemies have been eliminated. Then order one team to cover from high ground, and send the other team into the town to sweep and clear.

Now don’t be afraid to adjust your plan. In this case, alpha team cannot cover bravo team properly due to obstructing buildings, so I order alpha team to move to another overwatch location.


Once the town has been swept and cleared, have your squad regroup, check for injuries, re-arm, and prepare for either defending the location you have just taken, or follow new orders. Hopefully, the new orders will be an extraction order back to the rear for some much needed R&R. 

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