True Commander Stories mine and yours!
Posted 13 September 2009 - 09:24 PM
Here's a little number that happened to me at this year's Oklahoma D-Day 2009. I played for 1st Ranger Battalion and within a couple days I got picked for "squad leader." Now don't get me wrong, I've been a team captain for a long time and I've got most of the important parts of that job down -- logistics, schedules, equipment, supplies, food, I can handle that stuff. But this was different. See, I'm a fast-mover; I like to shoot a lot, I like to run, I like to bunker -- I want to be on the tip of the spear. As squad leader, though, I had to work a different part of the game entirely -- calling the plays, relaying info to and from the commanders, and keeping track of all my guys (there were ten of us total). I figured, I've always been great at seeing the field and taking care of business, and I've got loads of experience -- plus my voice is like wicked-loud, so I thought I'd have this job down pat.
That's what I thought.
Lucky for me, the guys running the Rangers had us run a live-fire exercise before kicking off the mini-scenarios. I learned a few things real fast. First and foremost, it is something near impossible to keep track of your players when they're moving! This put me in my place hard. I found myself walking up and down both sides of a gulch looking for people from my squad, hoping to find the line from there. Well, as hard as it was for ME to keep track of everyone, it was harder for the guys doing the gunfighting -- they've got more to think about than watching the man in front of them. After ten minutes of shame we reset the exercise and got set to try again -- here I shared what I'd seen, gave a few pointers on keeping track of each other, and paired people up for easier management. The next round was better, but people still got separated in thick brush. The good news was that in pairs and fours, it proved a lot easier to move as a unit. We did better, but naturally I wanted more for the last round. This time I laid out "rally points" -- specific enough that you couldn't get lost, but general enough to allow for the natural flow of combat. This may or may not have helped people, I can't really say -- the other change I made was to run up and down the line so the last person always knew (ideally) where the first person was at, and vice-versa. The movement was exceptional, the combat effectiveness was about the same as before. Awareness was obviously a lot better. A disadvantage was that, since I was running and watching my guys, it was harder for me to keep track of the other squad leaders or the commander; a radio woulda helped with that.
There were a couple take-aways that I gathered out of this, and I tried to share them right away with the rest of the squad. First, people on your team are going to get hit in paintball, and your group is inevitably going to get splintered up. Especially on a big field, like D-Day or most scenarios, this is just a fact of the game. It's not the end of the world! But you should have a plan. When you're relaying information, make sure your people know the big important stuff, like "we're attacking up the hill," "we're meeting so-and-so unit by the river," or whatever you know. This will help your people find you when you all get separated.
Second, I learned that it's really hard to split your focus -- and you don't want your fighters doing that. They don't need to be doing anything but fighting and talking. It's your job to keep track of info, objectives, and the changing landscape of the game. The same way your fighters (ideally) shouldn't have to command, your commanders shouldn't have to fight. For an aggressive guy, it's the hardest part of the job, and sometimes the situation changes -- but the most important thing is the most important thing. Make sure you know what's important in your command role, and focus on that.
Last and most importantly, I learned that despite all my experience and all my good qualities, and all the work I'd done keeping the Air Force team operating and playing, and all the games, scenarios, and training events I'd set up -- and there were a lot of them -- sometimes I just plain don't know what the FRAG is going on. And believe me, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody! So guys, watch out for your egos out there. I've got a great situational-awareness story for later, but the take-away here? Don't be afraid to bite off a lot, but know your limits.
Posted 14 September 2009 - 08:54 PM
Leap-frogging is basically moving to a position while your teammate stays back until you are in position. When you give the go-ahead, the other player moves forward past you to the next position. We got half-way down the road when I spotted a glint from the sun come from the woods. I immediately crouched down in the grass and signaled to one of my other guys that there was one enemy in the woods, and he moved on him and took him out. As soon as he had eliminated him, two other enemies started running down the road. I yelled to my teammates to get in the grass and open fire. We all got down and waited until they were in range, then we opened fire with our flatlines. In a matter of seconds, we had taken them out. We moved down the road slowly and rendevous with our other teammates. They had swept through the left side and had used our commotion to sneak up on the other three enemies and ambush them. We only lost one team member during the whole game.
The one thing I did learn was patience always is a virtue and that if you have to divide your force, make sure you appoint that flank a "leader" that knows what they are doing. After finishing an objective, stay in touch with your team and help them if at all possible.
This post has been edited by BigBear88: 14 September 2009 - 08:56 PM
Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:32 AM
28 Oct 2006 - Wild indoor games! Good mix of walk-ons and experienced players.
Got tagged with a lucky shot in the first 5 seconds of first game.
Learned from that - stayed low, moved fast from then on.
Played commander in one game - the other "heavy gun" played the OPFOR commander. Wanted to get him out fast or my mostly-walk-on team was going to be intimidated to death. RAN up field and right into their base area - they hadn't moved. WHACK! 1 for 1 on the commander! Mission accomplished - both of us walk out - my team sees this and rallies.
In another game, did a sneaky approach through a 1st level tunnel with another heavy gun - suppressed several defenders until my team took them out - I moved up INTO their castle and tagged one fellow out before the game ended. W00t!
Good communication between players. Had a few games where I didn't get tagged out - tough to do in such a small field (150' x 50', odd shape) with so many people running around.
High-intensity game - I'm so exhausted right now...
9 Dec 2006 - Another "bad-ish" night... getting taken out way too easily. I think part of it is adjusting to the new field... it's much more open with a lot of shooting lanes where people can take you out from the other end of the field. I'm hanging it WAY out, running for the flag or just moving up field while the rest of the team COWERS at the starting line. Lead by example isn't working...
Having a team of cowards isn't fun. You end up biting it when you hang your butt out and get it shot off. It'd be nice to have a regular team I could count on. Still, I like having newbs if the other team has same. One experienced guy on each team means you can both teach people the mechanics of the game.
Posted 17 September 2009 - 03:59 PM
What do I mean by "Reliable?" Time for another story!!
Let's reach back.... oh, I don't know, let's talk Airsoft. About two years ago I played my first scenario-Airsoft game. I say "scenario" simply as a term of convenience -- we're talking about forty players, most of them with a year or more of experience under their belts, playing the rough Woods equivalent of a "Battlefield 1942" match. Basically a series of objective-based minigames, which I actually thought were very fun. This was about two years ago, my first time playing Airsoft -- though I was already the CO of the paintball club, which gave me a heckuva lot of command experience, and a huuuuuge target on my back for all the Airsoft dudes. But I digress -- this being my first time in the Airsoft arena, I was content to sit back and let other people take charge.
Well I learned a few things quickly. First was that, despite most of the other players having more Airsoft skills than me (took me three games to figure out how to reload -- ouch), they didn't necessarily make better leaders! The first game we played, the people barking orders and giving commands were very aggressive with their tactics. Ultimately it had most of us players running head-on into fire, or over-extending past our flanks, or whatever the case might be. We got wasted, I guess, is the best way of stating it. Later on these guys gradually shut up and others took their place. These guys were a lot more aware of what was going on -- they paid attention to things like, "Where's the rest of our team?" "Where's the enemy?" "Where are we in relation to the objective?" All good traits, I thought -- only they never took initiative. One game in particular -- a CTF game that had already lasted 45 minutes of an hour -- I decided at last that I was tired of playing defense, singlehandedly advanced across the field and eliminated the enemy's entire base defense. No, I wasn't leading -- in fact I wasn't following, either, since I deliberately broke orders to accomplish this -- but I opened a door, and the smart people leading fireteams in the woods saw their opportunity and pounced, and within minutes we had swarmed their base and won the game.
I thought it was a pretty good example of two extremes of leadership -- at the start of the day we had all aggression but no Situational Awareness, whereas later we had all SA, but no aggression. These are the areas where a commander can really exert some direct control. If you're leading, you get to choose whether your team pushes or holds back; you get to choose whether or not to worry about the patch of trees on the left, etc etc. So, choose well!
- - CJ brought up a nice point about teammates. Bad news is, you generally can't control who's on your team. All you can really do is be right, and hope for quality followers. Well, that's not exactly true -- but I wouldn't recommend trying to coach your newbies up in the middle of a game, as it'll probably result in you screaming and them cowering even harder.
Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:51 PM
It was my second West Point event, and a very good friend of mine, and great all around player, was chosen as the General for a side. This particular event was Vietnam based, and it was VC v US. My friend had asked me to be the XO, and we'd be the VC. The training area we were playing in was prime land for tanks, and as such, we had two on our side. The two came from one team, who are dedicated armor, so they had established tactics as it was.
Now, when I lead something, I like to be in the thick of things. I need to have eyes on target to figure out what is going on and make my decisions. I can not stand being in the back, listening on the radio. Luckily for me, the cadets let the Generals be armed and roam the field, with no rule stating that they have to stay in the CP. PERFECT. As per my style, I was in the middle of every fire fight, radio(s) in hand. Doug Decker from the Red Raiders had given me one, and on my own, I had the tanks on frequency. To protect me, I had my team with me. Through out the whole wet and soggy game (it poured the whole weekend), we had the blue team on a tight rope. Any time we'd have a pocket of heavy fighting, I'd call in the Red Raiders to swing in one way, and the tanks to put pressure from the other side, essentially squeezing the US until there was none left.
One particular battle that sticks in my mind was when they US sprung an ambush from the tree line on the open field. It got intense, and I was in the opposite tree line. I could see figures moving about in the brush on the other side, and from where they were shooting. I got on the radio with the tanks and both rolled in. I'd call out their positions and the tanks would move up and lay waste to those trying to hide. I had asked one of my own team members to take some people and make a sweep of that area. Just as I did that, balls came whizzing past my head from behind. AMBUSH! Somehow they had goten around (Tunnel vision, it's a killer!) I got down, as did my guys, and we returned fire. I called on the radio for the tanks to open up, since I was in a tough pickle. They came over to my tree line and laid fire down as I climbed inside. I remained in there, calling out to the Red Raiders about the pocket, and they eventually took them out.
While I kept on with the fire fights, my friend as General had teams running missions. I kept the blue team busy while he coordinated the teams to get the points, and it worked out great. I learned a lot from being the XO in that event, and it has helped me in other games as well. We wound up winning that one, I forget the score, but it was such a great game I didn't care.
Communitcation is key. Whether it be via radio, hand signals, or yelling. One thing I do in a big event is yell out opposing players positions, REALLY loud. This lets people on my side know, and also lets the opposing player know that we see them and there's no hiding (partially a mental trick).
Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:50 AM
Posted 18 September 2009 - 11:24 AM
When I am in the field, I am one of those loudest guys.
When I'm in the command bunker generaling an event, I am the loudest guy.
I tend to lead in the field anytime I'm not the general - if I general, I've found it's easier for people to report things/bring necessary props (such as money)/other required tasks when they know where to find you. I break my team up and send them out as my eyes and ears through UHF radios (or in one case, cell phones). Then again, they've been given direction as to how to accurately report meaningful information rapidly.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 07:19 PM
It was the 3rd game of paintball i had ever played (I mean it ws the first time i went aswell).It was Defend the general about 25 vs 25.there was a long path, leading to a truck about 1/3 of a mile away with a terrorist camp about 500 meters down a hill below it.So About 22 or so players (including the general) moved up the trail, cautiously scanning the area ahead.
I had different ideas.
I Moved up for about 50 or so metres behind the main force, accompaniying 2 players lagging behind until i saw a little puff of gas about 150ft below me and realising that it was an enemy player, not realising the range he could reach with the 98 customs we had.
I Shouted to the two players to get down, then climb up the hill behind us. They stopped at a small dug out mortar pit shaped position covered by some rocks and took up firing positions resting on the rocks.I wasnt happy with that position and climbed about 2 metres higher until i fell into a position that was invisible from the front and sides but somehow had a great view.
I told the two players below me to help me find where the enemy players had moved to, having lost sight of them while climbing. We soon spotted about 15 of them following a path up to the trail we were on bellow us.
I told the players not to fire until they were on the trail we had just left.
They enemy reached the trail and we open fired.
We hit about 7 of them out but it was still 8 against 3.
I sent one of the players to go get support and set the other to move the opposite direction and give supressive fire.
I then moved around the enemy force and hit 2 while the suppresive fire hit one and then got hit out.
After a minute of not stop fire hitting the tree i was behind a flurry of shots came from behind me.It was the other player and 5 more people he had got to help.
I sent 4 of them up the slope to give cover while me and the two others moved up and Finished off the enemy.
Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:47 PM