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13 February 2009 - 10:24 AMFor those of you aware of what a battle drill is, the question is straight forward -- do you think battle drills, modified if necessary, can be used effectively in paintball?
For those of you who don't know what a battle drill is, you can look them up here: http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/EIB/...lls/index.shtml
...And for some reason I'm unable to add a poll. Just post "yea or nay."
30 January 2009 - 01:17 PMROBIN HOOD: SHERWOOD WARS
At Action Acres in Canby, OR. Presented by Team Blacksheep.
Come play at one of the northwest’s premier fields in the upcoming scenario Robin Hood: Sherwood Wars!
In the 12th Century AD, King Richard left England to fight in the Crusades and the land has no leader. Prince John has occupied en force the county of Nottingham and began excising EVIL TAXES and unjust laws on the citizenry. A yeoman by the name of Robin Hood has taken matters into his own hands, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
With new recruits coming into his hideout in Sherwood Forest every day, Robin Hood has amassed a force of Merry Men and has freed the villages from Prince John’s control. Prince John needs to reoccupy the lands or risks having to fight an open rebellion! Prince John and the Royal Guards are now at war with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Will Prince John destroy Robin Hood and his Merry Men, or will Prince John and his Royal Guards be forced to leave Nottingham for good?
Take up arms against Prince John by joining the Merry Men, or enlist in the ranks of the Royal Guards to put down the vigilante Robin Hood. Register today at www.actionacrespb.com. Pre-register before March 21st to get $15 off!
Pre-registration cost: $20
Walk-on/regular registration cost: $35
Paint starting at $40. Sorry, not a BYOP event.
Game day: Saturday, April 4th, 2009 AD
Gates open at 7 AM, game on at 10 AM, game over at 4 PM. Award Ceremony at 4:30 PM.
Go to www.actionacrespb.com for more information and registration.
EDIT: NOTE THE DATE CHANGE -- CHANGED FROM SUNDAY APRIL 5TH TO SATURDAY APRIL 4TH.
17 December 2008 - 09:57 PMThe Operation Order (OPORD) provides a format which will help all you leaders to better prepare your plans and your players for a game. It is designed to cover all the aspects of an operation (hence the name Operation Order). Use the Operations Order to provide all the information for a game, mission, scenario, or even tourney.
The Operation Order is divided into 5 sections called "paragraphs:"
V: Command and Signal
Start the Operation Order with what unit the order is for, and how that unit is composed. This will usually be pretty obvious, but sometimes changes will occur and you want to be sure everybody is aware of that before starting the order.
Paragraph I: SITUATION
This paragraph provides essential information for understanding the situation regarding the Operation.
A: Opposing Forces (OPFOR)
1: Weather and general forecast for the entire operation. Temperature, sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, moon phase, illumination, wind speed, wind direction. Obviously, most of this stuff isn't important -- only include what is pertinent. If the sun isn't going to rise or set during the Operation, then you don't need to include that. If it's not a night game, who cares what phase the moon is in or the illumination. Only relevant information -- do not overload your subordinates with useless info.
2: Terrain. Use the acronym OCOKA to analyze the terrain. OCOKA stands for:
O: Obstacles and Mines (impassable hills, rivers, hedgerows, etc...)
C: Cover and Concealment
O: Observation and Fields of Fire (visibility and line of sight)
K: Key Terrain (hilltops, ridges, bunkers, urbanized terrain a.k.a. buildings)
A: Avenues of Approach (paths, roads, etc...)
3: Composition of OPFOR. What is the OPFOR made of, what kind of markers do they have, what is their overall skill level, what team(s) do they have, how many are there, do they have any special equipment such as tanks, mortars, etc....
4: Location and activity of OPFOR.
5: Activity of OPFOR. Are they attacking, defending, patrolling, etc....
6: Probable course(s) of action on contact. Will they fight, disperse, retreat, attack, etc....
B: Friendly Forces
1: Mission and concept of the next higher unit (taken from paragraph II of that unit's OPORD) also to include higher leader's Commander's Intent (paragraph III)
2: Location and planned actions of units adjacent to yours during the Operation.
3: Units providing support. This includes units directly supporting your Operation, and units that will provide support by fire: Mortars, artillery, tanks, snipers, recon, and other regular units directly supporting. This will be different than units adjacent to yours, as adjacent units may be conducting separate Operations and therefore are not considered supporting units.
C: Attachments and Detachments
Attachments: Anybody not normally a part of your unit that is going with your unit for the Operation.
Detachments: Anybody normally part of your unit that is not going with your unit for the Operation.
Paragraph II: MISSION
This is a clear, concise statement of the unit's task(s) to be accomplished and the purpose for doing it (who, what, when, where, why, and how). THe mission is always stated twice in full.
Paragraph III: EXECUTION
A stated vision that defines the purpose of the Operation. This affords subordinates the ability to accomplish the mission in the absence of direct supervision or communication from the Commander and other leaders.
A: Concept of the Operation
This section describes, in general terms, how the unit will accomplish its task(s) from start to finish. It should identify all mission essential tasks, the decisive points of action, and the main effort. This section should be no longer than six sentences. Here is where you tell a quick, general story about how you envision the mission step-by-step from the AA (assembly area), to the Objective, and the end of the Operation.
B: Tasks to Units
Cover special teams in this area. Go over the names of the people on the team and task and purpose for each team: Assault, support, security, recon, etc.... Also, detail your instructions to individuals such as pointman, rear security, etc....
C: Coordinating Instructions
This section lists the details of coordination and control. Items that might be addressed include:
1: Order of movement, formations, and movement techniques (example: Platoon line squad wedge, 1st squad left flank, 2nd squad center, 3rd squad right flank, traveling overwatch)
2: Actions at halts (short and long)
3: Routes (primary and alternate)
4: Rally points and actions at rally points. This includes the ORP (Objective Rally Point).
5: Actions at danger areas (roads, clearings, etc....)
6: Actions on contact
7: Time schedules: Training, backbriefs, inspections, movement. Give who must be where, when, and what they are doing.
8: Rules of Engagement. There's obviously nothing like "do not fire unless fired upon," but there may be some rules along the lines of "do not engage the hostages, who are dressed in orange," etc....
Paragraph IV: SUPPORT
This paragraph gives the critical logistical information required to sustain the unit during the Operation.
A: Material and Services
Supply: You will need to list the uniform for your players (jersey, ghillie, etc.... Whatever you want or have) as well as special equipment that may be needed for the Operation. Food, water, paint, air, etc....
Resupply: Resupplying units covered in Paragraph I, section B. This section, however, will cover methods of resupply.
Paragraph V: COMMAND AND SIGNAL
This paragraph states where command and control elements are located during the operation and communication details.
1: Location of key personnel and type CP during all phases of the operation.
2: Succession of command. Give this down to the last person. You may want to institute a ranking system to help expedite the process of choosing the succession of command.
1: Frequencies that will be used for communication and call signs
2: Challenge and password
3: Number combination
4: Running password
For those who don't know what the last three items are...
Challenge and password: This is what the 101st AD used during Operation Overlord which I am sure most of you are familiar with. The whole "Flash" "Thunder" thing. What this basically means is that if you are unable to identify a person as friend or foe, you will say a word, a challenge, (e.g. "Flash") and they will respond with a word, a password, (e.g. "Thunder").
Number combination: With this one, it is the same idea as the challenge and password, but instead the two parties (the "aggressor" and the "unknown") must make a combination of numbers by addition which will equal the number set out in the OPORD. In other words, if the Number Combination is set as "7," then the first person will say a number, say, "2," and then the second individual will say another number that will equal the Number combination, in this case, "5." The first person could have said 1 and then the second person 6, or 3 and 4, or 0 and 7. One little thing you might want to remember with this is that using an odd number is preferable to an even number. The reason is that if, for example, the number combination is 8 and the aggressor says "4," if the unknown is not an ally they may simply respond with the same number, "4," which equals 8. If you have an odd number then this is impossible.
Running password: This is if you have individuals being routed or the like and is entering friendly lines and does not have time for a challenge and password or number combination because they are being pursued. This is basically where the party entering simply yells the running password, which is typically just one word (for example you might have the word be "rabbit" or "house" and if you heard somebody running towards you guys yelling that running password you would know they were friendly). After it is used for the first time, you typically want to change it and be sure that all units know it is changed, as the person who used it most likely yelled it loud enough for the OPFOR to hear and possibly assumed it was the running password, hence you need to change it so that you don't run into that issue.
Well, that is your OPORD. Check out the Troop Leading Procedures to see exactly how you use this.
16 December 2008 - 11:39 AMWell you guys have had some time to read and reflect on the Be Know Do thread, so now we'll jump into the next one. One of the most important things you can learn to do as a leader is to get your Troop Leading Procedures down. Troop Leading Procedures essentially means the method in which you prepare for a mission.
As Sun Tzu said, "That which is true for the small is also true for the big." He was speaking about the idea of how small unit and large unit tactics are more or less the same, but this phrase also applies to TLP's, both as a factor of time and of the size of the unit. What I mean by size, is, you can follow the same outline of the TLP in a team as small as 3 players and a team as large as the Armies at OK DDay. What I mean by time, is, you can follow the same outline of the TLP (for the most part) in as little as 1 hour or as much as a year in advance or more. It all depends on your mission.
The Troop Leading Procedures are divided into 8 steps, and they are as follows:
1: RECEIVE THE MISSION
2: ISSUE A WARNING ORDER
3: MAKE A TENTATIVE PLAN
4: START THE NECESSARY MOVEMENT
6: COMPLETE THE PLAN
7: ISSUE THE COMPLETE ORDER
For some of this you may be saying "Why do I need to reconnoiter?" or "What is necessary movement?" All of this I will explain below and again, if you have any questions, please post them here and we'll discuss them.
Step 1: Receive the Mission
You may receive the mission in a Warning Order (WARNO) Operations Order (OPORD) or a Fragmentary Order (FRAGO). I will briefly describe these three, though going into detail will be for another Practical Leadership Application thread.
Warning Order: A Warning Order, or WARNO, is more or less when your Commander gives you a heads-up about a mission coming up and as much detail as he or she can give before giving the official Operations Order. The Warning Order has no specific format, but it should answer as best as possible the 5 W's and 1 H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How).
Operations Order: An Operations Order, or OPORD, has a very specific format and is designed to give all the pertinent information to your players in an organized and easy to use format. The OPORD has 5 "Paragraphs," though in certain cases they may be larger than a paragraph. For example, the OPORD that was given for the Iraq invasion in 2003 was about the size of a small novel. Again, this is for another thread, so if you have questions about the OPORD, just save it for later.
Fragmentary Order: A Fragmentary Order, or FRAGO, is an addition to an OPORD or WARNO. For example, if you receive a WARNO and all that it has is the What Where and Why, you may receive a FRAGO that includes the Who, When, and How. Also, if you received an OPORD and began to carry out the mission, you may receive a FRAGO during the mission that will change something in the order. Fragmentary, from the word Fragment, isn't derived from a grenade, but rather means a piece of something pertaining to the original.
Okay, back on task. You receive your mission as a WARNO, OPORD, or FRAGO, and as soon as you do you must begin to analyze it using METT-TC. METT-TC stands for...
and Civilian considerations.
There are hardly ever "civilians" on a paintball field, but occasionally you may have to deal with hostages as part of a scenario.
Mission: What is the mission objective? This is your primary factor to consider when creating your plan. If your mission is "take the base" then everything else revolves around that. If your mission is "patrol the wood line" then everything else revolves around that. The mission is always first takes on a new meaning for leaders.
Enemy: We try to avoid using words like "Enemy" and "Kill" and "Gun," so if you will excuse the expression.... This section is pretty simple: How many are there, what is/are their skill level(s), what is their composition (do they have pumps, semi's or electros, do they have rockets, mortars, grenades, tanks, etc... and how many), their location(s), their activity (what will they be doing) and their probable course of action on contact (will they fight back, disperse, retreat, etc....)
Terrain: There can be a lot of issues with terrain. This includes weather forecast, position of the sun during the operation, illumination from the moon (if it is a night mission), wind speed, wind direction. All of this you can find out. Of course, use your common sense. If you have 1 hour to complete your TLP, is it really necessary to find out the speed of the wind? No, you would probably serve your team better by focusing your efforts on other activities of the TLP.
Troops available: Pretty simple. Same concept as the Enemy section -- how many, composition, skill level, etc.... Most of this you should know right away.
Time: Missions are given in one of 2 formats, in a "complete at such and such a time," or a "complete no later than (NLT)" format. Essentially the differences here will be that the smaller the unit, the more frequently the former will be used and NLT will be used more often with larger units. The time of the mission is very important because this will tell you "Do I have 1 hour or 5?" "Do I have 1 week or a year?" This usually depends on the operation. For Oklahoma D-Day, you will more than likely receive an OPORD from your higher Commanders (or perhaps you are the highest commander and will give it yourself) at least a year out, if you want to be well prepared. Nobody is going to call you and say "yeah, you've got 5 hours to prepare for Oklahoma D-Day -- we're leaving tomorrow morning."
Civilian considerations: This will be dealt with on a case by case basis. More or less, this will again tell you the same thing as the Enemy or Troops available section, but in regards to any "non-combatants" on the field and what your disposition is to them. If they are hostages but your mission is NOT to rescue them, but be a distraction for another element to do so then that is a very important detail that should be in this analysis section.
1/3 2/3s Rule:
Now, a quick note before we go any further into the Troop Leading Procedures: As a general rule of thumb, follow the one-third two-thirds rule. This means you should take no more than 1/3 of the alloted time for your planning and give the other 2/3s to your subordinates. So, if you've got 6 hours before a mission, you should spend no more than 2 hours to conduct the first 7 steps of the TLP.
Step 2: Issue a Warning Order
In order to allow your players to better prepare themselves for the mission coming up, you shouldn't spring it on them 5 minutes before hand. As soon as you receive the mission and begin to analyze it, get all of your players together (or the ones immediately below you, if the former would be too many) and give them a WARNO. Just the basics, and only what you know for sure or have been told.
Do not tell them "we're going to insert here on the sidelines and do this that and the other" if you do not know yet for sure. If that becomes a part of your tentative plan, then put that out in a FRAGO. But do not get your guys all riled up and preparing for something when they're going to be doing something completely different -- trust me, it sucks when you've moved all your equipment around and done rehearsals and everything for about 10 hours without sleep or breaks only to find out that the mission has changed and you more or less have to put everything back where it was and start over again.
Basically, if your CO tells you "hey, you've got a mission in 1 hour to take this base and I want you to take all the guys in your squad and round up 10 walkons to go with you" then a smart course of action would be to notify everybody in your squad and get them working on getting their gear ready and finding some walkon players to go on the mission too. Pretty basic, and that is how most of this will go, but the TLPs are designed to encompass any and all scenarios and will serve the same purpose for a 3 man speedball tourney as they will for the Supreme Allied Commander of the Normandy Invasion Force for Oklahoma D-Day.
Okay, enough crap, if you can't really think of what you would need to tell them, then just tell them this:
1: The mission or nature of the operation
2: Who will be participating
3: Time of the operation
4: Time and place for when you will give the completed OPORD.
Step 3: Make a Tentative Plan
Develop an estimate of the situation to use as the basis for your tentative plan. This is called the decision making process. I'm sure you've all heard that term since about the 3rd grade, but there is a set way to do this. The decision making process consists of 5 steps:
1: Detailed mission analysis
2: Situation analysis and course of action development
3: Analysis of each course of action
4: Comparison of each course of action
This can be simple or complex, how you go about it will depend on your alloted time (remembering the one-third two-thirds rule) and the factors of METT-TC.
Once you have reached step 5 (Decision) that will be your tentative plan. Remember that this is a tentative plan, meaning it can and WILL change. Use this tentative plan to coordinate steps 4 and 5 of the TLP. Speaking of step 4...
Step 4: Start the Necessary Movement
This would be a very good time to have subordinate leaders. Starting the necessary movement will occur while the complete order is still being created. This involves things like preparing gear, airing up, getting paint, etc.... This step can start even before step 3 of the TLP, and it should.
Not much more to say on this, but it is a very important step.
Step 5: Reconnoiter
If METT-TC dictates/allows that a reconnaissance be conducted, then a recon should be conducted. Ideally, this would be conducted by you, but if you cannot afford it (monetarily or otherwise) and somebody else has already conducted a recon which you can use the information from, then you should do that.
The "take the hill" type of mission would most likely not afford a recon element at this point, though during the mission a forward recon can be conducted as well (if you setup an ORP and all that -- again, another PLA for the future). However, if your team decides they want to go to D-Day in 2011, perhaps going to D-Day yourself the year before would be possible and prove useful as well.
A reconnaissance mission during the TLP should be used to verify the terrain analysis, use of routes, and timing during the mission and should be used to adjust your tentative plan.
Step 6: Complete the Plan
Complete your plan based on the recon (if applicable) and any changes to the situation and FRAGO's given from higher. Review the mission as it was given from higher to ensure that your plan meets the requirements and is within the Commander's Intent.
Commander's Intent is pretty simple -- what is the intent of the mission? If your CO just tells you "take the hill" then you don't know much more than that. What you should get from him/her is "take the hill because it is a key piece of terrain overlooking the flank of our main effort to defend the General's CP." With that, your mission is "take the hill" and the intent is to ensure that the flank is secured and protected from any attack by your opponents on the General's CP. Remember though, the intent is "protect the general's CP," but that is not the mission.
If the CP is attacked, remember that your mission is to take the hill -- not guard the CP, so before you do anything in the realm of counter-attacking the CP or reinforcing the protection force that is already there, use your communication channels and your chain of command to find out if this is a wise course of action. There is a lot to think about as a leader, and you will also want to remember other factors in this as well. If the General's CP is attacked and you receive no communication, then taking some initiative and sending a recon element to the CP to assess the situation would satisfy both the mission objective and Commander's Intent. If your Commander does enough planning and is a good leader, he will tell you what to do in this contingency, therefore leaving no question in your mind. And if he doesn't, then ask what course of action you should take if that contingency occurs.
The basic rule of combat is that a plan never survives first contact. This is why Commander's Intent is extremely important.
Step 7: Issue the Complete Order
Issue the final order in the OPORD format. You will want to issue the order orally (rather than just handing everybody the order on a piece of paper and saying "go do that"). It will aid in your subordinates' understanding of the concept of the mission. If it is possible, do so within sight of the objective, if it is not possible, then use appropriate sand tables to ensure your subordinates have a clear visual understanding of the objective, the mission, and the plan and contingencies.
Make sure that your subordinates understand the following:
1: Commander's Intent
2: Concept of the operation
3: Assigned tasks
Ask questions of your subordinates to ensure that they understand these three things and be sure to allow time for them to ask you questions.
Step 8: Supervise
You must supervise the rest of the unit's preparation for the mission by conducting practices/training if necessary/time allows, and inspections of equipment.
Inspections: Squad Leaders should conduct initial inspections shortly after receipt of the WARNO (step 2) to ensure that their players have the necessary equipment, and if they don't they need to take steps to get that equipment. Briefly, you would want to ensure they have at least the following: Marker, hopper, extra batteries mask, pods, vest/pod pack, paint, air/co2, water, squeegee/barrel snake, barrel bag, appropriate tools, and mission essential equipment. All markers and hoppers should have full, fresh batteries, and key leaders should have radios and maps. And always remember -- every good player should carry a pen and pad of paper with them.
Training/practices: Again, this is a time alloted thing. If you've got 2 months to prepare for a big scenario, you should use that time to practice! Conduct as many practices for as long as you think is necessary and feasible. Use practices and training for the following purposes as preparation for a mission:
Practice essential tasks. If the mission is "take the hill" then you might want to do some cardio workouts to prepare for playing on the hill, you might also want to practice assaulting up and down a hill.
Reveal weaknesses or problems in the plan. Let's face it -- at some point you're going to make a mistake. If you plan to take the hill by walking up the main path in a single file and you find that you get gunned down very quickly, you might want to put out a FRAGO on the order of movement up the hill -- maybe change it to a wedge formation, or take the hill from two sides, or whatever the case may be. All METT-TC dependent. Very important acronym.
Coordinate the actions of subordinate elements. Let's say you go for a 'prep the hill with mortar fire and then assault from the west and north slopes simultaneously' approach. That will probably yield pretty good results if you achieve surprise and maintain initiative, but it will take a lot of coordination and practicing that coordination will pay off when it comes time to do the mission.
Improve players' understanding of the concept of the operation. Basically, if somebody doesn't quite understand how assaulting the hill from 2 angles at once (envelopment) will be better than attacking one side with the entire force, then this will show them that it would be a better course of action. Consequently, if that ISN'T the better course of action, see "reveal weaknesses or problems in the plan."
And that, my friends, is the Troop Leading Procedures. Let's put it into a couple practice examples, as these threads ARE titled "Practical Leadership Applications"
You are a squad leader in charge of 8 other players in your team, which you have divided into 2 fireteams under the supervision of fireteam leaders. You're at a big scenario game and the night before the game begins you receive a mission from your team Commander in the form of a WARNO. You've got 9 hours before the mission is set to begin, so that gives you 3 hours to prepare for it.
After you get the WARNO you begin to analyze it using METT-TC and you have completed step 1. It's dinner time, so rather than call your entire squad over and interrupt everybody's meal, you call your 2 team leader's over and issue a WARNO to them, telling them to start getting their team's ready by prepping gear, filling up on paint, air, and water, for them to meet you back here in 30 minutes, and for the entire squad to meet at the back of your car in 2 and a half hours to receive the final order.
Your team leaders go on their way to get their team's ready, you've just completed steps 2 and 4. You take about 30 minutes to work on a plan for completing the mission, using the decision making process, and after those 30 minutes your 2 team leaders return to you. You've just completed step 3.
Now you and both team your team leaders head out to the mission area (assuming the field is open at night for walking -- if not then you'll just have to wait till morning before the game starts) and conduct a reconnaissance of the area. Step 5 is done. With the recon complete, you adjust your tentative plan. You've still got 1.5 hours before everybody is to meet at your car, so you take another 20 minutes or so to complete the plan while your team leaders return to their teams to conduct inspections.
After you've completed the final plan, you head over to do a final inspection of all the equipment and take a list of equipment that your squad still needs and go up your chain of command with that, or just get in the car, head in to town, and get those spare batteries that some noob forgot to bring. You've completed steps 6 and 8.
With any spare time, you do whatever you feel is necessary -- relaxing is always an option -- until everybody is to meet for the complete order. Everybody meets at your car, you issue the complete order (in OPORD format), ensure that everybody understands the mission and their tasks, then tell everybody to get ready for sack time -- set a first call in the morning for when everybody needs to be up (if your commander hasn't set one already) and then go to sleep. You've just completed step 7, which in this case was the final step until the next morning when you will conduct one last inspection just before the mission starts to ensure everybody actually HAS ON THEM their necessary equipment. You would think that if the inspection was conducted the night before that it would be okay, but stranger things have happened during the course of 6 hours of sleep.
You are the Commander of a team of 35, organized into 3 squads of 11 with 2 assistant Commander's. It's December 2008. You decide that for 2010 the team will attend Oklahoma D-Day. 1/3 2/3 rule still applies. This gives you about 6 months to prepare the complete plan. Now, I'm not going to go into tremendous detail, because that would take far too long.
So, you've already completed step 1 (since you give the orders anyway), so now you issue the WARNO to your squad leaders. OKDDAY, whole team of course, early June 2010, will have final plan completed by July 2009. Using METT-TC and the decision making process, come up with a plan for attending D-Day. Step 2 is done. Now, you've got a lot to consider for making your tentative plan.
This is much more logistical than tactical or strategic. What side will you play for? Are you attending any of the preliminary courses or just D-Day? Are you flying or driving? Camping or hotel? The list goes on. A lot of this is going to be money and time issues as well. You will definitely need to address those and that will be part of what you do when you consider how to get everybody out there and what not. Pre-registering by a certain date will save money on that, getting plane tickets and renting a hotel room and car in advance will also save money, etc.... These are the little extra things you gotta think about when planning. Part of the final plan in this case will be how much everything will cost. These are all different courses of action as part of the decision making process. Coming to a decision will more than likely take quite some time and more than a little effort.
Before you get TOO wrapped up in making the plan, get your squads started on practicing for D-Day. This will mean PT during practices to condition your bodies for the high heat and physical stress. Practicing tactical movements and understanding the concept of true scenario events and the specific missions of D-Day, if you have enough intel on that and on what side and unit you will be playing. Once you've got your squad leaders started on those practices, you've started step 8 and 4. Next is reconnoiter.
Get your plan as finalized as possible, then use the reconnoitering to help flush out the details. Pick a recon team. Yourself, one of the assistant commanders and one of the squad leaders or something like that. Not too many, but you don't want to go by yourself in case you overlook something. Head out to D-Day, check out the field for yourself, the units, what the game is really like, what the prices are really like, if there are any deals you couldn't find or overlooked while looking at everything on the internet, etc.... This will help give you the data you need to get a final price together and finish the plan for the next month, July, the month you are issuing the complete order, and then do that. Now step 5 is done.
July comes around. Get your whole team together and issue the complete order. Remember to ensure everybody understands the three key things -- CO's intent, concept of the operation, and assigned tasks. This includes financial and time commitment that players will make and all that (included in "assigned tasks"). Step 6 has been accomplished and now step 7 has just been done.
Now the team will have the next year (1/3 2/3 rule has been followed correctly) to prepare for the game. Don't think that just because you've issued the complete order doesn't mean that things will change. You will inevitably be issuing FRAGO's (though you should attempt to limit the amount as much as possible) probably up until you actually leave for Oklahoma. During this time, ensure your team is practicing appropriately and getting all the gear they will need for this. This completes step 8.
13 December 2008 - 06:48 AMWell, it's been a while since I've been in these forums, and the Commander's section has taken a HUGE hit! What happened guys?
Well, in the past I have seen a lot of good (and some not so good) leadership theory presented by you guys, but I've really not seen much actual practical application of that theory. If you're your decisions as CO are based on your personal feelings of grand strategy, watching the History Channel, or famous quotes by successful Military commanders, then you need to take a look at what I have in here. For all you Army guys, you'll recognize this stuff. I have tailored this stuff to work for paintball, but if you guys have any suggestions for this stuff, well, this is a forum -- use it
If you asked me to describe how to be a successful commander in three words, I could give you an answer: Be, know, do.
If you are confused about the rest of what I'm writing, just remember those three words and go from there -- BE KNOW DO.
Okay, let's get started with that, one word at a time.
This one might not be so obvious from the beginning. You could say, well it means "be the leader." But what is that if you don't know what a leader is?
"Be" is defined as Values, and Character. This is where lead by example comes into play. As a leader you need to have a set of good values and high level of character. A common exercise for this is to write down values that you think you posses, and then write down some values you think you could work on or need to keep vigilant on yourself about. Character is more about what you do and who you are on the day to day basis, and how your values affect those attributes.
Some examples of good values (taken from the US Army) would be: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. All of those are pretty good for team players, perhaps duty should be substituted with Commitment, and then becomes some what synonymous with Selfless Service. Honor and Integrity are pretty much the same in the paintball world, so like I said -- gotta tweak this stuff to the paintball world. My team has a set of values that would be a bit much to share at this point, so we'll just continue on.
Attributes of character (again, as defined by the army) are: Mental, Physical, and Emotional. Statistically speaking, you're going to be a better leader if you're mentally tough, physically strong, and emotionally stable. If you can't think straight while under stress, you can't run do a sit-up to save your life, and you snap at people, you're not likely to be an effective leader.
Know means what you know both as a player, and how to command and what you need to do as a leader. Knowing all of the "noob" stuff might seem like it's implied, but it is important to make sure that you understand all of this stuff as well (I've had more Lieutenants that I'm comfortable with asking Privates about common Soldier tasks).
Here are the four sub-categories for "know:"
Interpersonal skills: Leadership, or Democracy as the saying goes, is not a popularity contest -- well, theoretically anyway. Actually, no, not even theoretically -- more like in a perfect world. To be a good leader and have the respect and trust of your players, you gotta be able to socialize with them and not think of them as "beneath" you. For me, this is kind of a "duh" thing, but again -- if it's not addressed, then some people might miss it.
Conceptual skills: In a sentence -- the ability to understand and apply the doctrine and other ideas to do your job. For those of you who think "being a commander isn't a job" -- you don't really have a team yet, you have a club.
Technical skills: Know how to use your equipment. Pretty simple, again, this is kind of a "you're a noob if you don't" thing, so this shouldn't be a huge thing to get down. This doesn't mean you gotta be the gun tech of the team, but you should at least have the general knowledge and skills to be able to perform basic maintenance on most of the guns your players' carry. If you're sitting there going "what's an O-ring?" then you have a lot of work to do (and don't stop once you know what an O-ring is ).
Tactical skills: What is a commander if not a tactician? You gotta know what the right moves, at the right time, the right place, and by the right players, are going to be. This includes off the field. Like I said, you think being a commander isn't a job?
So you understand how to be the leader, and what the leader has to know. Now, you gotta do it.
This section is categorized into 3 parts: Influencing, Operating, and Improving.
The official Army definition of Leadership: "Leadership is influencing people -- by providing purpose, direction, and motivation -- while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."
Influencing: Easy -- get people to do what you want them to do. By the definition above, it is the means and method to achieve the standards of operating level through improvement (see how these words all play on each other?). The operating level is a standard that is set by yourself, really. It is one of those things that you gotta have a gut feeling on more or less. Needless to say, you can't expect to have a Semi-pro ranked team in the NPPL in your first year, at the same time though, your practices need to consist of more than just a couple walkon games and then a pizza party back at one of the guys' house. The improvement comes through recruiting, training, providing equipment (either requiring the players to do so and/or having a team "supply") and, as we're not funded by the Department of Defense, good financial skills as well. Might seem like I went onto all three categories in one, but I'll get to the others in better detail.
If you are still a little confused as to what influencing is, just look up these three words: Communicating, Decision Making (okay that's 2 words), and Motivating.
Operating: This is, of course, the primary function of the team -- go to games/tourneys/scenarios/whatever your team has set out to do. By the way, it is very important that when you form your team (or at least at some point) that you come to a clear understanding as to what the objective of that team is. You might want to write it out as a "Mission Statement." Every successful organization in the world has had a mission statement.
Three words to look up for Operating: Planning and Preparation (yeah yeah, 2 words again), Executing, and Assessing. You might think that assessing would be an "improving" thing, but it is very important that you understand that assessing needs to happen during operations.
Improving: This is what practices are for. Practices should have a very specific goal. "We suck at this, so we need to work on it" or "such and such game/scenario/tourney (a.k.a. "Operation") is coming up and we need to practice for it by doing this, that and the other." You get the idea I think. To address the assessing comment from before -- if you try to make assessments of your performance in past games during practices, you may come up with some inaccurate information and therefore may not improve as much as you could have. If you make assessments during games (or immediately after) then you do a few things -- it becomes ingrained in your mind, you have it written down, and you will remember it more clearly because of those things.
Three words for improving: Developing, Building, and Learning.
Well, I think that should be enough homework for you commanders out there. Again, this is a forum and I encourage you guys to discuss this stuff and add your own suggestions. I will be making more threads about practical leadership in the future, so watch out for them!