Communications

Good communication is not just relaying orders. The ability of leaders to understand what is transpiring on the battlefront is dependent on effective communication. Together this provides situational awareness and helps remove the 'fog of war'.

This page will give you insight into the standard procedures & vocabulary for communications.

It is recommended you read the platoon basics page first.

Radio Nets and Channel Assignment

This pertains to the @ACRE2 mod for Arma 3. Typically the following setup occurs:

  • Platoon command net - on the 148/152/117F radios is usually assigned channel 1. Present: Platoon leader and Squad leaders will typically be on this net, second in commands might have a reserve radio for this net as well, as well as other detachments and assets.
  • Squad net - Every squad is usually issued with a unique 343 channel, At minimum the Squad leader and fireteam leaders need to have radios and be on their assigned squad channel.
  • Fireteam level - Fireteams communication is designed to be within voice range, however in some missions fireteams will use unique 343 channels. If your fireteam don't use radios it might be useful to use a pre-arranged signal such as hand signals to signal others in your fireteam to move up.
  • Asset nets - Typically if Air/CAS/Mortars/Artillery are present a separate radio channel on the 148/152/117F radios is used for communication between the forward observers and the respective asset, this helps free up command net for higher priority traffic.

Radio Etiquette

Brevity is required in radio comms. There are lots of people with many important things to say during a firefight, and you do not want to block that vital flow of information. Use keywords, short and clear sentences, and try to prioritize getting high priority information out first. Included is a vocabulary with many common keywords used in radio comms.
Think first, then talk.

When speaking on the radio, start by providing your unit ID and that of the unit you're attempting to contact. For example “Squad Lead this is Alpha-1”.
Other units may be distracted, out of radio range or KIA, so it’s important to confirm that they are able to receive your message. The easiest way to check this is to ask for a response; “Squad Lead this is Alpha-1, how-copy?”
Likewise, it is important to give a counter-response to confirm that you are in a position to listen or reply to a message. Suitable responses might include “Copy Alpha-One, go ahead” or, if busy, “I copy Alpha-1, wait one”.

If the message that you are relaying is particularly long, you may wish to include a “Break” to take a breath or think about the next thing you’re going to say. Saying the word “Break” essentially works like a comma for radio communication, letting the listener know that you have more to say. If you do use Break you should stop talking for a few seconds, providing the opportunity for others to use the net. If you want to make it clear to the listener that you have finished sending the message you may wish to let them know by finishing with an “Over”, although in practice this is rarely necessary.

Once you have successfully received a message or command, remember to let the sender know that you have received the message; a simple “Copy” or “Roger” will suffice. If given an order it is wise to give a short rebuttal, providing the opportunity for it to corrected if you misheard. Typically a one word verb of what your doing will suffice. e.g.
“Roger, Advancing”, “Copy, Holding”, “Copy, providing overwatch”
Remember that these are not absolute rules to be followed, especially when delivering an urgent message, but good radio etiquette can greatly improve communication between units and add to the immersion of the whole experience.

While “Over” terminates a turn on the back and forth of a transmission, “Out” is used to end the conversation completely. It requires no response from the addressed unit and marks an end of comms traffic for all elements on the same net, thus giving them the opportunity to send their messages. It can also be used to quickly end distracting comms when under pressure (look at contact report).
Remember: “Over” demands a response, “Out” terminates the comms. So saying “Over and out” is a conflict in its own. Don’t be that guy.

Standardized Reports

Standard reports are a great way to share information

Upon coming under contact the FTL immediately sends the Alert message to his SL. The SL will also send the alert to the Plt. CO.

Alert - “Alpha Lead this is A1, contact, wait one.”

Once the FTL has got his fireteam organised and returning fire he can then send the detailed report to the SL. This will be sent up the chain of command by the squad leader. Detailed Report:

  1. Alert:
    1. “Alpha Lead, this is A1, contact report.”
    2. “A1, this is Alpha Lead, send over.”
  2. What:
    1. Infantry, Tracked Vehicle, etc
  3. Where:
    1. Grid/Map Marker
    2. General Compass Bearing (N, SE, etc) plus estimated/measured distance
  4. What the contact is doing:
    1. Engaging me, flanking, patrolling
  5. What you are doing about it:
    1. Engaging the enemy, observing, readying an ambush, etc

A SITREP is a Situational Report, which is used to provide information on the current action and current location of a unit. Alongside intel on observed enemies.

Example:
Commander: “Bravo, this is command, SITREP.”
Bravo Squad Leader: “We are heading to waypoint 3, approximately half way there from waypoint 2, no enemy contact.”

The headcount is designed to to quickly gauge the effectiveness of a unit. Elements simply report how many troops are effective (alive and not injured) in their unit. The terms either effective or strong should be used.

Example:
Commander: “Alpha headcount.”
Alpha squad leader: “Command, Alpha is 10 strong.”

The ACE report details Ammunition, Casualties and Equipment (ACE). It is intended to inform on the capabilities of a unit. Upon request the unit leader will quickly check how much ammo each subordinate has, or if they are in command of elements they will ask the element leaders to give ACE reports and then aggregate them. Typically after every objective is completed, ACE reports are used to aid in the consolidation of the platoon. As a leader it is therefore good practice to send an ACE report after an objective (an objective is not a task) is accomplished.

Example:
Commander: “Alpha this is Command, can you give me an ACE report, over.”
Alpha Squad Leader: “Command this is Alpha, wait one.”
Alpha leader asks his men and relays.
Alpha Squad Leader: “Command, this is Alpha. Ammo is good, 4 effective, No change in equipment, over.”

Ammo Status

This should be given in an approximate number of magazines per rifleman, and same for the AR. It can also be coupled with good or low, however, it should not be substituted for good or low.

The minimum number of magazines required by a typical soldier to pull back is 3 mags (20-30 rounds each).

Upon giving an ACE report, if it becomes apparent there is an ammo discrepancy between subordinates, it may be prudent to organize the redistribution of ammo in the fireteam/squad when the next opportunity presents itself.

Casualty Status

At the minimum the number of effective soldiers must be stated. It may be also be useful to go into further information e.g.:
“5 up, 2 dead, 1 unconscious, 1 wounded.”

Equipment Status

Equipment covers any asset that provide extra capabilities such as explosives, anti-tank weapons, medical supplies, etc. It may also cover more normal assets, e.g. a lost machinegun if the gunner was killed and the weapon was not recovered. A concise list will with numbers and items is best e.g.:
“Used 2 AT4s, still have 1 AT4 left. We are also running low on medical supplies.”

Proactive Communications

Leaders are not the only ones who should be talking on the squad net. Any squad member can give important contact reports or information. This would mostly concern things that are immensely useful for the squad to know immediately, such as incoming mortars, armor, mines, et cetera. A very important example would be taking command after your FTL has died.

After a firefight or engagement calms down it is wise to report back casualties. If an element leader dies it is important that someone takes over and lets the others know about it.

Upon reaching a waypoint and/or complete a task you should inform your leader/commander. As a squad leader on command net this will also inform all squad leaders, and they will then have a rough idea where to expect you.
It may also be nice to periodically check in with a status as well.

Vocabulary

  • Actual - Refers to the commander of callsign. Example: Alpha Actual is the Alpha squad leader.
  • All callsigns - Everyone on this radio net.
  • Bail (out) - Leave/abandon vehicle.
  • Break - Pause in transmission.
  • Break-break-break - Clear the radio net I have a priority message.
  • Copy - Okay, I heard what you said.
  • Dismount - Leave vehicle.
  • Go firm - Stop here and prepare for engagement.
  • How copy - Do you hear my transmission?
  • Incoming - Warning for artillery/mortars. Use “incoming fire” for small arms.
  • Up - How many are alive. Example: “Lead, A2 is 3 up.”
  • Over - End of transmission, reply expected (over to you).
  • Out - End of transmission, reply not expected.
  • Roger - Received message.
  • Say again - Retransmit last message.
  • Send it - Transmit your message.
  • Set - Ready (usually used as part of maneuvers indicating to the next unit you are ready for them to make a move).
  • Standby - More message/s coming, but wait for now.
  • Wait one - See Standby.
  • Wilco - Will comply.
  • Oscar Mike - On Mission/On the Move. This simply means we are doing the task.

Appendix

The default callsign to associate with the unit is placed on the left side in bold text. Infantry squads typically follow the radio alphabet, with fireteams being callsign postfixed with the fireteam number.

  • Command - Platoon Command (Commander)
  • Alpha - First Squad (Squad Leader)
    • Alpha 1 - First Squad Fireteam 1 (Team Leader)
    • Alpha 2 - First Squad Fireteam 2 (Team Leader)
  • Bravo - Second Squad (Squad Leader)
    • Bravo 1 - Second Squad Fireteam 1 (Team Leader)
    • Bravo 2 - Second Squad Fireteam 2 (Team Leader)
  • Other platoon assets will be assigned call signs by the mission CO/platoon commander.