Fireteam Leading

Being a fireteam leader is the first role that requires a degree of leadership. As a fireteam leader you are in charge of a fireteam that will typically consist of 3-5 other players. It is also one of the few leadership positions were you directly focus on soldiers rather than subordinate groups. Recommended prior reading:

Responsibility of the FTL

As a fireteam leader you are responsible for anything your fireteam does or does not do. As a fireteam leader you should aim to keep your squad leader and your fireteam members happy. They both have different expectations of you. The squad leader will act as your direct commander. They will issue you with tasks and directions which they expect you to complete. Ideally they will not overly micromanage and will give you directions to make your own decisions. They should not be burdened with the all details of how you are managing your fireteam. For instance they don’t need to know the direction that everyone is facing but they might like a rough idea as to what area your entire fireteam is covering. Ultimately the squad leader expects that you to perform these tasks as best as possible. A squad leader expects the following of you:

  • Complete the tasks and directions given to you.
  • Pro-actively communicate useful information such as enemy contacts and progress towards tasks.
  • Actively manage your fireteam the best way possible
  • Keep your fireteam alive and be cautious with your own life. As if you die someone else will have to take over leadership of the fireteam.

Your fireteam members expect the following of you:

  • That you keep them informed.
  • That you give them tasks. Everyone needs a part to play in the bigger plan.
  • You keep them alive.
  • Proactive leadership. It is your job to assign arcs of fire and targets. It easy for everyone in the fireteam to be fixated on a single target and not cover its flanks, be sure to assign specific people to tasks that benefit the group.
  • Don’t ask anything of them you wouldn’t be prepared to do.
  • At all times be respectful. In the heat of battle it is easy to miss some communication. Do not be afraid to repeat yourself.

Leadership 101

As a fireteam leader you are the most basic leader in the platoon however you are also the most important. As you will be closest to the front. What are the core principles of effective leadership?

  • Control - Give subordinates tasks. As a leader it is your job to delegate responsibilities to everyone under your leadership. If your subordinates do not have tasks they will otherwise do their best to interpret things as they please and most likely a tactical blob will occur or potentially something you did not intend. This results in the group not being the best it can be as everyone will be target fixated and your flanks won’t be covered. Everyone should always have a task, even if it is just covering a direction. Everyone should feel they are part of the plan.
  • Inform – Your fireteam is one part of the entire team. You should do your best to keep your fireteam informed about the wider situation. Take time periodically to look at the map and note where friendlies and enemies are. Let your fireteam know how the rest of the platoon/squad are getting on and where those other elements are relative to your fireteam so that your fireteam subordinates can make better decisions. For instance if you tell them there are friendlies to their left they will now use that information to be more cautious about shooting anything to their left. This information might have help avoid a friendly fire incident. Where possible do your best to ensure that everyone is relevantly informed. At the least everyone in the fireteam should always know what your element is doing.
  • Avoid micro-management – As a fireteam leader you could control the exact position of everyone in your fireteam, but it is better to give a rough idea of what people should be doing as there will be plenty of situations that will arise and judgement calls will need to be made. Your subordinates will typically see things before you do and it takes time for information and requests to go up the chain of command. Providing your subordinates with flexibility allows them to make the best decisions depending on the latest changes in circumstances. They will also make split-second decisions that will help keep players alive. Trust your subordinates and be rewarded in kind.
  • Be clear and specific – When giving tasks you need to be clear and specific. If you do not specify who is doing the task it might not be completed, or everyone might decide they are doing it. This runs into the potential danger that everyone is fixated on the task but you had intended for only one person to do it. So if you want an individual to do something reference them by name. Think before you speak to ensure brevity. Putting all this in practice we get the following examples. A bad order would be: “Guys joey just died, he had that useful AT4, I want someone to go and grab his AT4.”. This is longer that it needs to be, contains unnecessary information and is not specific. The better way to do this would be to say “Sam, get the AT4 from Joey’s corpse”.

Your squad leaders and platoon leader should also be employing all of the above.

Manging your fireteam well requires understanding the composition of your fireteam and some basic tactical knowledge. If you haven’t already read it you should fully understand everything in the basic infantry skills page before you continue. You should always be assigning arcs of fire to your fireteam and a suitable formation where applicable. Remember formations aren’t to look pretty but are used to get the best out of any potential situation.

Your automatic rifleman (AR) will have the most amount of firepower and you should do your best to assign him to the arc that be the most useful to your fireteam. This will most likely be the arc with the highest concentration of enemies or the most vulnerable flank.

The rifleman ani-tank (RAT) will typically have a single shot AT launcher. You should be cautious with its employment. If it is known the enemy will have a lot of enemy armour you should save this until it is needed against armour. If the enemy in a mission is solely infantry without armour you may wish to use this as an explosive weapon against buildings and infantry.

As a fireteam leader you are expected to do a lot of communicating please read the radio communications page. In particular you should be familiar with the standardized reports as a squad leader may ask for them. You should also be proactive with your communications, keeping your squad leader informed when you complete tasks and periodically check in with your progress.

Examples

Dslyecxi of the community Shacktac has created some amazing hindsight videos. Where he pulls apart some gameplay and studies it in a tactical way. These should provide some interesting insight into the sorts of things you should be considering as an FTL.

Episode 1: Riverside ambush. This is taken from the perspective of an FTL

Episode 2: Airfield Assault. If you enjoyed the first this is an extra bonus but is aimed more at a platoon level.