Platoon (20-50 players)

The structure of the platoon will be varied by two factors how the mission maker assigns the roles and how the session host chooses to utilize them. Sometimes we will deviate a bit from this standard in our missions, but this is used in the majority of our missions. Throughout this chapter we outline a 1Tac infantry platoon with diagrams to help explain the building blocks of a platoon.

Several riflemen (4-6 men) will form a fireteam. The fireteam is typically the smallest unit that is combat effective as they will be able to cover multiple sectors and its members will be able support each other.

Left: A fireteam in a wedge formation all looking forwards with buddy team colours
Right: Map marker used to indicate a fireteam (Icon is NATO symbol for Infantry, icon on top is symbol for fireteam sized element, colours represent squad. A - 1 is short for Alpha Squad - Fireteam 1).

A fireteam leader commands the fireteam, following the orders of the squad leader. Everyone within a fireteam is assigned a buddy, you should be looking out for your buddy and do your best to stick with him and ensure that he is okay. Buddies are usually colour coded (shown above is the default buddy teams of red and blue). You should always be looking out for your buddy and do your best to stick with him and ensure that he is okay. The typical composition of a fireteam is:

  1. Fireteam leader - Typically equipped with underbarrel grenade launcher and binoculars. They lead by example, assigning arcs of fire and targets where necessary.
  2. Automatic Rifleman - Second in command, equipped with a light machinegun, should be tasked with focusing on the primary target/most likely approach of enemy forces.
  3. Assistant Automatic rifleman - Carries extra ammo for the automatic rifleman, and binoculars to assist in correcting the automatic rifleman.
  4. Rifleman Antitank - Typically equipped with a single shot anti-tank weapon.

Several fireteams (2-3) form a squad (also known as a section). A squad leader is assigned to command the squad, they follow the orders of the platoon commander. Typically at the squad level there will also be a squad medic. Each fireteam will be given a number. If a squad is called Alpha, the first fireteam will be called Alpha-1, and the second fireteam Alpha-2. The squad leader will then be referred to as Alpha-Lead.

Top: The map marker at the top marker for a squad, note the symbol (dot) representing it is squad sized. In our mission framework typically ingame either the squad marker is displayed OR the markers for the 2 fireteams and the squad leader depending on the zoom of the map.
Bottom: A squad in a line formation, with each fireteam in opposing wedge formations, with the squad leader and medic in the middle.

  1. Squad Leader - Equipped with binoculars and grenade launcher. The squad leader will outline the tactics and movement of the fireteams. Ensuring they mutually support each other at all times.
  2. (optional) Squad Medic - The squad medic will typically stay by the side of the squad leader and handle casualties in the squad. The medic has no leadership responsibilities and will provide security for the squad leader.

An example platoon using map markers consisting of a command element (HQ) and 3 squads: Alpha, Bravo & Charlie.

The platoon typically consists of 2-4 squads of infantry, a leadership (headquarters) element and possibly extra support attachments. The leadership element will consist of at least a platoon commander and will typically be referred to as command in communication.

The command element of a platoon may have:

  1. Platoon Commander (CO) - The commander of the whole team. He will give tasks to squad leaders and attachment leaders.
  2. (optional) Platoon Sergeant (Deputy Commander) - The platoon leader’s right hand man. Typically quite an experienced player who is has previous experience squad leading. He can take over tasks to ease the platoon leader’s job, they act as the 2nd in command of the whole platoon.
  3. (optional) Platoon Medic - This is the senior medic of the platoon who is typically tasked with assisting medical expertises if the squads require it. He may be tasked with replacing a squad medic if necessary.
  4. (optional) Forward Observer/Forward Air Controller (FO/FAC) - They handle communications (with a backpack radio) with aircraft, mortars and artillery. He is responsible for preventing friendly fire and controls the targets of the assets, improving the accuracy of their strikes. They will typically be positioned to to oversee potential target areas.
  5. (optional) Extra rifleman - These guys protect the platoon leader and may serve as drivers/gunners for HQ/logistics vehicles.

Attachments

Attachments are typically 2-3 player teams, that have an asset that will greatly aid/improve the capabilities of the platoon. Every attachment will have an attachment leader who will handle communications, and the attachment gunner/operator. By default attachments are attached to the platoon and under the direction of the platoon commander. Attachments may also be assigned to support a squad and will typically join their radio net to manage comms. Sometimes attachments may be attached to the platoon sergeant.

  1. Attachment Leader - The leader will handle communications with the platoon/nearby squads. He will also have binoculars to aid in target acquisition and ranging. Usually carries a small amount of extra ammunition for the asset.
  2. Attachment Gunner/User - Carries and will employ the weapon.
  3. (Optional) Rifleman Assistant - Carries extra ammunition and provides security for the attachment

The mostly commonly used attachment teams are:

  1. Medium Machine Gunner (MMG) - Usually a two-man group with an assistant to carry extra ammo. They equip a medium machine gun (~7.62mm) which is devastating against infantry and effective against light vehicles and is great for supporting infantry assaults.
  2. Medium Anti-Tank gunner (MAT) - The MAT team, will primarily act as a team focusing on destroying enemy armour. Their anti-tank weapon will be far more devastating than those issued at the fireteam level.
  3. Engineer team - Carry explosives/mine detectors and can act as explosive disposal or can setup mines.

The weapons squad leader is a special role, that we typically do not employ but may be of use in the future if there are at least 4 attachments in play. The weapons squad leader might lead some of the attachments in a base of fire location. He will aid the logistics of ensuring they have sufficient ammo. He’ll direct the attachments per the platoon commander's instructions.

Vehicle attachments are typically quite common and are usually either aircraft or armour. Ground vehicles typically offer armour and superior firepower and are usually structured as the following. Infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) are armoured vehicles that are used to support infantry and typically have space to transport troops in the back. By default vehicles are attached to platoon and under the control of the platoon commander. The exception is for ground transport vehicles, which will be attached to the squad leader of the squad they are tasked with transporting. The platoon commander, may change who they attached to, in some cases the platoon sergeant may be directed to lead the vehicles.

  1. Commander - Handles radio comms with platoon/squads, navigates and assigns the gunner an arc of fire.
  2. Gunner - Watches his assigned arc and engages targets.
  3. Driver - Drives the vehicle, doubles up as a junior mechanic that can usually provide minor repairs to make the vehicle functional.

When artillery and close air support is in use typically a forward observer/platoon sergeant will be used to directly coordinate with the asset. They will typically use their own radio net to communicate with the asset. The forward observer will inform nearby friendlies of pending attacks, and coordinate fire support.

Chain of command:

This section deals with the standard protocol of who takes over leadership if someone dies. If you do not feel comfortable being the acting platoon commander you may ask the next person to do it, though if you take a platoon sergeant/squad leader role it is expected that you will be able to take command. Upon taking command you should announce on the platoon command radio net that you are taking command.

Mission Commander priority

  1. Platoon CO
  2. Platoon SGT
  3. Alpha Squad Leader
  4. Bravo Squad Leader
  5. <All other squad leaders>
  6. <Effective squad leaders - aka the ones who took over>

Squad Leadership priority

  1. Squad Leader
  2. Fireteam 1 leader
  3. Fireteam 2 leader
  4. Effective Fireteam 1 leader
  5. Effective Fireteam 2 Leader

Fireteam Leadership priority

  1. Fireteam Leader
  2. Automatic Rifleman
  3. Assistant Automatic Rifleman
  4. Rifleman Anti-tank

Appendix

Why is the 1Tac platoon the way it is? We use a standardized structure, and over time everybody learns how the structure works. In the real world most armies have their own platoon structure and it is quite subjective what is the best format. Ultimately this structure is most familiar to us and has worked out best for us through our limited experimentation. To further provide some insight for those interested, a good platoon structure for 1Tac should:

  1. Allow cohesion and a coordinated effort - The end goal is to complete a mission with everyone working together. The mission commander’s role is to devise a plan and oversee its execution.
  2. Provide appropriate and a manageable structure (Not overburden leaders) - As previously stated, directly leading 30 men and giving them all instructions is too much. A single leader is capable of effectively providing real time management of up to ~5 elements. The US army uses the rough principle of controlling ~3 subordinates, whether that is 3 subordinate units, or 3 direct soldiers. Through experimenting with our squad structure we discovered that squad leaders are best leading 2 fireteams.
  3. Effective communication pathways - Anyone can be become overwhelmed if every player on the team began speaking to them. This is why a subdivision of units exists.
  4. Avoid integrated squad leaders - Integrated squad leaders are squad leaders that also lead their own fireteam. Practice has shown that handling the comms between the squad and platoon alone can be quite a strenuous task, when combined with the added responsibility of leading a fireteam it becomes quite overwhelming for junior squad leaders.
  5. Redundancy - If someone dies/disconnects it is advantageous to be able to handle that situation, particularly the demise of the mission commander.

Links of Interest

  1. Dslyecxi’s Tactics Techniques And Procedures - Dslyecxi has written guides that I have constantly read, learnt from and drawn inspiration from. These are far more in depth and I would highly recommend them.
    1. V2 (Arma 2 - 2010) - http://ttp2.dslyecxi.com/
    2. V3 (Arma 3 - 2013) - http://ttp3.dslyecxi.com/
  2. Zumorc’s Arma wiki
  3. Nato Markers - The map markers we use are based on standard NATO map markers and symbology, you can find more information on them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_Military_Symbols_for_Land_Based_Systems