Force on Force: Communication & Grip
November 7, 2016 at 11:19 am #100047MaxKeymaster
I’m just back from another great Force on Force Team Tactics weekend class. Yes, the class was not on the schedule, because it was a private. We had 18 students and a couple of observers. Some of the students had not attended any other MVT class, which is allowed (I am not sure many have twigged to that yet) and despite a lack of formal training they were able to conform to the tactics and learn alongside everyone else. Something that makes this more viable is the detailed cadre led briefing and squad rehearsals at the beginning of the class covering formations, drills, and silent / noisy movement.
The way that Force on Force Team Tactics works, is that students take the positions of squad and team leader, and make quick plans to execute the scenarios as they are presented by the cadre. We run various scenarios on the class, from squad against squad against each other’s base, one squad with a fixed base and the other without, and we also run through a couple of iterations of a 13 man (3 team plus squad leader) hasty attack on a defended enemy position (5 enemy). This is why I really want full classes of 18 people to run these classes at the optimum.
Most of the cadre teaching at the FoF classes, unlike the live fire classes, takes place in the debriefs following each drill. This is where lessons learned can be drawn out, and pointers given on how to do it better next time. The way the scenarios unfold is rich for debrief and learning points, on everything from individual drills to team and squad actions. The exception to this is the squad hasty attack, where a lesson is given beforehand on squad attack drills and how the assault cycle works with three teams. This is very much the ‘CliffsNotes’ version and the debrief will get into detail on actions on the objective and how to deal with enemy dead etc. This was a potent lesson on the second time through the drill, when a fighting position was not cleared effectively and an enemy lit up the squad during the consolidation phase.
For those wanting more tuition and practice with battle procedures, from receiving the mission, planning, briefing, rehearsals and execution of a mission, we have the new Combat Leader Course (CLC) coming up in April 2017. This will rotate students through command appointments in the accomplishment of missions. It will also utilize UTM Man Marker Rounds against a live enemy during the execution phase of the missions.
Communication and ‘Grip’
One of the big lessons that is hammered home during Force on Force Team Tactics is that of communication and ‘grip.’ This is not something that is fully understood ‘on the internet’ by those who do not effectively train. Many can shoot, on a flat range or a bench, but far fewer can effectively move or communicate.
Movement cannot happen without communication, and under fire none of it can happen without effective suppression of the enemy. When not under fire, hand signals are used to allow effective movement of the team, silently through the woods. Once it goes noisy, then loud yelling is needed, which we call ‘command voice.’
However, for any of this to be effective, whether we are moving silently, or noisily in a firefight, there needs to be effective communication between the team members and the leaders. Not being ‘stuck in your gun’ is something we constantly have to hammer at live fire classes, and it is no better at Force on Force. We have to hammer home the idea of constant scanning, as well as paying attention to what the leaders want you to do. But leaders cannot make decisions without information, so there needs to be a succinct information flow both down from the leaders and up from the troops. This includes target indications for seen enemy, enemy movements etc.
Being able to work in a team is essential – there is no room in team tactics for the individual hero, who will go out on a limb and get himself or the team killed. Team members need to scan, observe, suppress the enemy and report enemy sightings back up to the team / team leader. Flank protection is vital because if you do not counter an enemy flank move, you will be rolled up. The teams and the individuals within them are effectively the tools with which a squad / team leader will defeat the enemy. This cannot happen without effective listening and the passing of information both ways. The squad leader needs to know where the enemy is, and will position himself in the best place to observe / control the action. The teams themselves must position themselves where they can suppress the enemy, but they must not get ahead of themselves, or they may stay into fire control measures and fratricide will result. Thus, the squad leader must be able to effectively communicate his vision of the battle to his team leaders, so that the dogs are only let off the leash in the way that he wants it done i.e. he may want a team to move the a flank and assault, supported by the fire of other teams. That plan must be communicated, and the team leaders must be listening, for it to work.
This is where the concept of ‘Grip’ comes in. It means that the leaders, in particularly the squad leader, have a grip on their people so that they do not run out of control. Something like a squad attack is nothing more than the application of geometry to chaos. It is an appreciation of the relative situations of enemy / terrain against friendly forces / terrain, and how to apply fire and movement in order to achieve the mission. A leader must position himself to make that assessment, and be able to influence the battle using the deployment of his assets (in this case teams) in a way that will allow him to reduce the enemy. He must have the force of character to impress his will onto his teams during the noise and stress of a battle. Training will take you most of the way there, because this means that the team will be competent to conduct the roles that are expected of them. It also creates trust between leader and led, and thus makes the whole machine more likely to run right. After all, as seen at the weekend, if people have little tactical understanding of ‘what right looks like’ they cannot be expected to act in the right way in a combat situation, even if merely simulated.
If you are reading this and thinking that you are understanding it, and that you are good to go, but have not effectively trained, then you are wrong. You must conduct effective live fire battle inoculation team training, as well as simulated force on force combat, in order to learn the vital lessons. You probably don’t think it will happen to you, but when those UTM rounds are whizzing in, people do actually freeze, and are incapable of effective action. Communication fails and then people start to ‘die.’ People on the internet seem to think they have an assumed competence, but they really don’t. Even if they had it at one time, due to past training, this stuff is highly perishable.
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November 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm #100048D CloseModerator
There really is no way to master this skill set without performing it under competent supervision during realistic conditions. The expert evaluation is required to affect improvement. I wish there were some magic Youtard video matrix download you could watch that would instantly impart this knowledge. It doesn’t work that way. You need to be coached and critiqued by folks who have done this shit for reals…UTM rounds zipping past and occasionally impacting your cranium drives the point home. Not doing it is the biggest failure of all.
November 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm #100049Joe (G.W.N.S.)Moderator
…this stuff is highly perishable.
This applies to all team efforts.
November 9, 2019 at 12:34 am #127027MaxKeymaster
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