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Leadership Techniques

All marine raiders must have a clear understanding of these techniques at all times.


Staff Non-Commissioned Officers


Too often do people treat the SNCO like a glorified rifleman. The SNCO is more than the Team Leader's errand boy and has specific tasks and roles to perform at all times. At no point should the SNCO be waiting for the Team Leader to give him instructions. The SNCO always has something to do. The SNCO should do all of these things without instruction from the Team Leader so that the Team Leader can focus on the larger picture.

1. Battle Preparation

a. Ensure the team is in proper formation and order. Move around quickly locate all elements relative to each other. Instruct the point element where to position. Instruct trailing elements where the element in front of them is located. Ensure there is proper spacing between elements and leave larger room for the team headquarters to form up in if necessary.

b. Ensure ammunition and equipment are properly distributed. If ammunition for special weapons, e.g. machine guns, are crossloaded throughout the team, get an accurate count and be prepared to coordinate resupply.

c. Ensure communication between elements has been established. If a leader is not answering their radio, it is your job to find them and assist them with establishing comms.

d. If the team is not moving, ensure all around security has been established. Assign sectors to elements if the Team Leader has not already done this. Look for possible OPs/LPs and instruct elements to detail sentries as necessary.

e. If there are attachments or detachments to the team, such as a medic or forward observer, they fall under your watch. Discuss where they will position themselves at each phase of the operation and ensure they understand their duties and the role they play within the commander's intent.

f. Get an accurate headcount. The Team Leader needs to be kept aware of the status of his team. After an engagement, you will be able to get a casualty report more easily if the element leaders were unable to do this themselves.

g. Advise the Team Leader during the planning phase. You can facilitate this by using group chat or dropping down a Teamspeak channel with the Team Leader. If the operation order does not have this information already, prepare a brief OAKOC/OCOKA and other reports (SALUTE, DRAW-DG, MLCOA, METT-TC, etc.) as necessary. Analyze COAs with the Team Leader. The Team Leader is focused on the bigger picture, so you can make recommendations on the smaller level as he plans, e.g. positioning of the elements at a rally point.

h. The Team Leader may delegate the SNCO to prepare and issue paragraph 4 of the OPORD. Be prepared for this and recommend it to the SNCO if appropriate.

2. Advancing to Battle

a. Control the spacing and movement of the team. Ensure dispersion between elements is kept. Ensure the team is moving in the right direction and acting appropriately at every control point. You are the navigator and the pace setter.

b. Analyze the terrain around you. Advise the Team Leader on key terrain and positions of advantage if the team is ambushed or needs to move into a better position.

3. Reaction to Contact

a. Identify the direction of contact and begin to assist in moving elements up and to cover. This is why analyzing the terrain during movement is important. If you saw a hilltop nearby earlier, let an element know that it would provide a better position to engage enemies. Ensure elements are watching to prevent flanking attack. Assist the Team Leader by making sure battle orders are followed by element leaders.

b. Listen to your radio and mark your map. Write down important radio traffic and keep a log of the team's activities. This includes noting ammunition and casualty statuses.

c. If an element has a casualty, ensure he gets treatment. Analyze the situation and decide whether or not the situation calls for the medic to be brought to the casualty or the casualty to be brought to the medic. If the latter, personally collect the casualty or detail a rifleman from the casualty's element or another element to bring them to a CCP. If a rifleman from another section is required, use whatever element is in a support role.

4. Assaulting

a. Ensure elements are spread out and have adopted the proper formation. Ensure that spacing, speed, and formations are kept throughout the assault.

b. Anticipate flanks and counterattacks.

c. Keep track of the location and activity of all friendly and enemy elements.

d. Resupply elements as necessary. Keep ammunition and equipment evenly distributed. This may require taking one element's ammunition to give to an element with less.

e. Use an element to search and clear enemy positions that have been passed.

5. Consolidation and Reorganization

a. Ensure security is being kept.

b. Get ammunition and casualty statuses (ACE reports) from each element and be prepared to appropriately react.

c. Brief the Team Leader for his sitrep. Ensure the Team Leader knows everything you know and make recommendations or give opinions as necessary.

d. Arrange for casualty evacuation if necessary.

e. Ensure the team is ready to move and advice the Team Leader when they are. If the team is not moving, begin to establish better security. Work out a security plan with or without the Team Leader and begin to position elements, post sentries, arrange patrols, and prepare defenses as necessary.

6. Always

a. Be prepared to assume the duties of the Team Leader. Understand his general intent and the execution plan. If the Team Leader becomes a casualty, it is not time to start planning from scratch. Continue with the current plan and make any decisions based on the existing intent. Do not give orders that conflict with existing plans.

b. Ensure you keep the Team Leader aware of what you are doing. You have the authority to give orders to elements, but you must ensure these orders do not conflict with those of the Team Leader.

c. If there is a mounted and dismounted element, the Team Leader will lead the dismounted element and the SNCO will lead the mounted element. The SNCO should be prepared to lead a vehicle section and understand the plan enough to position vehicles in order to support maneuver forces.

Additional Leadership Advice


I just thought I'd share a few techniques that I've been using to help organize myself and my squad to be more effective in the mission. It starts with the slotting screen:


When you slot into SL you should immediately look at what the rest of your squad slots look like. As slotting continues you should have pen and paper ready so that you can write down the names and roles of each member of your squad. You do this at the slotting screen because it's much easier to get a coherent picture of your fireteam setup here than at the briefing screen.

Additionally, you should write down the listed slot for each other element along with the name of each person in those slots. As an example of this:

1'6 (PL): Joe
1'7 (PSG): Ted
1'1: Yod
1'2: Mike
1'3 (JIP): Will
Venom 1 (UH-60): Irene
Vanguard 1 (Recce): Pete

This information is invaluable to have during the mission. If you know the names and callsigns of each pilot, for example, then when the CO or PSG issues the load plan you don't need to stop and ask everyone around you who is flying which aircraft. Since you already know who is flying each aircraft you can tell your squad exactly which one to get into without higher having to spell it out for you. This is just one example, there are many times this info is very useful, so just make it a habit to write this stuff down because you never really know when it will come up.

Next we move on to the briefing screen. In your typical large-scale coop mission you will have between five and ten minutes of inactivity here. What I like to do is take about 60 seconds to lay out my fireteams first thing, so that each member of my squad has a reference in front of them that tells them who their fireteam leader is, who their battle buddy is, what each squad member's role is, what our short range is, etc. Here is how I like to lay it out (using imaginary names in our default squad of two fireteams of four men each):


To do this, first make sure you are set to GROUP CHAT, this will make it so the only people who can see your markers are in your group, so you will not distract/confuse anyone else. First, look at the comm/sig card in the briefing notes to check for any special call signs for your element and to get your radio frequencies. Start out by labeling your info with something like I've done here, for 1'1 I put "1'1 SQUAD INFO" so it's clear what I'm talking about and our callsign is right there. If we have a special callsign I will put that instead and emphasize it to everyone. I then go on to list our assigned short range and long range channels, and if we are part of a company-size force I will also list who our platoon leader is.

Next we move on to the fireteam listing. Since we almost always use colors to differentiate our fireteams on the shacktac hud I always label my teams in the appropriate color here. List the callsign of the fireteam (Alpha, Bravo, etc) then list each person's name and role within the fireteam. Do this for all your fireteams and then every member of your squad will have a handy reference that tells them what team each member is in, and what role they slotted as. You can go on to assign buddy teams here if you like to do that at the squad level, but this is something I try to avoid doing unless I have less experienced FTL's in my squad.

Once you get used to doing this every time you lead a squad you will find that you get it done very rapidly; for me it usually takes less than a minute to get this basic info laid out once we are in the briefing. This gives you ample time to move on and read the briefing notes.
Once you have read the notes, if the CO has not begun his briefing yet, you have time to lay out some more information for your squad. I've laid out the two things that I find to be very helpful to have laid out ahead of time, the order of march and actions on contact. Here I've used two basic examples to illustrate, a squad column/fireteam wedge for the order of march and a basic reaction to contact. Laid out in this manner everyone in your squad can see what your plan is. The biggest advantage of doing this is that nobody in your squad will be surprised when you give orders, since everyone already knows what is expected of them.
If you have additional time you can lay out more information, here are a few things that I like to list if I have the time:
-Vehicle load plans: list who is to be in what vehicle, you can even list specific crew (or leave it to the FTL, which I prefer).
-Parachute drop order: if you're doing a parachute drop you can number each member of the squad, then when you hit green light call out 'one go, two go, three go' etc
-Special asset assignment: if your squad is assigned a special asset such as a HMG or AT weapon you can assign specifically who will be taking it
-360 security sector assignments: much like order of march this one will come up a lot and it's helpful to have it spelled out ahead of time
You want to make sure you aren't distracting yourself from the briefing while doing this. Your priority is to use your time effectively during the briefing screen, and when the CO is talking you are most effective when you are paying attention to what he is saying. You should only be doing this while you are waiting, and beyond the basic fireteam listing you should be reading the notes before doing anything else.
Like I said these are just a few things that have helped me be more organized as an SL. It saves time at the beginning of the mission, making it so all you need to do is load up your map, scroll to the fireteam list, and assign colors, which you can do while your FTL's are issuing their ORBATs. I've found that this increases my squad readiness significantly, and I hope this can help others as well.