baldrick0712
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Infantry Squads

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 14:40

I bought a computer game recently that portrays the "Cold War Gone Hot" scenario from around 1979-82 or something like that (i.e. a bit earlier than 2000). However, I doubt much would have changed in terms of infantry squad structure in those 10 years. I examined the various infantry squads of each side to see if it would help with coming up with realistic enemy encounters etc. I won't go into detail ad nauseum but will focus on my general findings.

Squads normally consist of two fireteams. Often the squad contains an odd number of men, so effectively two equal sized fireteams of 3 or 4 men, plus a squad leader.
The first fireteam often has the single LMG or GPMG. If the squad has two of them, then of course these are split between the fireteams
The first fireteam usually also has the main AT weapon, if there is one. Often the second fireteam will have a lesser AT weapon such as a disposable rocket.
Virtually every man has some variation of equipment. Hardly any two soldiers are identical.

Example: Russian Rifle Squad...

Squad Leader: AK-74 assault rifle with GP-25 under-barrel grenade launcher
First Fireteam...
Machinegunner: RPK-74 Light machinegun
Launcher-crew: RPG-7V Anti-tank launcher plus AKS-74 assault rifle (folding stock version of AK-74)
Rifleman: AK-74 assault rifle
Second Fireteam...
Marksman: SVD "Dragunov" Sniper Rifle
Launcher-crew: AK-74 assault rifle plus RPG-18 disposable AT rocket (treat as LAW)
Rifleman: AK-74 assault rifle

So, for your encounters, remember to have a big variety of equipment rather than everyone all equipped much the same. The leaders and maybe some support weapon carriers might also have a pistol. Also remember grenades, including smoke grenades for leaders.
 
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omnipus
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Re: Infantry Squads

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 21:03

Good stuff.

Of course, with all such things there's paper strength and then there's reality. Which of course applies double in the T2K world.

A doctrinally-correct Soviet motor rifle squad has 9 men. According to 1991 FM 100-2-3, it's this:

Squad leader/vehicle commander (AK-74)
Machine gunner (RPK-74)
Grenadier (RPG-7V, PM)
Rifleman/assistant grenadier (AK-74)
Senior rifleman/assistant squad leader (AK-74)
Rifleman/medic (AK-74)
Rifleman (AK-74 or SVD)
Vehicle driver/mechanic (PM)
Vehicle gunner (PM)

FM 100-2-3 doesn't list the GP grenade launcher anywhere, but that's an oversight. Most likely it would be carried by the squad leader (as you said) or the Senior Rifleman.

Now, obviously that's going to change for a whole host of reasons. Casualties, obviously. Lots of cases where you won't be facing a full strength squad, but anything less than 6 men or so is unlikely to be combat effective or deployed. If your squad doesn't have a functional APC anymore, the driver/gunner are probably reassigned and armed with rifles! If you're out of RPG rounds, then same.

Some sources claim that there is an SVD in nearly every Soviet squad (doctrinally different from the West), others (like FM 100-2-3) that it's one per platoon. Also, the Russians have gone back and forth between the RPK and the PKM as their squad support weapon multiple times now. In the early '90s the RPK-74 seems to have been the winner, but I'd wager you'd find more than a few PKs and PKMs around. And later in the war once the low-tier units and militia have been called up you'd see more 7.62 weapons in general, or even things like PPShs and Mosins (which were still stockpiled in enormous numbers).

Then of course there are the platoon and company and battalion-level assets that would appear... well, wherever you want them to. Mortars, automatic grenade launchers, ATGMs, MANPADs (if anyone is still bothering to carry those around), rangefinders, radars and other ground sensors, NBC gear.

All of that is true for US forces and every other military as well.

Your core idea is 100% correct: mix it up! And use it to provide clues and story!
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Infantry Squads

Tue 08 Jun 2021, 22:39

A doctrinally-correct Soviet motor rifle squad has 9 men. According to 1991 FM 100-2-3, it's this:
.
.
.
Vehicle driver/mechanic (PM)
Vehicle gunner (PM)
My 7 man squad was the dismounts only so we are in agreement on it being 9 men.

Also, in this computer game it was only 1 SVD "Dragunov" per platoon. In the other squads they carried an AK-74 instead.

[EDIT]

Also, good point about non-weapon equipment like med-kits. Probably every guy armed with nothing more than an AK-74 is carrying some other useful gear like a medkit or radio.
 
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omnipus
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Re: Infantry Squads

Wed 09 Jun 2021, 02:18

Not sure about that. Depends on the military but the basic rifleman is often the most junior, with no additional responsibility. Being a medic or RTO certainly requires quite a lot of specialized training.

My point about the 9 man squad was more that, on paper, those 9 men are part of each and every infantry squad in the TOE. Whether the driver and gunner are trained and would be used as infantry, in the absence of vehicles, is something I don't actually know... but I suspect they would. They are part of the squad on paper and in reality.

BTR squads also typically had one more member than BMP-based ones. This is a logistical issue based on the capacity of the vehicles, of course. NATO squads/sections are generally larger, with 9-12 men not including APC crew (although usually including the HMMWV crew, for instance).

In practice... eh. OOBs are always on paper only. Even in the best of times there are missing men and equipment. You show up with the army you have, and in fake-2000, that's more true than ever.
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Infantry Squads

Fri 11 Jun 2021, 11:37

I am not sure what is good military doctrine for the spacing between soldiers but in this computer game a fireteam occupies an 8 meter square area, with the whole squad occupying two such adjacent squares. The squad leader is attached to the first fireteam. In terms of T2K4 battle maps that would mean it would be quite common for a 10 meter square to contain multiple soldiers. I assume fireteam members would suffer some sort of command and control (C2) problems if they were more spread out.

N.B. This is the organisation of the fireteams when stationary. When assaulting a position they will frequently be much more widely separated, such as one providing covering fire whilst the other moves (fire and movement tactics). It's also possible for a scout or AT team of just 2 men to be detached and for the rest to form a single big blob of 5 men as a kind of firebase.
 
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omnipus
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Re: Infantry Squads

Fri 11 Jun 2021, 19:35

Depends a lot on the mission and security posture, terrain, and above all visibility. In daylight, in the open, with likely contact, you'd want to be 5-10m apart from each other. At night, you want to be closer to each other. At night in bad weather you want to be practically touching. The risk of all getting blown up by a grenade is not as high as the constant risk of someone just disappearing into the night and getting lost.

It's all about permitting command and control (verbally or otherwise) while limiting exposure and risk. Like you said, it also depends on activity. If holding a position then as long as everyone can shout at each other it's probably fine to be spread out along the line. If you can't make noise (which is common) I've occupied positions overnight where we tied rope to each other. If you heard something and needed someone to know, you tugged on the rope. On a patrol it's all hand signals and whispers.

Anyway, yeah I'd say typically 2-4 men in a 10m hex is reasonable. People don't want to do it in the game because lots of bad things can happen, but realistically people underestimate how big 10m is. It gets hard to talk over that distance. So for a patrol that hasn't taken contact, I have them in the same hex and adjacent ones.
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Infantry Squads

Fri 11 Jun 2021, 23:50

Anyway, yeah I'd say typically 2-4 men in a 10m hex is reasonable. People don't want to do it in the game because lots of bad things can happen, but realistically people underestimate how big 10m is. It gets hard to talk over that distance. So for a patrol that hasn't taken contact, I have them in the same hex and adjacent ones.
To discourage unrealistic spacing you could apply a unit cohesion penalty. Alone in hex: -2 modifier to CUF rolls. Two in hex: -1 modifier to CUF rolls. Three or more in hex: no modifier to CUF rolls. Basically the more spread out the unit, the more "brittle" it becomes. [EDIT] Alternatively apply a modifier the other way, e.g. - You have one friendly PC/NPC in your hex: +1 modifier to CUF rolls. You have two or more friendly PCs/NPCs in your hex: +2 modifier to CUF rolls. [EDIT-2] Or a mix of these approaches: Alone in hex: -1 to CUF rolls, two or more friendly PCs/NPCs in your hex: +1 to CUF rolls.
 
baldrick0712
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Re: Infantry Squads

Sat 12 Jun 2021, 00:46

I like this "Unit Cohesion" rule. You could call it the "Safety in Numbers" rule.

Example of play...

GM: OK, so you moving out westward. Are you all going to move as a group or spread out?
Peter (PC: "Ronson"): I'll go "on point". Everyone, follow on behind, 10m separation.
GM: OK but being on point sucks. Your CUF rolls will be at a -1 penalty until you've got company again.
Later...
GM: Peter, give me a Recon roll.
Peter (PC: "Ronson"): Damn, I failed!
GM: You've been ambushed! A Russian with a light machinegun opens up on Ronson. (GM rolls some dice). No hits but roll CUF at -1 penalty to avoid being suppressed.
Peter (PC: "Ronson"). Damn! Failed again. I hit the dirt. (Peter marks off a point of Stress on his character sheet).
GM: A couple of Russian riflemen now open up on you Sarah . (GM rolls some dice). No hits this time but give me a CUF roll to avoid being suppressed and apply a +1 modifier as you've got Jonesy and Top with you.
Sarah (PC: "Diaz"): I made the roll. Hooray! I get off the trail and try to find some hard cover. (Firefight continues...)
 
leonpoi
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Re: Infantry Squads

Sat 12 Jun 2021, 01:54

This could basically become a version of helping rules applied to CUF:

HELP FROM OTHERS

Other PCs or NPCs can help you succeed at a skill roll. This must be declared before you roll your dice. It must also make sense in the story – the individuals helping you must be physically present and have the capacity to support your action. The Referee has final say.

For each person helping you, you get a +1 modifier. No more than three people can help you with a single roll, meaning your maximum modifier from getting help is +3. In combat, helping counts as the same type of action as the one you are supporting (fast or slow).

NPCs can help each other in the same way as player characters. Letting NPCs act in groups instead of individually is often an easy way to manage large numbers of NPCs in combat.
 
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omnipus
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Re: Infantry Squads

Sat 12 Jun 2021, 04:16

This isn't a wargame; I don't really need rules to discourage unrealistic spacing. There are plenty of ways PCs can die and it's likely to find most of them eventually. If they want to spread out to where they can't help each other and maybe can't support each other, then that's their call. There's also already a penalty for that on CUF: you only get the squad bonus if you're in line of sight of your guys.

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