|Nicknamed after the Argentine 1880s warlord "Chacho" Penaloza, my son has taught me the value of keeping things simple. Here pictured during a break at an airsoft match.|
I was letting my war game mind of neat formations, precise knowledge and God-like command of the world to overreach. My father-son first forays into the world of airsoft (picture above) came instantly into mind. We were lucky enough to play in a big forest area with a great group of people who like tactics and I immediately jumped in with all type of things. The first was to buddy-team with my kiddo: found out I am not so good keeping him aware of what I am about to do, or reporting contacts. The second was to try keep a squad-sized group of people moving in bounds: found out that the first casualty of keeping up with somebody is situational awareness (the second is yourself).
The collective tactical solutions in the airsoft team we played with (and very common among different groups), appears to have emerged spontaneously and is a happy medium. Sporadic, ad-hoc and contact-triggered buddy-teaming. The bounding movement just happens as the result of stamina, personality and markmanship differences (people with better aim and guns tend to stay slightly behind).
Off course, this coming from a game where there is no live ammo and no risk of life loss. Professional squads of real soldiers are able to pull those moves because they are professionals and train together for a long time. But if we think about the conscript, hastily trained WWII infantry ...
Since I play ArmA 3 a lot in the role of squad leader, I wondered what it looks like to be part of a squad tasked with a simple mission.
|A tiny, self made scenario. The enemy has been spotted in a small valley likely setting up gear for a company-sized heliborne insertion. I am part of a squad tasked with clearing the enemy forces. I only command a AR.|
|An enemy helicopter hit by an anti-air missile did not escape the operations area.|
|We move forward and I can only see a squad member (near the trees) besides King (my command). Bullets zip over our heads. We alternate between prone and crouched and I swear I hear the other squadies in our backs. Are they firing over our heads?|
|The fire intensifies and we go prone. Bullets crack over us. Where is everybody?|
|We crawl up to a clear area and finally can engage some enemy troops. The second it quiet downs, a squad member runs through our position and towards the front. There were friendly troops behind us all this time!|
|Never in my life been so happy to see an AI bot. Reinforced by almost the full squad, we move up the hill where the final objective is.|
|The risk of losing sight of the other men is lower now, so I go "tactical" moving a bit slower and covering every suspicious position.|
|Alpha Squad at the objective area. Casualties: two men.|
|On the other side of the area of operations, Bravo Squad seem to have had a lot of fun without suffering any casualties.|
To sum it up: a well-trained force will be able to perform acts of exquisite tactical depth. A low-trained force, although limited in their repertoire, can accomplish a lot if guided by a leader who recognizes its strengths and weaknesses. Sounds a lot like what happened frequently in the WWII Eastern Front.