more structured chain-of-command
Current levels in the chain-of-command, and my observations of average number of subordinate elements:
- individual: no command duties
- fireteam leader: 3 subordinates (I normally have 4 people in a fireteam), single manoeuvre element
- squad leader: 1-2 fireteams + SL (I usually have 2 × 4-man fireteams, some SLs use the squad as a single large element), each can manoeuvre separately but should mutually support each other
- CO: 10 squads, multiple simultaneous large-scale targets, plus logistics/transport assets, plus
That's a big jump from SL to CO - everything else normally fans out by a factor of around 3, but for the CO it's closer to a factor of 9. This large jump in complexity has been bugging me for a while.
So I suggest another level: a platoon consisting of 1-3 squads and a platoon HQ element. There should be a level of radio communication that exists only within the platoon command structure to allow per-platoon communication. I don't know if a global radio channel would really be needed/useful, that needs some though/experimentation - especially with armour. 2 full squads + HQ would come out at 2 × 9 + 4 = 22 people: that's a good number for a coordinated infantry assault or defence. Maximum size becomes 3 × 9 + 4 = 31 people: still room for another platoon of 2 full squads. A platoon can obviously also include smaller elements if needed.
What benefit for SLs? Less radio chatter from the other side of the map, closer & more durable cooperation in your AO, someone else to help with team-level strategy.
What benefit for the CO? Fewer subordinate units to handle: a rough average of 9 subordinate squads becomes 2 × platoons, 2-3 × transport/armour, 1 × squad-sized infantry unit. That's half the number of units to coordinate than without platoons. It's also a bigger change than the numbers would suggest, that would let me start to think in terms of AOs for each platoon, support for each AO (not every individual squad), and team-level use of armour.
What about armour? 1 × HQ + 3 × squads gives 4 vehicles able to communicate amongst themselves and use ranged markers. Basically the same as a squad containing all the vehicles right now, which is why I am unsure about whether a global radio channel is useful.
What incentives should people have to create/join a platoon?
- Maybe some extra deployables that only a platoon leader can deploy (hesco things)?
- Maybe some indirect fire support that only a platoon leader or above can call in (120mm mortars)?
- Maybe some heavy weapons are only available to the platoon HQ element (combat engineer, an extra AT weapon, a specialist kit that can deploy and later pick up an HMG emplacement)?
- Better ability to coordinate with other squads in your AO - this should be the biggest benefit IMO.
How should creating/joining/leaving work?
- Anyone can create a new platoon, just like a new squad.
- Acts like a small squad with very limited kit availability until another squad joins your platoon - just like how you can't get a scoped officer kit without someone else in your squad, you can't get any specialised kits (or even scopes) without a squad in your platoon.
- SLs should be able to apply to join a platoon and be approved/denied by the platoon leader.
- SLs should be able to leave a platoon unilaterally without being disbanded.
- A platoon leader should be able to kick a squad out of their platoon, without disbanding that squad.
So it should be an optional extra to help people coordinate - if you don't want to be in a platoon there should be nothing forcing you into it.
What can it be used for?
- Infantry platoon: 3 × rifle squads + HQ (31 people) - a big, coordinated, infantry force that can take full control over an assault or the defence of a flag/AO.
- Armour platoon: 3 × vehicles + HQ (8-9 people, 4 armoured vehicles + maybe a logi truck) - a single cohesive cavalry unit that may have its own integrated logistics. Good for adding in maps with way more armour...
- Mobile infantry platoon: 1 × heli/light vehicle squad + 1 × infantry squad + HQ (14-19 people, 1 heli or 2-3 jeeps/hmmwvs/MRAPs) - a force that can quickly deploy/react anywhere with integrated logistics support. Or 2 × 6-8-man mobile units + HQ for 13-20 people and a different force structure.
- Mechanised infantry platoon: 1-2 × armour squads + 1-2 × infantry/mechanised squads + HQ (17-24 people, 2-3 armoured vehicles) - an ability to hit hard enemy targets and a reason for the infantry to actually care about the armour, likely with HQ doing some logistics.
Bonus outcome: less work for the CO and fewer units needing to talk to each other possibly helps 120-player servers become more viable.