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krause

Contact reports - the lost but invaluable tool

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I think it just kind of evolved that way.  Started a long time ago with the SL monologue used to sort of keep the squad united and aware of what was happening with the squad movement.  It was an adapted method that seemed to help coordinate a bunch of casual gamers that never have the same team composition twice.  It works okay in a mission with very small numbers but becomes ineffective when mutual inter-platoon coordination is needed.   In other mil sim communities it works a little better because some of them have dedicated positions where players get to know the players in their team.

 

 

Well, yeah, most of the teams i know of have compulsory or semicompulsory fam courses every week or every other week to drill new players in position, and it's not rare to be an ammo bearer for months to no end until you know your place and clan leaders approve of you; there you really get promoted to AT and AR, and hitting that FTL position is pretty much a graduation :biggrin:

 

In any case, i wont derail the topic any further. Surely how squads/FT are lead changes comms routines as in how and how often you have to report news up the chain.

Edited by Maffa

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In any case, i wont derail the topic any further. Surely how squads/FT are lead changes comms routines as in how and how often you have to report news up the chain.

I was wondering when the "off topic" card would be played in this thread but discussing the roles of FTLs and SLs directly relates to the contact report. That's why the UOTC has emphasized the importance of timely accurate communication of contacts (sightings). If the team member is fast and accurate describing the contact the FTL and SL can assess and relay the information quickly. That's why we have dedicated an entire 90 minute training session to improving the team's skill at communicating a contact and getting the whole squad focused on it in a few seconds. It is absolutely amazing to be part of a group where everyone is delivering focussed fire on a single contact within just a few seconds. It is clear brief communication that enables that reaction.

 

Krause started the thread to highlight the need to report contacts immediately. Often in game players silently engage without communicating. SLs will use their squad to eliminate threats and fail to report to the other squads. The rest of the platoon is left wondering what the noise was about. Communication starts with each team member who must call out the contact at the same time he/she is firing. This response should be echoed up the line of communication so the FTL, SL, PL and Company Commander is aware. The faster it happens the sooner everyone can react. If the threat is destroyed and no additional action is needed the the report is still valuable because the rest of the platoon is advised that the firefight was won and that information is usually helpful. The key is accuracy and brevity.

 

The contact report is key and must be disseminated almost similaniously with the reaction to it. That way the platoon (company) can operate as a single unit rather than several separate independant parts.

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Figured i could chime in late as well.

When i was a SL in the infantry IRL and in UO. My drill for contact was always to call "Contact, Wait out" even as i was getting down myself. Then i would quickly look at the enemy and my squad to see if i had to do anything this instant, like assaulting or maneuvering. As soon as that was done i would get on the net and send a SALTA.

The reason is that The last A in SALTA becomes super important to the platoons fight, since it should contain your own intent and a recommendation to the rest of the platoon. The reason the squad leader should give this if he can is because he already sees the ground we are fighting in, and it saves the PL and everyone else having to spend time coming up with a plan.

So yeah, i don't really play here anymore but i would recommend to anyone squad or team leading that they follow this drill.

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yea, that was what I was trying to get on about, godhand. The compromise between being a radioman and a squadleader. So the contact report shouldl be send when available, after everything else within the squad is covered and some time space opens and not as the ultimate and foremost goal to accomplish bringing a contact report a.s.a.p. to fullfill your duty to your Platoon command.
That is a tiny but very important difference.
For those who thought that I regarded "this is callsign, contact/contact, wait. out" as a contact report, I deny it hereby.

Edited by kOepi

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[...] So the contact report should be sent when available [...] and not [...] bringing a contact report a.s.a.p. [...].

I'm not sure asap means what you think it means. I've removed some unneeded phrases and clauses so you can spot the fallacy. Asap is "as soon as possible". If the SL is not available then it is not possible.

 

It seems to me that the discussion you were having doesn't lie there but in the availability of the SL. From your posts I was lead to believe you think the SL should do all the fighting while passively waiting for things to calm down as an opportunity to send a contact report. I understood that everyone else is telling you that the SL should make himself available. It's an action, not something passive, and one that should be done sooner rather than later.

 

And I think we're interpreting Godhand's post quite differently. For one, I think on the server people overestimate how much they need to do "this instant". For two, the range of what he meant in terms of assaulting or manoeuvring is, I'd bet, rather limited. Just because you took ineffective fire from two dudes loitering up a hill, that doesn't mean you have to assault them "this instant" and much less that you need to traverse 800m of terrain unassisted to do it before even sending in the contact report or a shout to the PL that you'll be moving the hell away from the platoon.

But anyway, I can only talk about my limited in-game experience. There are a few things that bother me on the server kOepi, that seem to come from disagreeing with you in this one (just because they bother me, it doesn't mean I'm right). From your original post:

 

[...] if [the squads] are supported from the rest of the platoon, then the PL gains [the contact] information by himself when the situation allows it ( after or before the contact ).[...]

 

Firstly, how exactly does the PL gain the information "by himself"? Secondly, the PL is not the only person on the net. The other squad leaders also gain the information. As I understand it, one of your top jobs as an SL is communicating and coordinating with the other SLs.

 

An anecdote of what happens on the server most of the time:

 

Platoon is moving on a column, squad 1 followed by 2, then HQ, and a 3rd 1/2 squad trailing on reserve. The plan is to move toward the objective and have 1 to assault while 2 is a BOF. We'll think about 3 later, depending on how many JIPs they get.

 

While moving, 1 squad gets in contact up front and returns fire. Nothing gets called on net and no one knows what's going on except that there's a firefight. Squad 2 can't fire back because they're behind 1, so they estimate that the contact is from the front right and immediately move to the right of 1 (without telling anyone). A firefight erupts from the right, and after a minute the PL asks on the net what the hell is going on. But no one replies because "they are busy fighting". Squad 3 is still scratching their balls at the back. There's only two things for them to do: complain that the mission is boring, or venture about in the direction the friendly squads ran off to in order to hopefully find someone they can help or, preferably, shoot at.

 

5 to 10 minutes pass and still nothing heard. PL moves forward himself to have a look at what the heck is going on. He goes looking for squad 2 but, after moving some 200m, as soon as he sees some bodies he gets shot in the head. 

 

Now, since people thought that slotting the PSG was not necessary, SL for squad 1 should take the lead of the platoon. But he wouldn't know that, because no one was talking on the net so he would have no idea that the PL is down. That is only if he was alive though, which he isn't. On that first contact he estimated his squad could deal with the contacts so he decided to assault the enemy position. He could have sent his FTLs to do the job while he passed a contact report over to the PL, but being the good leader that he is he lead the charge himself while shouting "squad 1 on me, on me". He got shot in the head soon after.

The assault succeeded but suddenly they were really close to the main objective. It doesn't make sense to retreat when you're so close to the object. Squad 1 is the main assault element after all, and while the FTLs have no comms with the platoon they can only assume this firefight noise is squad 2 is at their BOF providing support by fire. So they move into an objective designed for a platoon. But they are an unsupported squad-minus element, and they get slaughtered.

 

But where was 2 squad? Upon manoeuvring to the right of 1 they got engaged from the right. They assessed they could deal with the enemy so they assaulted the suspected enemy location (to the NE, while 1 had moved NW). Without telling anyone of course. 2 SL was right, his squad could deal with the enemies there. But as soon as the squad got to the enemy position there was another enemy position behind it and the squad took fire from it. As they saw enemies forward the squad members kept creeping forward to engage and kill them. They would take a casualty here, another one there... And since time flies when you're having fun, they suddenly realised that 15 minutes had passed, they were now several hundred meters from the rest of the platoon, with no comms, and they're down to 3 men. The SL finally attempts to reach someone on platoon net but no one responds (1 actual is dead, PL by now is dead, 3 squad is now a full squad but they're all still scratching their own balls but too far back to have range on the radios to talk with 2 squad. Damn buggy ACRE!).

 

At this point the acting CO should call the mission as they're not combat effective but no one knows who the acting CO is. Not even the admin. Speaking of admin, there are two interesting types of admin here. One type thinks that since people are getting to shoot their guns they're obviously having fun (well, except for 3 squad but such is the life of a jip). The other type is having too much fun watching people fail miserably so he doesn't want to end the mission just yet.

 

Where did this mess start?

 

This sums up a lot of the infantry coops I've played in the past weeks. Don't get me started on the TVTs. 

 

I don't know much about army stuff, but one of the most important leadership traits in any field is getting people to work together towards a shared goal, as opposed to doing things individually. In the case of the SL it sure means getting the squad members to act together, but I'd have a hard time trying to assume that his job excludes getting the other squads to help work together too. But do correct me if I'm wrong.

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@luiz silveira

The PL can find out about it by himself when he has the time, by making a picture with his own eyes from the situation. Since A platoon normally would not be so spread out, within a few minutes he or his 2iC
should be able to be anywhere in his platoon. And when he has the time, he will not push anyone to give a suboptimal contact/sighting report.

The way some ppl here describe their ideal reaction to do the contact report and how godhand, or I strive to react ideally to contact are not easy to differentiate from outside.
The amount of time that will pass before the full contact report can even be the same..
1. As soon as possible can mean that you make it your priority to send a contact report higher up and put everything else under it.
2, It can also mean that you interpret it more loosely and determine "possible" to after-the-squad-is-lead, which doesnt make sence to discuss, because everyone would have
a different interpretation on that. e.g. how far would leading be allowed before he does the contact report? (rethoric) and similar question can rise if you go the number two way.

Therefore "asap" will be set equal to "make priority" as a necessity, since other definitions are not set. J.B. was quite specific on things before the contact report, but didnt point out
the compromise that a leader has to make when he could give a contact report, but should not, because the squad needs him.

The Problem I see here is not the way it is done by the participants, the Problem is with those who want to learn.
The way I see it in the original post and loosely ( Thawk ) and specifically ( J.B. ) confirmed it wants the learner to think himself about bringing the contact report throught the radio
as his priority number one and do everything for it to get that information.

The way I want the learner to think is wheather his squad is doing alright, to determine wheather they act as supposed to, battledrills, rate of fire, available cover, and similar are applied as expected and if the available information
comes as expected to him and after he checked all these points, he formulates a contact report. it is not a matter of seconds,so he can take that time. either the other squads are so close to him, that
it will be obvious how to react to assist him or they are too far away, that a few seconds will not change a thing.

Your example is a little too much for me, I wont be going into that one.

Edited by kOepi

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contacts (sightings)

 

You see that right there is a source of an issue, "Contact" as taught in the British armed forces reserve it explicitly for the engagement between yourself and the En regardless of who initiates the "Contact" and this is how Sandhurst has taught it to me, this is opposed to referring to En combatants themselves as "Contacts". This is done to make sure that there is a single word that clearly lets everyone on the net know "I am in an engagement" by separating the term "Contact" there is no chance of confusion over En sightings and engagements, and if we spot En but do not need to immediately engage them we will simply give a sighting report.      

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Corax, to be clear

 

UK contact = exchange of fire with enemies

US contact = enemies sighting, whatever they are doing

 

am i right?

Edited by Maffa

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I do not know how it is taught in the US, I know only from the British Sandhurst perspective, however the latter usage or both at the same time is common among players here at UO.  

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i can confirm i always used the latter since i ever played Arma, and i would think that even Arma SP treats contacts as enemy sightings.

 

When i get fired upon i would rather use "taking fire" or "under fire" and a bearing, or something on that effect.

Edited by Maffa

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@ maffa
"Contact" means your are being engaged, under fire or spotted and close/soon to be fired upon. In the US military.
the term "visual contact" is there to differ between "contact" and "sighting" is used as an object and not as a 'proword'.

@Corax
There is this problem, but I dont really see how it refers to the original subject.

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I think you misunderstood me Koepi. or at least the important part. the time from calling "contact, wait out" until you are sending your SALTA should not take you more than 1 minute.

Your very first priority and your most important part as a squadleader is making sure your squads activities are coordinated with the rest of the platoon, and that your squad is doing what they PL needs it to do.
Therefore your most important job is to get a contact report sent out, so the platoon can react to the change in situation.

When i said dealing with anything in between the contact call and the contact report, it was meant as reacting to life threatening situations. Like if the contact happens crossing a field you first order line and then give orders to bound to the nearest cover. As soon as you have given these orders you are back on the net explaining what you are doing.

An example where there needs to be no real delay is if you are in a battle position and you take contact front like you planned, then you call contact, see the effect your squad is having on the enemy, correct anything that would otherwise be life threatening, and then you send your SALTA.

Either you do not understand what people are trying to tell you, or you actually think that the only reason that almost all professional armies in the world are conducting this drill in this way, is because they are dumb.

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The NATO Dictionary defintion of "contact" is not even necessarily implying the exchange of fire or anything.

Most of the time when the term is used it implies an enemy force that fire is exchanged with at least in one direction, as in "to make contact with the enemy".

 

contact / contact

 

Any discrete airborne, surface or subsurface object detected by electronic, acoustic, and/or visual sensors.

 

contact report / compte rendu de contact
 
A report indicating any detection of the enemy. 
 

 

A contact report is issued immediately upon contact with a threat or unknown force in the area of operations. This alert, which can be very brief, takes priority over all other communications traffic and is primarily sent by radio. If Soldiers are already in a hide position and have detected the enemy before being detected first (and time permits) this initial report may be sent digitally. State “CONTACT,” followed by a description of the threat or unknown force and the cardinal direction from the sender.

- ATP 3-20.98 

 

Edited by zumorc

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@ godhand

you might not have read everything I wrote, I disagree with nothing you said and you dont point out what I have misunderstood you with.

@Zumorc

thanks for that insight. What I know about the "contact" proword is only based on hearsay from military persons.

Edited by kOepi

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all fine. difficult to see it, but essentially I agree with the guide.

I suggest to change the line

As soon as you get in contact (within seconds), you should IMMEDIATELY give a contact report, even if you have incomplete information. The initial report should be:

to

As soon as you get in contact (within seconds), you should IMMEDIATELY report contact, even if you have incomplete information. The initial report should be:

Edited by kOepi

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