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Communication Guide (ABCs, Reporting Methodology, ACRE)

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Note: Everything I write tends to have to start somewhere. This guide is not anywhere near perfect and is missing a lot of key pieces. I'm in the process of rewriting it, even after I just submitted it, to be better. It still serves as a source of important information, great for reference and review.


Welcome to Nomad's "Communication Guide" for United Operations ArmA 3. The intent of this guide is to teach and act as a reference for the principles of communication and methodology of reporting information in-game so that players can achieve and maintain a cohesive information channel. Much of the information of this guide comes not only from personal experience but from the the official "ArmA 3 Tactical Guide" by Dslyecxi, which can be found in your ArmA 3 main game folder as "arma3_tactical_guide.pdf" and has a wealth of information.


ABCs of Communication

  • Accuracy - When speaking, especially over the radio, what you say should be correct.
  • Brevity - When speaking, especially over the radio, what you say should be brief and to the point. You are not having a conversation, you are speaking intelligently about information you know that others need to know.
  • Clarity - When speaking, especially over the radio, you must be clear. This means you must be in-range, speak at an appropriate volume, and keep "uh, uhm, hmm" out of your transmissions.

Accuracy ext.


I told you what you say should be correct, but how do you do that? Follow the report methodology. If there is no protocol on how to report what you see and or hear then you must have good judgement. Good judgement comes from experience, so the more you input information and hear the input of information, the more adept you'll become at using good judgement. Lets run through a few examples so that we can better understand this concept. Also note that I go over reporting protocols further down beyond these examples, so reference those too.


You're a rifleman on patrol in Tanoa. In the surrounding jungle to your East you notice a trip-mine. The average individual will see something like this and simply yell to everyone "mine" or "HEY I SEE A MINE OVER THERE!" and it does nothing but cause confusion. It would quite honestly be better if that person said nothing then that. What you should be saying is this:


  • Name/Type/Model of Mine.
  • Direction.
  • Distance to closest friendly or civilian element.

So it would look like this:


"APERS (AP Mine), 2-7-0 (Direct East), 15 meters from friendly." or alternatively "Close to friendly!" for the distance depending on how long it would take said friendly to activate that mine. Remember, accuracy is dependent on how close the danger is.


Now, there's another side to this coin. The inexperienced rifleman tends to report danger and cause panic. The seasoned rifleman may be a step ahead, which can be just as dangerous. For instance, let's say the same rifleman sees this AP mine and believes that since the mine is not placed directly in-front of the patrol's route - that something dangerous is in-front of the patrol - that will cause them to avert to the East into the mine. This is a common ambush practice and while this thinking should be encouraged, it is not how we communicate. Communication is internal to the side, meaning what you communicate to friendlies shouldn't be intended for the enemy to hear in an attempt to outsmart them.


This seasoned rifleman may simply call for a halt, or try and formulate a plan to avoid what's ahead, or may give false information that danger lie ahead. No matter what, we maintain the protocol. When I started playing mil-sim I made the mistake of the inexperienced rifleman. After some time under my belt I thought I was hot shit and could outsmart the other guy and it got me in a lot of trouble. Temper yourself. Not being accurate enough is one issue, trying to go beyond reality is another.


Brevity ext.


How much can we say in how few of words? Again, reporting protocols will assist you with this because they contain the ABCs of communication. But it still benefits us to break it down. Brevity shouldn't simply be practiced over the radio but in all communication relative to being in-game. Brevity is best demonstrated, in my opinion, during a briefing. Competent COs use things like phase and ready lines, way points, and TRPs not only for functionality but short-hand. The last thing you want in your ear during a firefight is this,


"We passed around hill 2-8-3, where the Chapel is on the West and there is a lot of trees. Sight line isn't great. No enemies sighted yet. I'm wearing a thong."


Let's mark this position on the map as a ready line, we'll call it RL "Red" and can even just refer to it as "Red".


"Passed Red, no contacts."


That's Brevity.


Clarity ext.


Clarity is in my opinion, the easiest of the 3 concepts. You can do this when speaking about literally anything, unless perhaps you're quoting someone - no doubt making fun of them for lacking clarity in an ArmA 3 UO mission. Remove unnecessary pauses, "uhm, er, hmm" from your transmissions. Make sure when you transmit or speak you are within range and speaking at the proper volume (to the best of your ability). Have a microphone that isn't dog shit and or extremely loud/quiet. Speak in an understandable language. You can even use something like a middle finger or gesture to help get your point across.


Reporting Methodology and Protocols.


Throughout a mission a CO or squad leader may ask for certain reports. These reports are acronyms and refer to a variety of things. You may also need to use a protocol to report something like a contact. (Contact Report!) I'll go over those here. Please share anything I may have missed.


  • Contact Report (C-AOD)
  • ACE Report (Ammo, Casualty, Equipment)
  • SITREP (Situation Report)
  • CASREP (Casualty Report)
  • SALUTE Report (Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, Equipment)

A contact report is the most common protocol utilized by all player combatants in a mission. Many people know the contact report as the direction, distance, and description of the enemy. These contact reports work fine, and are great in instances where you are on a line with friendlies engaging an opposing line of enemies and spot a new target. However, this is not perfect - especially in close quarters battle. The AOD contact report, or Alert, Orient, and Describe (which is very much the same thing as the DDD) may be better in some instances. Those instances again include CQB, immediate-danger of fire, and frankly forgetting the 3 D's. 


The AOD report reads like this,

  • Alert! Loudly say, "Contact!" so everyone knows shit is or is about to hit the fan.
  • Orient. (Relative bearing, "Front, Left, Right, Rear" ... General Compass Bearing (Specific 1-2-3 or North, North-West, West, South-West, South-East, South, East) ... Specific Compass Bearing (May be used in place of GCB, 2-6-3) ... Clock Bearing (12... 3... 6... 9... etc 'o Clock) You can use just one of these types of orientation or be general then specific or respond to a specific orientation-type request from someone who at that point in time cannot read the information you provided.
  • Describe. What do you see? A rifleman? An automatic rifleman? An HVT? A Sniper? A Marksman? Are civilians nearby? Is it night-time, do the enemies have NODs and that wasn't in the briefing or previously mentioned?

 The C-DDD report is similar and reads like this,

  • Contact! Yell. This should be said again by friendlies around you to acknowledge your alert.
  • Direction. Same as orient but generally considered to mean a compass direction or specific bearing.
  • Description. Same as describe but generally understood to mean the enemy unit type, ie. AR.

So that's the contact report. Questions? Ask with a reply or find me on TeamSpeak.


The ACE Report.


ACE Reports are provided to leadership to get a sense of what the section's ammunition, causalities, and equipment is. The following colors are generally used: Green, Yellow, and Red. Although Amber and Black have been thrown in although to keep things simple I recommend not using those ... but I'll go over them anyway to be comprehensive.


  • Ammo, how much ammo do you have? The squad leader will use the median amount of ammo reported to report to his platoon commander. Who will report to the company commander if one is present. Green = Most/All you started with. 6-10 is a good baseline. Yellow = Some/Failing amount. Usually 3-6 is a good baseline but in some cases you may only need or be provided with that much. Red = Little/None, 0-2 is a good count but again its dependent on the mission. Amber sometimes replaces yellow, or sometimes is used as a color between yellow and red and is in most cases completely unnecessary. Black means you have nothing or are actively firing your last magazine. Red also gets the point across just fine so keep it simple, stupid.
  • Causalities, how many wounds do you have and are you combat effective? Green = Combat effective. Yellow = Combat effective, but injured. Red = Combat ineffective. Black is reserved for when you're dead and is generally used by leadership to signify they have no more subordinates. Its not necessary. 
  • Equipment, this refers to any equipment that is not bullets/rockets/missiles. Smoke grenades, chem-lights, bandages/tourniquets, IR strobes - that sort of shit. Its not nearly as important as ammo and casualties in ArmA and is sometimes even voided. I have never heard black or amber be used in this situation.

An independent ACE report may not be the same as a team or squad leader's report to his or her CO. As a team or squad leader reporting to your CO, be aware of this. A good rule of thumb is that if 20% of your people are hurting, the 80% resupply them. If 50% of your people are hurting, their colors represent that of your squad's. 


The Situation Report or SITREP.


A SITREP is a report of the situation at hand. Useful for JiPs and leadership returning to a battle from unconsciousness or respawn. May be asked for on the request of the CO or SL. Don't go up to your leadership as a rifleman and ask for a SITREP, get some info from a team-mate.


I believe Dslyecxi description of a SITREP is perfect so rather than write my own piece on it, I'll simply quote his.





- Dslyecxi, "Arma 3 Tactical Guide"


The last type of report I'll go over in this guide is the CASREP or casualty report. Its very simple, especially if you understand an ACE report. The CASREP is provided by junior leadership to the CO through quantity and the terms "killed" or "wounded."


For example,

  • CO: "1 this is 6, gimme a CASREP."
  • 1: "6, 1; 4 wounded 6 killed."

A CO will usually request a CASREP from all elements, but this serves as the simplest of examples in a UO mission. A squad leader will call upon his usually two fireteam leaders to give their own CASREPs in the same manner.




Alright, so now you know your ABCs of Communication and basic reporting protocols. You aren't a master of communication yet, in-fact neither am I. Not even close. But an element will be doubly more cohesive if they all understand these standards and utilize them. Senior leadership, recon, JTAC, FiSTers, and FOs will need to be even more skilled in communication and know a larger catalog of protocols to perform their duties. Perhaps that'll be another user-guide I post. Please provide me with feedback, be as blunt as you can, I appreciate it.



"ArmA 3 Tactical Guide" by Dslyecxi - a free version of this is available here although it is not nearly as comprehensive. All ArmA 3 legal owners have a copy of the full guide within their ArmA 3 directory.


US Marine Corps

  • Common Skills Handbook 1B
Edited by bwcnomad

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The contact report we commonly use in UO is Direction, Distance, Description in that order, preceeded by the word "Contact!" if you've not been in contact already or after a lull in contact. The sooner you can give the contact direction, the better for yourself and your teammates. Sometimes you might hear players get stuck on the description because they forget if it's a BTR or a BRDM and it tends to be the longest part of the report. If needed you also throw in additional information helping to locate the target relevant to unique landscape features.


A practice I tend to use regarding ammo count reporting is to request hard numbers on magazines and rockets from individual solders on the fireteam level (or if using a small 6-man squad even on squad level), then use color coding higher up. This tends to be more accurate in the end and works even if your FT members don't know the color format, although it's just my personal preference and depends on what balance of accuracy vs brevity I need at the moment.

As for reporting equipment, normally nobody cares how many chemlights or smoke grenades you have - the equipment part usually signifies mission-critical equipment such as explosives, breaching equipment like ladders etc., basically stuff you preplanned for use and critical to mission success.


The part you wrote/copied on SITREPs says exactly nothing about what should be in them. A rough outline is already present in the RTO Course on our wiki and looks like this:


A situation report is a given to a superior upon your own initiative or his request. This report is meant to attain situational awareness on the situation and location of a callsign.

  • Location
  • Situation at grid
  • Own actions
  • Support needed (optional)




An example of a SITREP could be "1'6 this is 1'1 SITREP, break. 1'1 at grid 123456, holding position, engaging 10-15 troops NW 600m, break. 2 lightly wounded, getting red on ammo, I intend to break contact towards south, request covering fire, over"


Here's a link for people interested in the course content http://www.unitedoperations.net/wiki/Radio_Telephone_Operator_Course


DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert in any way on this topic, but wanted to share my experiences on sending and receiving those reports in ArmA.

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I'm sorry Kail but is this intended for me or...?

Its just the entire UO A3 wiki

I guess so, also it is not the entire wiki it is the category that is displaying all official UOTC articles some of which cover parts of your guide content.

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nomad, many if not all of things above have been already on the wiki. UOTC has set a standard for UO and it's best to follow that.

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nomad, many if not all of things above have been already on the wiki. UOTC has set a standard for UO and it's best to follow that.


True, but I think its useful for players who are looking to be the best they can be to know and understand more than one way of doing something. Standards are important and should be the first thing a UO player learns. That player that goes the extra mile incorporates other methods and knows when to use what. That's the intent of this guide, certainly not trying to supersede standards.

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That's great, but your statement doesn't make much sense. UOTC sets the standard, you acknowledge it, but still post your own stuff? Every time someone asks for help in a certain area, replies most often use materials from the Wiki or the Wiki reference itself.

I just don't see a purpose of restating something that's been around for years and available to everyone in a structured and easily understood way, and via a "in person" course.

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That's great, but your statement doesn't make much sense. UOTC sets the standard, you acknowledge it, but still post your own stuff? Every time someone asks for help in a certain area, replies most often use materials from the Wiki or the Wiki reference itself.

I just don't see a purpose of restating something that's been around for years and available to everyone in a structured and easily understood way, and via a "in person" course.


Again, there's information posted here that isn't on the wiki. Its not the "standard" but its another way of calling contact. It also is more descriptive and provides examples about, as the title states, the ABCs of communication.

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Again, there's information posted here that isn't on the wiki. ..

Is it not in here? http://www.unitedoperations.net/wiki/UOTC_Field_Handbook (from the URL provided previously).


Standards are important. Without standards there is a lack of understanding and cohesiveness. The standards at UO have been created over time and with care, disregarding and/or rejecting others in favour of the adopted ones.

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