This is a party-approved crosspost from the Folk forums. As we use the FOLK platoon structure in nearly all of our mission everything said here applies to ARPS as well.
What is this? Why am I in a brightly lit room, bound to a chair?
Hush comrade, you know the drill. There's no need to formulate your own questions. The party was friendly enough to prepare a list of questions for you. Now please, start reading.
*clears throat* Hello comrade, I'm now a squad leader or 'SL'. Where is the enemy?
Well hello there fellow comrade squad leader - hold up for a moment! Don't you look fabulous in that shiny new uniform, fresh from the academy? I bet you can't wait to shout at subordinates and sent them into their doom. It can't be harder than make a few guttoral noises, pointing in the rough direction of the enemy and discharging some motivational shots from your Makarov, now can it? Well, wrong. However, I am here to help you. With this brief guide you might not simply survive your first deployment, you might even be efficient! Doesn't that sound grand? Even better: studies show that efficient SLs are 29% less likely to die by 'friendly fire' incidents!
Ah. I see. Well, actually, I was wondering ... should I keep a close eye on my squad?
Always know what your squad is doing! Your squad will almost always consist of up to three fireteams of brave soldiers, and maybe the occasional attachment. The Party has provided you with a handy guide to the Folk platoon1 - study it! Also, if you cannot read, it has pictures. As an SL, it's your job to make sure that the elements in your squad work together under your direction. Use your map or GPS to keep an eye on your fireteams and the formation of your squad, but use your eyes as well - you should always be close to your troops!
Close to my troops? Can't I just rely on map markers and reports from my fireteam leaders (FTLs)?
Always try see what your squad as a whole is seeing - and more. In theory, your squad is capable of having 360°awareness, but in practice this is greatly reduced when moving, and even less in an engangement (thanks to the tunnel vision of shooting at enemies). As a SL you should try to maintain a broad field of view, so you're aware of how your fireteams are placed, and of the environment around them. Sometimes this is just a question of jogging a little behind your squad, other times it's about picking the right terrain. This approach will help you greatly in coordinating your fireteams, your medic and the firepower of any attachments, and serve as the foundation for other useful habits.
Okay, but I can forget about all the other parts of the platoon, right?
Wrong. It's your job to know where other squads are, and to help your troops avoid 'friendly fire' incidents. This is why it's so important to be aware of where your fireteams are, how they are oriented, and what's in the environment around them. Always have a good idea of where friendlies are moving - do this by listening to the chatter on Mumble's Channel Commander feature (CC), checking your map for friendly markers, and simply using your own eyes (or binoculars). Your trusty rifleman will most likely be too occupied with those angry bullets whizzing by to check the map or double check targets. A simple 'Friendlies to our north' from you can be all it takes to avoid a 'friendly fire' incident (and your detention by Party officials).
But what if I'm too busy shooting at things?
Your squad is your first weapon, comrade SL; your rifle is your second. I recognize that puzzled look, comrade. That metal thing in your hands: that is a rifle. Please don't look into the hole at the end. In theory, you point it at someone, squeeze the trigger and they fall dead. However, if you focus too hard on shooting your own rifle, you'll lose awareness of what your squad is doing and that, comrade, is bad. It means nobody is co-ordinating the firepower of your squad's fireteams, and so it is going to waste. Do you want to explain to a Party committee why you have chosen to waste the assets you have been given? A good squad leader brings the full force of her/his squad to bear on the enemy, not only that of his personal weapon.
How should I use my FTLs?
Comrade, micromanagment is for the capitalist opressors. Once an FTL has been told what you need her/his fireteam to do, let them get on with organising the detail. They'll use group VON to talk to their troops, so they don't clutter the squad's TeamSpeak channel.
Er. Can you give me an example of the kind of order I might give?
Certainly comrade. Let us imagine that you need the squad (in this case Charlie) to advance to the north in a wedge formation. Over TeamSpeak, you might say: "Charlie, we are oriented north. I want Charlie 1 in the lead, Charlie 2 on the left and Charlie 3 on the right. Charlie 2 and 3, form up on Charlie 1 and let me know when you're ready to move." After which you should expect to hear acknowledgements from your three FTLs and, soon, reports from the FTLs of Charlie 2 and 3 that they're in position and ready to go.
Okay, but what's the best way to tell talk to my fireteams?
Again, the Party has provided you with a guide to how we communicate within the Folk platoon1. As an SL, you'll share a Mumble channel with everyone in your squad, but in practice the only people talking in it will be you and your FTLs. Try to keep your orders for FTLs clear and concise, and encourage them to acknowledge your commands while at the same time acknowledging the orders passed down by Command.
That makes sense. But what about talking to my CO and other SLs?
For this you will use Mumble's Channel Commander feature (CC). Again, the guide to the Folk platoon and how we communicate within it1 is your friend, comrade. Apply the same principles as in your squad's TeamSpeak channel: keep your reports clear and concise, and acknowledge your CO's orders.
Help! Won't that get confusing, tracking communications both above and below, in Mumble and CC?
I won't lie to you comrade. Well, I will, if ordered to. Or if I believe it to be in the Party's interest. Being an SL is hard, and managing communications in two directions is one of the hardest parts of the role. But SLs have a 95% survival rate. Some of those statements may be true.
How do I resign?
Ha ha ha, comrade, that kind of humour will get you far with the troops! Now, to answer your very first question, the enemy is that way. Get moving Comrade and don't mind that Makarov I'll be pointing at your back. It's loaded with nothing but pure kinetic encouragement. Now go, brave Товарищ!
1 Again, this applies to ARPS as well.