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Working with your team vs working with strangers

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:55 am
by Ryan
Thoughts? Especially when it comes to joint-operations and exercises.

Re: Working with your team vs working with strangers

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:04 pm
by jimothy_183 wrote:When you’re operating by yourself, tactical communication isn’t really an issue (if you have communication problems when you’re the only one there, consult a psychologist). Introduce another person, and all of a sudden things get a lot more complicated. Two people acting together without good communication or coordination can be less effective than a single person acting alone, because they get in each other’s way. We need some communications.

The first level of communication happens long before the fight: the SOP. Having a set of standard operating procedures, preplanned and practiced responses for different situations, is far more effective than trying to work everything out in the moment. A really well trained and practiced team can work through even very complex problems without any verbal communications or even hand signals, just based on SOPs and keying off what their teammates are doing. Conversely a scratch team that’s never worked together before, even if the individual operators are very skilled, is going to require a lot more on the spot communication to keep everyone coordinated.

On a verbal level, we have a very simple set of commands that covers the most common eventualities in a team tactics setting. First, what if one team member runs out of ammo or encounters a malfunction? It’s very important to let your teammate know this, so they don’t do anything expecting you will be supplying covering fire. If we yell “I’m out of ammo” or “reloading” or anything similar, we may clue in our enemy that now would be a good time to make their move, since one of our guns is down. Instead, we use “Checking!” to indicate that we’ve got a problem and can’t supply covering fire at the moment. In response, our teammate yells “Covering!” indicating that they’re providing covering fire while we fix our problem.



We started off the second day with some hand signals. Thus far we’d been relying primarily on verbal communication, backed up by seeing (and in the case of gunfire, hearing) that your team member was doing what he was supposed to. Hand signals can be very useful when you want to be sneaky and quiet. They can also come in quite handy as an adjunct to verbal communication once the fight starts and gunfire is drowning out anything anyone says.

For a permanent team that trains a lot, you can set up all sorts of complicated hand signals, but for a scratch team like we were working with in this class, simpler is better. Point at a guy and then point to a spot and it’s pretty clear the team leader wants him there. Thumbs up means you’re good. Point to your eyes and point to a spot and you want team members to direct their attention (and rifles) to that spot. We leavened these with a smattering of more specialized signals for halt, freeze, rally point, and enemy.

Re: Working with your team vs working with strangers

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:15 am
by tacticalguy
Done the joint exercise thing, many times. The way it works best is when you do an unloaded weapon walk-through, several times, a day or two ahead of time to work out the kinks.