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"Game Design: Leadership" Topic


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20 Jan 2020 10:41 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Feb 2019 4:48 p.m. PST

In your experience, which miniature ruleset best reflects the key role of leadership in combat?

Personal logo jdginaz Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 9:27 p.m. PST

"I Ain't been Shot Mum" and "Chain of Command"

Karellian Knight28 Feb 2019 6:16 a.m. PST

Sharp Practice.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2019 6:50 a.m. PST

Nuts and FNG.

Tom

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2019 7:56 a.m. PST

Any of them that don't hog-tie the player into pre-set actions. Every player should be allowed to flourish or fail on his or her own actions, within the available tactics and troop characteristics.

Jim

22ndFoot28 Feb 2019 9:11 a.m. PST

I agree with jdginaz and Karellian Kight:

I Ain't Been Shot Mum
Chain of Command
Sharp Practice

This of course is for actions up to company level and reflects small unit leadership. The important characteristics and, consequently, my answer would be different in larger actions where the representation of leadership in combat is more abstract. I'm not really playing any of those at the moment.

Dynaman878928 Feb 2019 11:46 a.m. PST

I'll ditto the Lardies rules mentioned and add in Blucher.

mckrok Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2019 7:01 p.m. PST

Ruleset agnostic. Run a double-blind game (fog) with multiple players and one person in charge of each side (friction).

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2019 11:41 p.m. PST

We Can Be Heroes II has/had a decent way to deal with this, IIRC.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jan 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

Agree with ColCampbell.

Leadership in a wargame is not a function of the rules any more than real world leadership is a function of the situation. Leadership is a function of individuals. Any ruleset that does not try to "ruleify" leadership is equally good in this regard.

Blutarski21 Jan 2020 10:47 a.m. PST

Complicated subject. It seems to me that the lower the command environment, the more important the interpersonal relationship the leader and his men. It might be a case of his men loving him because he treats them well and is attentive to their general welfare … or, at the opposite end of the spectrum the leader may be newly assigned to a unit of disgruntled and insolent men or be an arrogant martinet resented by the men under his command.

In cases such as the above, rules must shape the likely actions of those lead soldiers on the tabletop.

My opinion, FWIW.

B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2020 2:37 p.m. PST

It seems to me that the lower the command environment, the more important the interpersonal relationship the leader and his men. It might be a case of his men loving him because he treats them well and is attentive to their general welfare …

Blutarski:

It is complicated. I think that the actual effects of leadership at different levels expressed itself differently, but if Napoleon's presesence was worth 10,000 men [or more depending on where you see the quote] according to Wellington, then 'importance' can be relative depending on the time period and level.

I do agree with Col Campbell that "Any of them that don't hog-tie the player into pre-set actions."

However, the knots in that hog-tie are very different from level to level in an army and very different from time period to time period.

However, at the low scale/seconds in a turn, I agree that Chain of Command is very good.

Aloha6021 Jan 2020 4:06 p.m. PST

Hi

interesting question – quick thought: the need for a 'real' commander to keep reserves that are either not used at all or only used as an act of necessity because 'their' forces are disintegrating appears remiss in most rules – yet was a real necessity for many reasons.
In 'game' terms it is of course restrictive – possibly more likely to be seen in well written scenario books?

UshCha21 Jan 2020 10:08 p.m. PST

colCampbel has it. Leadership in wargames terms is the ability take desicive action. You cannot make a Rash player happy to waste his troops, a timid commander and even less a bold commander timid.

No rules should attempt that, as its doomed to failure except in multi-player games where you get a spread of abilities naturally.

All a rules set can do is provide a battlespace where such skills or lack of them is not drowned out by stulted, over random rules that allow no space for leadership of the playet to show through.

Wolfhag22 Jan 2020 11:09 a.m. PST

I judge leadership rules based on if you can use your squad and platoon leaders in the same way they are used on the battlefield or according to the manual. I think that's why games like CoC are highly rated. I use a leader as a Force Multiplier and to increase teams/section's effectiveness.

All teams/sections have a Competence Rating which is used to see how well they can perform. If they fail a check the leader can "rise to the occasion" to use his leadership modifier to pass it. I don't use unit activations. He helps poor units perform better and good troops don't need as much direction.

Leaders coordinate a fire & maneuver and assault. If not coordinated properly the enemy is not suppressed or the assault team is hit by friendly fire.

In a firefight, they ensure fields of fire are covered and the rate of fire is adjusted. He observes what the enemy is doing.

When leading a patrol better leaders will have better Situational Awareness and get ambushed less often. They'll get lost less often too.

The initial reaction to enemy fire is important. He needs to get them to return fire right away and break contact if need be.

Getting WIA out of the line of fire and evacuated.

Personal initiative and how well will he lead from the front and expose himself to fire.

Leaders expose themselves to enemy fire when leading so take a causality check each time they use their modifiers. 2nd LT has twice the chance of becoming a causality. One of the results of the causality check is that he survives and inspires and motivates his men increasing their Tactical Competence. Good leaders will do that.

Personal Initiative: If he can't get his troops to perform in a tight spot is he willing to go forward into enemy fire and hope they follow?

In the invasion of France Herman Balck, as a Rgt Commander, had just chased a French unit into a village towards the end of the day. He called his unit leaders to plan an immediate assault. His subordinates pleaded with him to call off the attack until morning as the men were exhausted and low on ammo. Balck picked up a Kar 98 and walked off to attack the village himself, his men followed. They slept in the village that night. Balck knew the French were just as exhausted and if they spent the night in the village they'd recover and be ready for the morning assault.

On Guadalcanal, Chesty Puller had a unit pinned down by the enemy fire. He attached himself to the unit and in the middle of the firefight calmly walked up and down the line telling the unit they had nothing to fear. They rose up and advanced.

On Guadalcanal, John Basilone was going to the MG positions ensuring the proper field of fire, repairing guns and getting replacements. He made several ammo runs to the rear while killing Jap infiltrators on the way with his .45 and a Ka-Bar.

That's what I like to see in a game, sometimes it backfires too.

Wolfhag

UshCha23 Jan 2020 11:19 a.m. PST

If you take your example below:-

In the invasion of France Herman Balck, as a Rgt Commander, had just chased a French unit into a village towards the end of the day. He called his unit leaders to plan an immediate assault. His subordinates pleaded with him to call off the attack until morning as the men were exhausted and low on ammo. Balck picked up a Kar 98 and walked off to attack the village himself, his men followed. They slept in the village that night. Balck knew the French were just as exhausted and if they spent the night in the village they'd recover and be ready for the morning assault.

That realy is not a l3eadership issue that fundamentally outside the rules, its a personality of the player.

Our rules in our opinion has little on leadership, definitely light touch. However in a campaign for good or ill, things are going ill for me I need to secure a wood prior to the next phase. My troops are close to becoming combat ineffective due to the losses and time in combat. However I decide to press on on the basis I have been giving the enemy a hard time so the game goes on far longer than one would expect and slowly both sides start to lose units, but in the end I prevail and the wood is taken.

That's not a stunning leadership that is just the determination of the players to risk much for a short term game. In the end after the battle was over in the fun analysis afterwards we both agreed the obstinacy of the enemy was probably overdone. The extra time gained was not worth the awful cost of troops, who in the end were totally exhausted and demoralized for no gain.

Oh and the get out thing, well that's not rocket science a commander in "earshot" of his troops does a better job of commanding locally than one further away. No weird extra rules and dice throwing required.

What is being described is player personality not subtle rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2020 12:50 p.m. PST

Leadership is circumscribed by the officer's responsibilities and mission. It is very different for a Napoleonic officer [of any level] than 20th/21st Century officers.

So, the first thing that is necessary is to determine what an officer should do, can do and might want to do within his scope of decision-making.

Getting into personality, initiative etc. etc. only can follow on that first determination.

Wolfhag24 Jan 2020 6:35 a.m. PST

That realy is not a l3eadership issue that fundamentally outside the rules, its a personality of the player.

I'll have to disagree here. Maybe outside your rules but not mine. Leading men in battle is what leadership is all about. Personality and leadership? Yes. What do you think a reputation is based on?

So, the first thing that is necessary is to determine what an officer should do, can do and might want to do within his scope of decision-making.

I think they teach leadership first. I don't know what it means where you come from but from my experience and reading it means getting out in front of your troops. The leader with the larger "personality" will most likely be the one troops want to follow at the Company level and below level. Battalion and above commanders don't normally get involved in combat but sometimes they do.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2020 9:01 a.m. PST

I think they teach leadership first. I don't know what it means where you come from but from my experience and reading it means getting out in front of your troops. The leader with the larger "personality" will most likely be the one troops want to follow at the Company level and below level. Battalion and above commanders don't normally get involved in combat but sometimes they do.

Wolfhag: They may teach leadership first, but we are talking about designing a system that reflect the chain of command AFTER they have been taught leadership etc.

For example, does a company commander of A Co. lead an attack of Company B with the same effects as A? Could he? Under what circumstances? This probably should be established before you give any leadership ratings.

Wolfhag24 Jan 2020 10:55 a.m. PST

McLaddie,

Here is an example of a mere Corporal that led an entire Ranger Company that was under fire and pinned down a Corporal! Why? He showed that at that particular moment he was the leader, got up and led. Probably no one expected it to be him. Whether he did it out of stress, he panicked, lost his temper or whatever everyone followed. That's what counts. Someone leads and then people follow. If no one leads someone needs to take the initiative. Maybe it is a last-ditch effort that would be considered crazy, it does not matter. Of course, I'm talking about small unit actions up to the Company level.

TMP link

Yes, it may be an isolated incident but it does not change the fact that initiative, personal action, exposing yourself to danger and getting out in front to lead will result in the type of leadership that will inspire others to follow you. I'm sure that while under fire the officers and NCOs were coming up with some type of tactical plan to move off the airstrip but what was needed was not tactics but personal initiative and out in front leadership.

Just read accounts of VC's and MoH's awarded. Many of the awardees said it was not personal bravery but being scared and the deed he performed was the only option left open to him. Is he not a hero because he performed a desperate deed he was forced into? They'll tell you they are not heroes but the action and results speak for themselves.

When a Company commander goes down and the senior Platoon Leader takes over will he be better or worse than the officer he replaces? How experienced are the NCO's directly under him? How combat-experienced is the rest of the unit? What kind of an example is he going to set to inspire his men? It's pretty hard to quantify as there are so many variables. It may not affect the performance at all.

I don't think there is any way to quantify that. Then there are the thousands of examples of individuals who willingly sacrificed themselves for their comrades who up until that moment may have been very unremarkable in their actions. How would you identify those individuals?

I've talked to VN vets that said back in the US the worst guy in the outfit who couldn't obey orders and was a screw up showed the best leadership under fire and was made a squad leader in a month. The reverse can happen too.

I see a good leadership as a tactical rating for a Force Multiplier for the unit under his command. But then there is the individual personality and initiative of the leader which can reflect his personal bravery and how he inspires his men. They can be two different things. If his personal leadership is not inspiring he'll need to use other means to motivate them.

Selecting the right tactics for the situation could be considered an art that almost anyone can learn. Having the personal initiative and type of personality that inspires and motivates others to follow you would be considered an art that not everyone can aspire to.

Being a low-level Grunt, I was looking for a leader to inspire and lead, that's what I respected. Normally those guys know what they are doing. I can't recall meeting an officer that was a real leader and not considered a good tactician. If you can't inspire me with your leadership and confidence I'm not going to trust your tactics. Of course, there are always exceptions and that's just me.

A new 2nd LT may have the lowest tactical leadership rating but be the bravest individual in the Platoon. He may not need to have a good tactical leadership rating if he has a combat-experienced Platoon Sergeant that he listens to that guides him and make sure he does not do anything stupid. They are a team. He has the best of both. If he does not listen to the NCO's bad things can happen.

Marine Officer PLC training (Platoon Leader Course) the officer candidate is called a "Leader" because he is expected to get out front and lead by example, not sit in the HQ and diagram tactics. That's one reason 2nd LT's have such a high causality rate. They lead by example to inspire his men, not dazzle them with their tactical brilliance. They have a Platoon Sergeant to help them out with that.

That's my personal viewpoint but you don't have to agree. Do it however you think it works best in your game.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2020 1:31 p.m. PST

Yes, it may be an isolated incident but it does not change the fact that initiative, personal action, exposing yourself to danger and getting out in front to lead will result in the type of leadership that will inspire others to follow you. I'm sure that while under fire the officers and NCOs were coming up with some type of tactical plan to move off the airstrip but what was needed was not tactics but personal initiative and out in front leadership.

Wolfhag:

I am not questioning that such things *can* happen, or that leadership as you describe it isn't very important.
I am saying that:

1. The heirarchy of responsibilities are important and make such actions like that corporal's 'rare' as you say.

2. Experience, rank and whether the troops being led know the leader is again, part of the army organization.

3. Because of it, you won't find a corporal leading a battalion, or if so, the circumstances will be far more rare than leading a company. It also helps, as with the Rangers, to have a well-trained unit with closer ties between soldiers than regular infantry.

4. This might not be an issue if you are at the ground level with at most companies on the table… the leaders available will led, but there has to be some restrictions simply because of army rank, experience and organization.

A new 2nd LT may have the lowest tactical leadership rating but be the bravest individual in the Platoon. He may not need to have a good tactical leadership rating if he has a combat-experienced Platoon Sergeant that he listens to that guides him and make sure he does not do anything stupid. They are a team. He has the best of both. If he does not listen to the NCO's bad things can happen.

Marine Officer PLC training (Platoon Leader Course) the officer candidate is called a "Leader" because he is expected to get out front and lead by example, not sit in the HQ and diagram tactics. That's one reason 2nd LT's have such a high causality rate. They lead by example to inspire his men, not dazzle them with their tactical brilliance. They have a Platoon Sergeant to help them out with that.

Yep, what I said.

Blutarski24 Jan 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

Wolfhag wrote -
"Here is an example of a mere Corporal that led an entire Ranger Company that was under fire and pinned down a Corporal! Why? He showed that at that particular moment he was the leader, got up and led. Probably no one expected it to be him. Whether he did it out of stress, he panicked, lost his temper or whatever everyone followed. That's what counts. Someone leads and then people follow. If no one leads someone needs to take the initiative. Maybe it is a last-ditch effort that would be considered crazy, it does not matter. Of course, I'm talking about small unit actions up to the Company level."

- – -

+1 Wolfhag.

The indefinable and unpredictable human element is why we call it "The Art of War". Science, technology, corporate planning and rank badges all certainly play important roles, but the human element (personality + leadership + trust) remains a hugely powerful and unpredictable factor.

My opinion, drawn from non-combat related life experience.

B

Stoppage24 Jan 2020 4:21 p.m. PST

Another way of looking at this is examining the lack of leadership.

link

I understand that a lot of people got fired afterwards and selection and training methods were reviewed and refreshed.

If you visit then this is a nice hotel to stay in:

link

Blutarski24 Jan 2020 6:59 p.m. PST

Dieppe represented (IMO) a good example of "on the job training". To the best of my knowledge, no one in 1942 really had an inkling of what to expect in connection with a contested amphibious landing against well-prepared beach defenses. 4,000 or so men were "invested" to explore the question.

I would like to believe that the lessons taken away from the Dieppe affair were worth the lives lost.

B

B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2020 7:06 p.m. PST

Marine Officer PLC training (Platoon Leader Course) the officer candidate is called a "Leader" because he is expected to get out front and lead by example, not sit in the HQ and diagram tactics. That's one reason 2nd LT's have such a high causality rate. They lead by example to inspire his men, not dazzle them with their tactical brilliance. They have a Platoon Sergeant to help them out with that.

And that is the military's expectation of that rank, which that 2nd Lt. attempts to carry out because it is expected. Some are better leaders than others, but the military organization has established that expectation… and the same probably falls on anyone like that corporal that wants to lead in combat.

So, looking at leadership, the first question is what the organization's expectations are/the responsibilities, limits and 'what they can do.' For instance, no one is going to expect that 2nd Lt. to be sitting somewhere diagraming tactics to anyone--even if that is what the situation calls for.

Leaders are important, the human element as Blutarski says, is important. The organization is the first thing that needs to be known--what is what the leader is 'slotted into'

Mark 1 in the Boyd's OODA loop TMP thread with his Jan 24, 2:40 pm post gives a good example of this.

Two equally good tank commanders on the WWII Eastern Front, one Russian and one German, are going to have very different parameters for exercising their leadership abilities because of their army's organization and expectations.

That's it. Not questioning the critical role leadership plays, only that it operates within an established military environment and structure.

UshCha25 Jan 2020 2:38 a.m. PST

My point is you can't model it on the table. Somethings cannot be models usefully in a game of this sort.

To me extra random die rolls while on the table does nothing for the game. You could role "40 on 2 D20" and get a better leader. How does that help the game? If the player lacks initiative won't make a fearsome attack if he's not that sort of person.

On that basis I see no credible system that can make the game better, just having a sudo-random system labeled leadership seems pointless. We as a system slowly degrade performance and leaders as battle fatigue, ammo and exhaustion take its toll. Would I feel the game was better if on a random role the leadership got better as the new guy was more motivational? Absolutely not, it just a random issue and could spoil a good game.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2020 12:57 p.m. PST

My point is you can't model it on the table. Somethings cannot be models usefully in a game of this sort.

UshCha:

In your view, what is the 'it' that can't be modeled? I'm not clear on that through this thread.

To me extra random die rolls while on the table does nothing for the game. You could role "40 on 2 D20" and get a better leader. How does that help the game? If the player lacks initiative won't make a fearsome attack if he's not that sort of person.

I agree that random die rolls/cards for such things misses the reality altogether and problably doesn't add to the game, depending on the game focus. For instance, such leadership as that corporal leading a company requires a particular set of circumstances to set that up… It doesn't happen willy-nilly whenever someone rolls a '6'.

What is experienced as a chance event by the player doesn't have to be a completely random event in the rules. Rolling that '10' as a one in ten chance of success is experienced by the players as a unique and odd event…usually remembered long after many other rolls in the game.

UshCha26 Jan 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

Interesting, we have different opinions on what constitutes a good game. I have noticed that some players of Rapid Fire etc. seem in an after action discussion talk about exceptional rolls of the die. This has always seemed VERY strange to me. Maneuver Group players in after action discussions always talk about master tactical strokes, or for instance how they missed the value of a terrain piece and how that lead at at best undesirable outcome ;-).

It implies that players play for different reasons some for the gambling impact and some more for the tactics like a Chess game.

This may impact on the leadership issu>, Gamblers who want random effects that purport to model certain events, regardless in many cases of the quality of the modelling can at best be poor. You cannot model an improvement in leadership of the only sentient Player in the game. You could improve communication rates by a random factor suitably circumscribed by events such as loss of leader. However that can never impact the personality of the said leader which is entirely controlled by the player.

Which of the two options becomes a value judgement of what is or is not entertaining more than an actual simulation issue.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2020 1:17 p.m. PST

Interesting, we have different opinions on what constitutes a good game.

UshCha: I wasn't talking about what constitutes a good game. I was simply pointing out that chance events are an experience for the play that can appear 'out of the blue' when in the system, it isn't. And not that the gamers I know all talk about die rolls at the end of a game, but that very unique results stick in the mind longer than more expected or planned for results.

UshCha26 Jan 2020 1:28 p.m. PST

McLaddie,
The point is you can't model leadership as its a personality trait for which a set of rules cannot provide a substitute. Therfore adding leadership as a serious issue in a simu7lation is not practical. Ergo its a game issue not a simulation issue.

Take this VC winner, rescuing his men.

Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) Hollis and the battle hardened Green Howards, were hand-picked by Monty to be one of the first assault battalions to set foot on the bloody Normandy sands. As his Company took many casualties moving inland from the beaches, Hollis suddenly saw two hidden German pill boxes which had been by-passed. Without hesitating for an instant, Stan rushed forward to the first pill-box, poking his Sten gun through the slit. He climbed on top and put a hand grenade inside. killing most of the enemy within and taking other occupants prisoner. Spotting a second strong point, he attacked that too, taking 25 prisoners. Hearing that two of his men had been left behind trapped in a house he bravely told Major Lofthouse, his commanding officer (CO), I took them in. I'll try to get them out.' Hollis sprang out into the open blazing away with his Bren with bullets spattering the ground all round him, enabling the trapped men to get away.

He could not be modeled effectively other than a random event and that would be impossible to frame in a genaric way. Hence attempting it is unproductive.

Wolfhag26 Jan 2020 4:30 p.m. PST

He could not be modeled effectively other than a random event and that would be impossible to frame in a generic way. Hence attempting it is unproductive.

Are you sure about that? At a level where you represent individual leaders, they'll have their own individual OODA Loop. If the enemy location is in the leader's LOS then there is a chance he'll detect them. Is that so difficult to model?

One question is why did CSM Hollis go into action by himself? Was it because the surprise was on his side and alerting his unit would have alerted the Germans too? How far away from the German position was he? Did he feel that he could Act before the Germans could Observe him (OODA Loop considerations)? The surprise would give him a definite initiative advantage. Some game systems model that better than others. I think that again, like in most small unit actions, timing is important.

We've been testing out our leader/leadership rules allowing actions like CSM Hollis performed. A 1-2 man unit is harder to detect and has a slightly better chance of advancing under fire, especially if an officer/sr NCO. That's why one man walks point, not 3-4.

I think that is historically accurate by the hundreds of action reports like CSM Hollis and the documentation of awards. Combat awards are given to individuals mainly for individual actions, especially at the platoon and company level. MoH awards for not being directly involved in combat and under fire are rare. We use leaders as a Force Multiplier, enable lesser skilled troops to perform better, and we'd like to have rules that allow a leader to conduct actions like CSM Hollis and John Basilone.

If you don't represent individual leaders on the table and your reaction rules are only for team/section units and above then yes, it may need to be some type of random action.

In your Bulletin No 2 you have a rule:
Close assault The concept of "virtual men" is introduced to close combat resolution to effectively discriminate the effectiveness of weapons in the "close in" intense fire fight for ground that Manoeuvre Group defines as close assault. They were developed for WWII but we use them for all periods; it adds colour at minimal cost in time.

It mentions leadership but not individual leaders while the
"Table 1- Definition of virtual troops" mentions individual and their weapons why not include individual leaders that may be armed accordingly?

The "Assault Team" rule on page 46 of "GI Combat Commander" details "virtual" assault teams allowing them to attack with various close assault weapons. Couldn't you "virtually" represent CSM Hollis acting with his Sten Gun and grenades? You allow it for non-leaders.

Wolfhag

Skarper27 Jan 2020 5:25 a.m. PST

It's possible in my rules to have heroic actions occur randomly. But isn't leadership more about getting others to behave [more] heroically than going it alone?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2020 9:14 a.m. PST

UshCha:

Thank you for the explanation. I see what you're getting at. I agree with Wolfhag. It depends on the scale.

At the lower levels, where a figure would represent the Company Sergeant-Major, it could be done to some extent.

At the level of Monty, obviously he thought the battle hardened Green Howards of which Hollis was a member, a more effective unit, which obviously could be represented higher levels.

At the company level, where X number of stands represented the company, some could be more 'Hollis' effective than others.

I don't think it is an all or nothing proposition, but I agree with you. It certainly is not a 'random' one.

Wolfhag27 Jan 2020 1:08 p.m. PST

Skarper,
Yes, in general, you are correct. But then as a leader how exactly do you accomplish motivating others? In what circumstances would a leader "go it alone"? How does a leader motivate those under his command to perform?

When a leader says, "Follow Me!" he needs to be in front of them, not behind them or in the HQ.

US Army Leadership manual:
Lead from the Front

Taught to lead by example, leaders inspire their Soldiers to perform deeds of heroism and sacrifice, which often requires suppression of natural feelings such as fear. Leaders do not encourage their Soldiers by saying, "onward," but rather, "follow me," the very apropos motto of the U.S. Army Infantry School.

To inspire troops, leaders must instill a pervasive attitude to motivate their troops to advance under withering fire or hold a seemingly untenable position. To accomplish this, leaders must be present at the forward edge of the battle area so their Soldiers will follow their example and respect their judgment, leadership ability, and tactical knowledge.

Army Leadership Defined
Army leadership is more than Xs and Os, or emotionless structured leader development programs, or leadership study and analysis, or coercive motivation. According to the Army's leadership doctrinal manual, Field Manual (FM) 6-22, Army leadership is "the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization."

Of course, there are expectations and limitations. You would not expect a Battalion Commander to go on a platoon patrol. As a 2nd LT if you want to get the respect of your men you take your turn walking point, radio watch at night, eat last, etc. I think the standard for good leadership was not to ask your troops to do something you have not already done. Legion could expand on that.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marine Sgt Major Bradley Kasal and listen to a talk he gave. He could have stayed at Company HQ but he saw his job was to be with his men during the Battle of Fallujah. That included assaulting into rooms with them during the toughest fighting, evacuating wounded and using his body to absorb multiple AK rounds and grenade blasts to save one of his guys.

A friend of mine was a Recon Company Commander in Iraq and has a Bronze Star award hanging on his wall. The citation describes how he braved enemy fire to rescue one of his Marines. I never asked him about it but I wonder what were the circumstances that the CO had to go out in the middle of a firefight to rescue a guy. I'm sure he could have ordered someone else to do it but he didn't. Why? What do you think his men thought of him by his sacrifice? What would they have thought of him if he orderd some L/Cpl to do it?

I think ideally a leader has enough influence and motivation to get those under his command to do what needs to be done. In my game, I have a Tactical Competence rating for units. It reflects troops doing what they should do without being micro-managed by being activated or given an order each turn. If they fail that check (mainly because of enemy fire and suppression) the leaders that are nearby can attempt to motivate them to perform. I've modeled it after my experiences in the infantry. Your experiences may be different.

My games are at a reinforced Company level so I do have individual leaders that can personally influence situations and motivate the troops. However, each time they attempt to do so they expose themselves to enemy fire so the attempt can fail miserably and maybe have the opposite effect. That's why I call it a "Risk-Reward Decision".

Wolfhag

Skarper27 Jan 2020 8:59 p.m. PST

An issue I have in my rules is the conflict between 'leading' and 'commanding'.

The commander should primarily be responsible for a sound plan and communicating that plan to everyone involved.

The Finns had some lessons learned bullet points from their Winter War. [I cannot find these online any more].

One point was something like 'everyone should understand the plan and the importance of their individual role in achieving the objective.' OpSec may mean some information is need to know only but generally it's a good principle. It's interesting how often this eminently logical maxim is ignored.

In most games command and control is just ignored. The old 'Empire' Napoleonics sets did try to put some hard choices to the players – Go to the front and make sure somebody does something – or try to issue orders to everyone and hope enough actually do do something.

Rommel had a tendency to get drawn into tactical combat and neglect his real role as operational commander. Let alone consider logistics. Napoleon sometimes did lead in person but he had numerous subordinates to stand in for him. Ney and Murat were especially good at 'leadership' but less capable at 'commanding'.

Wolfhag30 Jan 2020 6:31 p.m. PST

Skarper,
The leaders you mentioned are division and corps commanders, aren't they? I doubt if they'd be at the Company or below at the tactical level which is the focus of my efforts.

I didn't spend much time at the Company CP but I don't think the CO really had to do much logistical planning, especially after the battle started. It could likely involve relations at Bn and Rgt level for favors to get equipment and what else you might trade for or steal.

There was a standard planning template we used for tactical operations that even the PFC's were trained to use:

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SIX TROOP LEADING STEPS: The six troop leading steps can be best remembered with the use of an acronym BAMCIS which stands for:(B)egin planning.(A)rrange for reconnaissance and coordination.(M)ake reconnaissance.(C)omplete the plan.(I)ssue the order.(S)upervise activities

PDF link

At the Company and below level I look at C&C being the ability to communicate via radio, visual, field phone or messenger. My experience is that at the platoon level most of the time squads were kept in visual contact. Squads and teams would attempt to continue performing their last order unless ordered differently. I don't use unit "activations" like most games. The Platoon Leader may attach himself to a squad and let the Platoon Sgt stay in the CP with the radio. We normally had one radio per platoon. The Captain might come around once in a while in a jeep to look in on us but more likely the LT's go see the Captain at his CP for "the word" and any planning.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2020 7:09 p.m. PST

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SIX TROOP LEADING STEPS: The six troop leading steps can be best remembered with the use of an acronym BAMCIS which stands for:(B)egin planning.(A)rrange for reconnaissance and coordination.(M)ake reconnaissance.(C)omplete the plan.(I)ssue the order.(S)upervise activities

Wolfhag:
This kind of confuses me, at least your differentiating between leading and commanding. The steps you give above look more like the decision-making cycle and certainly not the Ranger company-leading corporal.

What is the difference in your mind between leading and commanding…or is there one?

Squads and teams would attempt to continue performing their last order unless ordered differently.

Pretty much like Napoleonic wars or warfare after that.
Activations and 'initiative' roles may create chaos, but not in the manner often found in commanding on the battlefield. Kind of like randomly breaking dishes in a china shop to simulate someone accidently dropping a stack of plates.

Skarper30 Jan 2020 9:09 p.m. PST

I agree there is a huge difference between low level leadership and high level.

If the game covers company or even battalion level actions, there is probably little scope for changing orders during the action.

Wolfhag30 Jan 2020 10:05 p.m. PST

McLaddie,
Regarding the BAMCIS. It refers to squad and fireteam leaders performing these tasks and leading the reconnaissance. You are leading your men through a pre-combat phase/process. It's not admin type planning. It's for Marines so you need to keep it simple. I'm not familiar with the Rangers.

What is the difference in your mind between leading and commanding…or is there one?

What happens in my mind is immaterial and may not have anything to do with reality. Some people claim I'm a legend in my own mind, maybe I really am.

Marine Corps definition:
LEADERSHIP a: Leadership is defined as the art of influencing others in such a manner to accomplish the mission: "The sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding and moral character that enable a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully" (General Lejeune).
b. There are two objectives of military leadership: mission accomplishment and looking out for the welfare of your Marines. (1) The primary objective of military leadership is mission accomplishment. (2) The secondary objective of military leadership is the Marine's welfare.

Now how you influence them is going to be how the individual leader conducts himself, his reputation and his personal methods. That will determine the willingness of his men to follow, like the men who followed Balck in France.

Company Commander.(1) He controls the actions of his three rifle platoons and his weapons platoon.
(2) He is responsible for the training, combat efficiency, discipline, administration and welfare of his company. Much like the platoon commander, he is responsible for everything his company does, or fails to do, in garrison and combat.
(3) His rank is Captain.

Since he is responsible for everything his company does he may personally feel he needs to be at the center of the action to evaluate the situation and personally lead if necessary or relieve a leader. He may call in mortars or airstrikes himself. He's the boss and will have his own style of leadership. If he's tied down in the front his SA for the rest of the Company is decreased so he better have someone good he can rely on. Normally the XO, Gunny or 1st Sgt.

The positions under the Company Commander are: Platoon Leader, Squad Leader, and Fire Team Leader. They lead people directly keeping them in visual sight at all times, kind of like micro-managers. If the Company Commander needs to start micro-managing people something bad has happened.

If I had to give my take on it I'd describe the Company Commander as somewhat like a chess player commanding four pieces, 3x Rifle Platoons and 1x Weapons Platoon plus varying levels of support over the radio. He gets the objective from Bn/Rgt and puts together his strategy by "commanding" the platoons what to do and the LT's "lead". He does not micro-manage them or needs to have visual contact. The Platoon Leaders report back their situation, progress, etc and he refines and adapts his plans issuing "commands". He may go to the front and "lead" if he feels he needs to or wants to observe the situation first-hand.

Here is an example of a Platoon Leader leading and some of his men following. LT Chontosh did not "command" others to take action. He led and they followed. There was no planning, just an immediate reaction by the leader.

When 29-year-old, then-1st Lt. Brian Chontosh's convoy was caught in an intense ambush Mar. 25, 2003, during its push north near the Iraqi city of Ad Diwaniyah, his platoon couldn't move forward because coalition tanks blocked the path. In response, Chontosh ordered the driver of his humvee to steer directly into the berm from which Saddam Hussein's regime soldiers were staging their attack.

It was the first major firefight of the war for the anti-armor platoon Chontosh led, belonging to Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Moments after the ambush began, Iraqi troops had already hit two vehicles with machine-gun, rocket-propelled grenade, and mortar fire, killing one soldier and severely wounding another.

As soon as Chontosh's humvee slammed into the berm, he got out and ran down a dry irrigation channel used as a trench by dozens of Iraqi soldiers. Chontosh had never killed an enemy combatant in previous deployments to conflict zones in Bosnia and Liberia, but now he was shooting so many that his M16 was quickly running low on ammunition.

His charge was able to continue thanks to suppressive fire from Cpl. Thomas Franklin, who manned the humvee's .50 caliber machine gun, firing more than 1,500 well-placed rounds throughout the engagement, according to a report by Stars and Stripes. Chontosh was also supported by two other occupants in his humvee, Cpl. Armand McCormick and Lance Cpl. Robert Kerman, who followed behind throughout his assault in the trench. When Chontosh finally expended all of his M16 ammunition, he switched to his 9mm pistol. He emptied it, reloaded, and emptied it again, according to an excerpt of Phil Zabriskie's Kindle single "The Kill Switch," as published by Newsweek. Then, he picked up an AK-47 rifle from a dead Iraqi.

"What was I thinking? Absolutely thinking about the mission, absolutely thinking about the Marines," Chontosh told Stars and Stripes.

By the time Chontosh advanced a few hundred yards down the trench, he had expended the ammunition in two separate AK-47s and found himself firing a discarded Iraqi RPG launcher. His Navy Cross medal citation states he used the RPG "to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers." But Chontosh remembers differently.

"It was a terrible shot," Chontosh told Zabriskie. But Chontosh had been deadly accurate with his previous slew of weapons. Accurate enough, in fact, that one Iraqi soldier decided his best chance was to just play dead.

Chontosh stumbled upon him while on his way back to the humvee, noticing that the "dead" Iraqi was actually holding a grenade, likely waiting to ambush the Marines in a suicide attack. None of the Marines had any ammunition left, but Chontosh retrieved some M16 rounds that had fallen when he tried to clear a previous rifle jam, and killed the man, according to Zabriskie's account of the battle.

Killing to Chontosh didn't look like it did on television. It was less clean, and the bodies fell differently.

"It's ugly, it's violent, it's disgusting, I wish it wasn't part of what we had to do," Chontosh told Zabriskie.

For his incredible bravery and valor under fire that day, Chontosh received the Navy Cross, the second highest award for gallantry in combat, beneath only the Medal of Honor.

"When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others," reads his Navy Cross citation.

Chontosh's complex reaction to his own actions reflects the mind and spirit of a thoughtful warrior.

"In the moment, yeah, maybe you think you enjoy it, the excitement," he told Zabriskie about killing in combat. "But as the tempo slows down, a maturity kicks in. Yeah, I didn't really enjoy taking your life, seeing you die. I didn't really enjoy that."

Chontosh compared the complexities of combat to a sport with extraordinarily high stakes.

"It's the ultimate sport, maybe, where you talk about the price, what's the price for failure? In a sport, a silver medal maybe. But when we start talking about combat, the price for failure is definitely something a little more significant and likely, nine times out of ten, is watching a brother bleed out and die before your eyes because you failed physically," explained Chontosh in a 2009 video presentation at a conference of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists about using CrossFit-style workouts to improve Marine performance.

Chontosh credits the assistance of McCormick and Kerman, who each received Silver Stars, in addition to Franklin's contribution on the .50 caliber machine gun, earning him a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with "V" for valor.

Like many other servicemen who display exceptional bravery, Chontosh doesn't see himself as a hero. His actions, he told Stars and Stripes, were the same as "an average dude doing exactly what anyone else that cared, that loved his people, or had a sense of what they were supposed to be doing."

That's why he is called a Platoon Leader. I don't think Franklin needed to be ordered or activated to apply suppressive fire with his .50cal mg. Cpl. Armand McCormick and Lance Cpl. Robert Kerman, who followed behind throughout his assault in the trench, may or may not have been ordered by Chontosh to follow but Chontosh did not command them to lead. He led the way.

My approach to infantry rules is to give each Team/Squad a Tactical Competence Rating which will predict how well they react (IA Drills) and carry out orders. Squad Leaders and above do have a Leadership Rating that can be used to increase their Tactical Competence Rating by "leading from the front". Leaders leading from the front increase the units Tactical Competence by displays of courage which will motivate them to perform better than just "commanding" them to go first and he'll follow behind. But sometimes he will have to do just that and the men under his command will need to trust him. That's considered leadership too.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2020 10:11 a.m. PST

What happens in my mind is immaterial and may not have anything to do with reality.

Wolfhag:

Well, I *think* you are, as is the military, attempting to relate to reality, so let me know if you come to some linkage there.

Marine Corps definition:
LEADERSHIP a: Leadership is defined as the art of influencing others in such a manner to accomplish the mission: "The sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding and moral character that enable a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully" (General Lejeune).
b. There are two objectives of military leadership: mission accomplishment and looking out for the welfare of your Marines. (1) The primary objective of military leadership is mission accomplishment. (2) The secondary objective of military leadership is the Marine's welfare.

IF that is what you are going for, terrific. That's what I wanted to know. I taught leadership to business and educators. From my perspective, leadership in whatever context had four parts. The leader

1. Identified and supported the group's needs
2. Identified and approved of the group's asperations.
3. Syntesized #1 and #2 with achieving a goal.
4. Committed to that goal with personal action.

I think you can see how that fits with the Marine definition, builds trust etc.

And of course, as Murphy's Laws of Combat #15 says:

"Things that are Important are simple, the simple things are hard.

I would give examples of each, of course. For instance, General Schwarzkopf said that he often sized up the leadership ability of a platoon or battalion commander, by asking about the state of their command and general got one of two answers:

1. A description of the platoon or battalion performance
2. A description of the abilities and character of various members of his command.

Schwarzkopf looked for the second response.

A Tactical Competence Rating and Leadership Rating could work.

I've been working on four qualities for Napoleonic division and corps commanders.

1. Competency/Experience
2. Leadership
3. Temperment
4. Political positioning [Working with other Commanders and political aspects]

Wolfhag31 Jan 2020 10:58 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
I think we're on the same page.

There were some questions about planning. At a higher level, Bn and above I'd think planning is performed mostly by the leader's staff. So larger units could have a staff rating (based on the subordinate staff leaders) and the overall leader a leadership/tactical rating for leading the troops and maybe an "influence rating" to get better cooperation, supply, etc from higher-level HQ. Maybe his cousin or brother is on the division staff.

Leadership in the Napoleanic Era could also include an impetuous and glory-seeking leader who will more often than not get stuck in the front.

At the modern-day infantry Platoon level, the planning we'd do is rarely included in games or scenarios. Going on a patrol from a firebase you'd get a briefing from the CO and any intel. You might be able to get a helicopter ride to conduct a visual recon of the AO you'll be in and with the help of the pilot locate medivac locations for him. Talk to other patrol leaders that may be familiar with the area or make sure you bring along someone who does.

Then go to Comms to get radios, freqs (unit, artillery, and air) and call signs. You'd also find out if you had priority. Always bring more radio batteries than you think you'll need and Trojans for the handsets. Bring two PRC-25's if you can and maybe hump one yourself.

You'd go the Arty Fire Support Commander and coordinate with them your patrol route, expected ETA's to different areas and plot the TRP (Terrain Reference Points) on the map. These should be in areas of expected contact that they will already have in their fire tables and be able to respond quickly with a short and accurate 3-5 round barrage rather than firing spotting rounds which may land on top of you. This is designed to enable you to break contact, not fight.

Just before going out the wire you do a detailed check of each member of the patrol to make sure they have the particular gear they should have, water, salt tablets, fresh socks, food, ammo, repellent, etc. If it was going to be a 3+ day patrol everyone should eat only the C-Rat crackers and peanut butter in the days before leaving. Make sure no one has taken a shower in the last 3 days, you want everyone funky. It may be a good idea to bring along an AK for your point man. That way when you make contact and shoot the enemy in the area will think it is one of their guys. Any hesitation by the enemy allows you a small window of initiative to attack or break contact.

During the patrol, the leader designates locations as rally points to fall back on if things go wrong. When calling in SitReps you do not use your map coordinates as the enemy also has a copy of your map. You give your position as an offset in 100m increments from one of your TRP's to a 100m grid (using 1:50,000 scale maps).

You can see how BAMCIS can be used as a guide. The Patrol Leader is micro-managing each aspect of the patrol.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2020 1:47 p.m. PST

I think we're on the same page.

I think so, coming at it from our different experiences.

So much of the planning and leadership building goes on off the battlefield [or specific event] represented by most tabletop games. In most cases, you are dealing with set qualities and accomplishments by that time, that instant in the cosmos.

It's sort of like asking if someone can recite the Gettysburg Address. At that moment, they either can or can't because of past experience/work, even though most folks certainly have the ability to memorize it.

Wolfhag31 Jan 2020 3:31 p.m. PST

Regards to micro-managing from higher levels of command. I recall reading that a time in Vietnam when an Army battalion-size unit was in the field the Bn CO would fly around over them and micro-manage each platoon telling them all what to do. It evidently drove the Company CO and Platoon Leaders crazy.

wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2020 10:41 p.m. PST

Part of the problem is just that. Commanders at the Corps or division level could move in to manage at the company level if they wanted to. At times, like Napoleon at the Arcola Bridge, it was effective. At other times, the wrong thing to do.

So, players, to simulate command, need to have the ability to influence engagements at the micro level, but suffer any negative consequences.

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