November 21, 2018

Battle Technique - Using Squads in Combat Mission - Should You Split into Teams?

In a recent thread in the Battlefront forums, a poster asked the following question:
Posted by Mousie:  Do you guys split your units often? Perhaps to have many people occupying buildings at the same time for area control? Only time I've actually used it wasn't a real combat situation, but during the training exercise. It does make people useful for scouts at least.
I thought it would be useful to post on this subject on the blog as these types of conversations are often lost in the clutter on that forum.

Some contend that keeping squads together allows better firepower and gives the squad better tactical survivability, both of which are true, or suggest keeping them together in order to take advantage of the Assault command.. I acknowledge that you do indeed need to keep your squad intact in order to use Assault, and they will not break as easy as they will if split and especially if out of C2 range of the squad leader.. but then I never use the Assault command, and I am willing to risk some fragility in order to utilize real world tactics and spread my squads over a wider area.

The only time I do not split my squads is when they are moving in a secure area and are not likely to run into any enemy units. In order to use real world tactics (which I highly recommend) I contend that you MUST split your squads.

I will split my squads regardless of nationality, for example, I even split Russian squads in CMRT, and try to use the appropriate realistic squad tactics... even though these squads will become very brittle if separated from their squad leader (out of C2 range).

Additional Reading: Movement Techniques, the React to Contact, Squad Attack and the Fire and Movement Battle Drills, plus the Platoon Leader section, specifically Scouting techniques.

In Action:  In my CMRT BETA AAR I laid out a Squad Attack Drill using a Soviet infantry squad.. the key to using a squad split is to ensure that the teams can be mutually supporting.

The excerpt from the AAR follows; this example shows mutually supporting fire, and leap frog movement as the Team roles change through the attack:
Squad Attack Drill
3rd Squad/1st Plt./4th Company that was formerly scouting for 5th company was given the task of taking out the HMG team that has been sitting on the approaches to Blau for several turns now...
The LMG Team and the Rifle Team made up my base of fire while the SMG Team was my maneuver element...
Elvis tried to extricate the HMG team but they ran right in front of the SMG team which cut down at least three of them (bottom image). Next I close and finish any survivors.
Squad Attack Drill - the finish
The survivors of the enemy HMG team that I was attacking last turn surrendered as the squad's rifle team closed on the position... the SMG Team was back in support for this move and the LMG Team moved forward as well.


  1. Good piece on why to keep squads split. With consideration to how keeping a combined squad to increases firepower and therefore survivability I think there are a few points to consider:
    1) Its much easier to select firing positions that provides cover and concealment with a good LOS at the team level. A combined squad places itself at the mercy of the AI for how the squad deploys itself in the terrain. This can potentially leave your riflemen in positions where they can't effectively engage targets that are visible to only a portion of the squad or put them in positions exposed to direct fire.
    2) Combined squads are much more vulnerable to direct and indirect fire than split teams. One fireteam being suppressed by a machinegun versus a whole squad! One fireteam under mortar fire versus a whole squad! Less men in contact = Higher chance to maneuver or disengage.
    *It may seem slow, or running the risk of losing C2 but IMO not splitting squads is almost suicide. Some formations don't allow a fireteam split(Italy is an example I think) In those cases I would recommend keeping those squads as dispersed as possible while maintaining C2.

    1. Excellent feedback. I really appreciate you chiming in.