So you think you can squad lead? Good. It’s not an easy role, and sometimes it’s not even a glorious role. It is a rewarding role though when you find that magical group of players, and you punch through every objective that you set for the squad. I’ve been told on several occasions that I’m a good squad leader. And no, it wasn’t by my mom. These are not just people I group with from my community, but random players we pick up as well. I’m going to explain how to be a squad leader in Hell Let Loose. Tips, strategies, and plenty of advice to come. Grab a cup of coffee and a find trench to dig into, because we have work to do.
Communication is your most important job. That includes talking, and not talking. You want to use short, concise messages when you talk, and keep the comms clear the rest of the time. You’re going to have both squad chat and command chat going in your ears, as well as bullets and bombers flying overhead. Minimize your time time talking to both your team and officers. Use your squad name when communicating in command chat, not your own name. Also be mindful of what you do communicate to command chat. Maybe if you knock an enemy garrison you report it, but nobody needs to know if you just took out an enemy squad spawn. Oversharing in command chat is detrimental to the entire team, so choose wisely what you decide to communicate.
Tell people you’re new (if you’re new). Mostly when I first started, people would either make suggestions, or leave the group. It wasn’t stressful thing. Most people understand that everyone has to start somewhere, and that squad leader is sometimes a thankless job. Some of these people have valuable experiences to share, new tactics to learn, and so on. Others just want to blame you for everything. Embrace the former, ignore the latter. Understand you’re going to take it on the chin early on. Learning to play Squad Leader in Hell Let Loose (or any milsim) has an enormous learning curve, but it does get easier. Stick with it.
Corral your people. Check your map when you die, make sure all the little green dots are in the same general area. Keep your squad on the same side of the street. Don’t let someone clear a building alone. Teamwork is the name of the game in Hell Let Loose, and as Squad Leader it is literally your job to facilitate that. If your medic is wandering off, following a trail of downed bodies, call them back. If your AT is off chasing a tank, call them back. Sometimes the situation will require you to send an Engineer to repair a damaged friendly armor unit, but just make sure they come straight back. Know where your squad members are, and do not hesitate to call them back. If you are not coordinating with them, your squad will go nowhere.
Insist on vital classes. Support is the most vital class to have. You need to build garrisons to advance the battle line. Engineers are great for building supply nodes, MGs for suppression, and so on. You can check my Infantry Field Guide to Hell Let Loose for more details on what you need and when you need it. Insist someone is on these roles when you need them, even if you just mention the next person to die should swap to the role. Don’t have to call anyone out by name, but be persistent in asking for whatever role you need. A Squad Leader must manage their squad efficiently to be successful, and pivoting amid chaos at a moment’s notice is how you do that. You can even offer your commendation at the end of the match to whoever switches to the needed class. It’ll only work once per game, but maybe that’s all you need. As I mentioned before, sometimes people will just get annoyed with you and leave. This works as well because it frees up the spot for someone who is willing to be a team player. There is no I in “team” or in “Hell Let Loose”.
Kick People. If someone starts ragging on you because you’re a newbie, kick them. If they don’t come back after you’ve warned them about wandering off, kick them. Everyone can tolerate different levels of trolling, so your mileage will vary on this decision. I will kick someone in a heartbeat for wandering off though. This is not Call of Duty, or Battlefield, this is Hell Let Loose. Teamplay is the rule, not the exception. It also sets the tone letting the group know what you expect. Others may leave, but that’s fine. You want to play this game with people who are take things just as seriously as you, however serious that may be.
Just do something. Talk. Shove your binoculars in your face. Click on some enemies. Squad Leader is a supporting role in Hell Let Loose. Marking targets for bombardment, directing fire to incoming enemies, and pinging various buildings to clear are all your responsibility. If all you want to do is shoot, this isn’t the role for you. A lot of your time is going to be spent making sure someone else has a good field of fire, or that someone else can make it across that street. Even if you’re losing, continue updating your marks and pinging, talking and giving direction to your squad. When I join a squad with a squad leader that isn’t talking, I’ll ask a few times to encourage them, then leave if they’re still quiet. If I want quiet I’ll go play a singleplayer game. Win or lose, a lot of people will give you credit for trying.
I’ve passed 280 hours in Hell Let Loose, and most of that has been as Squad Leader. I play in locked squads to weed out the warm bodies from the players who are looking for the same level of teamwork I am. I also generally have a few people from my community with me, so I save them spots. So it is a very humbling experience when you finish a match, and then have some of those players request to be back in your squad again and again. Keep your squad focused, keep them together, and never give up, even if you’re losing. You’ve chosen to be the squad leader, so it’s your job to make sure they are having fun. When you get that first random player to rejoin your squad, it’ll all be worth it.