Basic Platoon Structure
By Chris "Laserlight" DeBoe
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The objective of this article is to give a brief background to novice Stargrunt II players who would like to get a bit of advice on how to set up their first units. The following discussion is aimed at showing you basic organizations for your Stargrunt II force.
One aspect to consider is whether you want to have a few tough units, or a larger number of brittle units. Every squad should have at least one support weapon—a SAW, auto-grenade launcher, plasma gun, or similar — so the most efficient squad TO&E (in game terms) for maximum firepower is 4 riflemen with FP3 weapons, plus the support weapon, for a total of five men. Once this squad starts taking casualties, however, it loses effectiveness quickly. An eight-man squad, by contrast, can operate effectively while under strength and can also afford to carry around an extra support weapon. Of course, if you’re building power armor squads you can discount this by a man or two per squad; if you’re including MICV drivers and gunners, then add a couple.
In the "real world", if the troops have organic transport, unit sizes will have to take into account the carrying capacity of their vehicles — there’s not much sense to have nine man squads if you can only fit eight into the APC. Real squads also have a maximum size based on the number of soldiers a squad leader can control on the battlefield, and a minimum size based on the number of leaders available. Historical squads have ranged in size from three to thirteen soldiers. High quality troops such as SAS usually seem to use smaller units, so my own unofficial rule of thumb is: elites work in 4-5 man teams; regulars have 6-8 men; and greens have 10-12 troops to a squad.
A platoon will normally have three line squads, possibly four, plus the command squad. There’s no point in putting more line squads in a platoon, as it’s unrealistic and also dilutes the value of the commander’s reactivation actions. When laying out the platoon TO&E, keep in mind the possibility of mixing squad types. Instead of having all units be rifle squads with machineguns, you may want to have an anti-bunker/anti-armor squad or a close-assault squad handy.
The command squad TO will depend on what you want it to do. If you feel the lieutenant’s job is to stay out of trouble and direct his troops (transfer actions), then just give the HQ squad the platoon leader, a medic, an electronic warfare tech, and a couple of riflemen or shotgunners as bodyguards. If you envision the Old Man adding extra firepower at the crucial point, then include a SAW and a GMS/L or a single light mortar team; you should also consider making the platoon leader an individual (per the Leaders as Individuals rules elsewhere on this site) so the heavy weapons can keep firing while the leader transfers his actions elsewhere.
Just tell me, how many figures should I get?
Assuming you’re using normal infantry rather than PA, a bare minimum for a single platoon is going to be around 24 figures, with 30-36 more common. You will probably also want a few extras to provide for reinforcements, engineers, snipers, or other mission specialists—and perhaps as a start towards getting your second platoon!
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Here are two different organizations for basic Stargrunt II platoons. The first is a true "bare bones" formation - it will not be too much fun if you make your platoon smaller or less-equipped than this. The second adds a bit of "meat", including more flexability and durability.
Assumptions: For the first, that you want to buy the minimal number of figures necessary to have a force for a decent basic game. For both, that you are playing them as "leg" infantry, and not bothering with vehicles.
Basic Platoon Organization
HQ Squad (1 Officer, 5 Other Ranks)
Includes the Platoon Commander (a Lieutenant, usually - use a rifleman figure distinguished in some way, like different colour headgear); the Platoon Senior NCO (a rifleman figure), a Signaller (so you can try the EW rules), a medic (regular rifleman figure, or one with a case or bigger pack), so you can try the medic rules; and two Riflemen, who act as security for the Platoon Commander (regular riflemen figures).
3 x Rifle Squads (6 ORs each)
Includes a Squad Leader (an NCO figure - usually armed with a standard rifle); a SAW Gunner (use a figure carrying a SAW); and 4 Riflemen (4 riflemen figures).
This gives you a platoon with a command squad and three line rifle squads. Each of the rifle squads has a support weapon, and the platoon has a signaller and a medic so you can test out those rules. This is a basic organization, suitable for a game against other infantry. The unit has no anti-armour capability, but you can add this without purchasing any more figures, by "issuing" the troops with IAVRs. You should consider issuing no more than two or three IAVRs per line rifle squad, and none for the command squad. In a basic game, more IAVRs than that will prove unbalancing.
To summarize your figure purchase, you need 24 in total: 1 officer, 4 NCOs, 1 signaller, 1 medic, 3 SAW gunners, and 14 riflemen. The officer, NCOs, signaller and medic could all be regular riflemen that you designate separately in some way, although most of the Stargrunt II miniature lines have at least one NCO figure and many have Signallers and figures carrying something or looking a little different, that you could use for a medic.
As a point of interest, GZG sells their 25mm Stargrunt II figures in "Platoon Packs". These platoon packs consist of 24 figures, and you usually a good selection of different types of riflemen, support
weapon gunners (SAW, and often some kind of rocket launcher), officer/sergeant figures, and sometimes a signaller. There are enough figures in one of these platoon packs that you could set up the platoon organization
shown above without having to buy anything else (you will usually get 3 SAWs for example). Jon Tuffley at GZG organizes the platoon packs as 3 squads of 8 figures, so you'll have enough stuff for 3 rifle squads (with SAW and special weapon) and then
extras left over to make up your command squad. I would suggest playing this organization using two figures as a medic and medic assistant, and using them as a separate squad. See below for further details. ~Ed.
"Intermediate" Platoon Organization
HQ Squad (1 Officer, 5 ORs)
Includes the Platoon Commander; the Platoon Senior NCO, a Signaller (so you can try the EW rules); a SAW gunner (to provide security for the HQ); and a Medic and assistant medic (2 figures).
1 x Weapons Squad (6 ORs)
Includes the Squad Leader; 2 GMS/P Gunners; 3 regular riflemen. This gives you a "proper" anti-armour capability, and a bit more tactical flexibility.
3 x Rifle Squads (8 ORs each)
Includes a Squad Leader; a SAW Gunner (use a figure carrying a SAW); a "PIG" Gunner (trooper with a Plasma gun); and 5 Riflemen. These line rifle squads can dish out more firepower, and can absorb more damage before becoming less effective.
This gives you a platoon with a command squad, an anti-tank squad, and three stronger rifle squads. You might try adding the medic as a separate two-model unit that you play as an actual seperate "squad" during games - this makes medics more effective than if they are stationed with the Platoon Commander. Options here could include eliminating the anti-tank squad alltogether if you do not plan on using vehicles. You could also replace the PIG in the rifle squads with a GMS/P and eliminate the Anti-Tank squad, if you wanted to purchase less figures. Finally, you could replace one of the rifle squads, or the anti-tank squad, with an "assault" squad, by replacing the other "special weapons" (SAW, GMS/P, PIG) with Flame Throwers. Some of the Stargrunt II figure lines (the Islamics and the FSE Legionnaires spring to mind) have "Flamer" carrying figures.
This organization requires the purchase of more figures - 36 total, but you will find it more tactically flexible, and more satisfying and interesting in game terms.
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