More tips on saving the lives of a combat squad:

First, some serious ones, based on time in the Combined Cadet Force.

  • Assign a job to everyone, and make damn sure they know what it is. So, when the shit hits the fan in a big way, Simpson will know his job is to find cover and radio for help, whatever it takes.
  • Do basic combat drills. If you panic when the big gribbly monster pops up, you're dead. If you all instinctively drop to the ground, roll, and move into mutually supportive fireteams, you're sorted.
  • Always take more equipment than you think you need. Take long coils of rope anywhere you go. Take extra ammo. For Pete's sake take a pistol, as your main weapon will always fail when you really need it. Oh yeah, and take torches. Why does nobody take torches?
  • When moving along a dark, seemingly deserted corridor, do it properly. The point man (also known as Scout, Cannon Fodder) should look ahead. The team leader always goes number two in the order of march. Look forwards and to one side. Number three looks to the other side. The last man looks backwards. If you have more men than this, use at least one to check the ceiling.
  • If something needs investigating, send two people together. The rest get into an all-round defence, each covering a set arc of fire. The two scouts (frequently, but necessarily, the scout and the team leader) go to a point near the object of interest. One stops a good 10 meters back, and keeps a bloody gun pointed at it. The other approaches with a lot of caution. If more people can be spared to cover the searcher, good, but do not overdo numbers. There's no sense in taking thirty people to cover an apparently dead body.
  • Which brings me onto my next point: When searching a body, first remove their weapons, or anything that could be used as a weapon (eg fountain pen). Cover is needed for this as well. Then, when the body has been disarmed, one person lies on top of it. They roll it slowly towards them... the person covering looks underneath. If there is anything that looks even vaguely metallic underneath, yell 'Grenade!', and the other searcher will drop the body and roll away.

These are a few more gleaned from watching lots of bad films.

  • In addition to what Codic has said about choosing a leader above, machfive makes a good point: it's worth choosing the leader yourself, as otherwise the crack team of special operatives will either be assigned a battle-hardened veteran CO whom they resent, or a fresh-faced, inexperienced, cowardly CO whom they resent.
  • If you have a pair of lovers on your team, at least one of them is guaranteed to die. It's in the small print. This is not least because they won't keep their minds on the battle.
  • The black guy or the old guy will give his life valiantly, dying only as his ammo gives out. Give him vast amounts of ammo and increase his life expectancy accordingly.
  • The embittered veteran is useful, but only until the final battle, as his resentment will cause him to try to take on (the enemy platoon/alien queen/dragon) single handed. This is a Bad Idea. Capital B, capital I.

I will add more as I think of them. If anyone has any suggestions, /msg me, or add your own w/u, if you have a few.