Many players put their kit together to establish a certain “look”. I recommend that instead, you assemble your kit to accomplish your objective. There isn’t a single real world operator that sets up his kit to look cool. Every piece of gear is brought for a specific purpose according to MET-TC.
Don’t believe me? Check out my article Navy SEAL Kit Analysis, an Introduction to METT-TC. In it we picked apart Mark Owen’s kit from the book No Easy Day and analyzed his kit in light of METT-TC. In this second installment, we’ll start at METT-TC and talk about what we need to consider before putting a kit together.
The first thing you need to ask yourself when you’re about to put together a kit is what is your mission? Below are a few basic mission types and how they affect what you carry.
- Commander’s Intent – What does your commander want out of you accomplishing your mission? This will set the tone for your kit. If you will be moving around on foot for miles then keep it light. If you will be sitting in place fighting off endless hordes then bring everything you can carry.
- Specific Tasks – Are there any specific objectives you must accomplish that require special equipment? If so you’ll need to make sure you have it.
- Limitations – Are you prohibited from using any specific weapon systems on this mission or at this AO? Do you have any limiting rules of engagement that may make a certain piece of equipment impractical to bring along?
How well you understand your enemy will determine whether or not you can defeat him every time.
- Organized Military Forces – These are going to be your standard military units. They may be specially trained in a certain type of combat or may be conscripts that will surrender rather than fight to the last man. All of this is important to find out if possible. Expect these units to use standardized equipment, drills, tactics and formations.
- Unorganized Forces – These are your insurgent or guerrilla fighters. They may have military training, but will most often rely on elusiveness to survive. The insurgent appears, attacks and disappears before the enemy can do any real damage.
- Number of Enemy – How many bad guys are there in relation to your unit’s size? In most milsim games, organizers attempt to make opposing teams of equal size. However, you will not likely face the entire enemy team on your mission. So how many of them will you have to deal with?
- Enemy Support – Most units have some sort of support. Support can be a quick reaction force, vehicles, artillery, air assets, etc. What kind of support does the enemy have? If a QRF is involved, how long will it take them to get to the location of your attack? You’ll want to make sure you can be in and out of your objective before support arrives.
Terrain and Weather
- Terrain – What kind of terrain will you be crossing over the course of your mission? Will you have to contend with thick jungle, cross a river without a bridge or fight amongst large structures? Will you be walking up and down very large hills that suck your energy away with every extra ounce you carry?
- AO Size – How big is your area of operations? In the real world, an AO is generally hundreds and hundreds of square miles but in milsim yours will most likely be much smaller. Will you have to carry your gear long distances or will a few hundred feet of marching take you straight into the enemy’s base?
- Weather – While weather is not an issue to indoor AOs, it becomes a huge factor the longer your mission will last. Checking into the weather before your mission begins may be the difference between abandoning your mission and being able to press on and complete your objective.
Troops and Support Available
- Unit Capabilities – What are the organic capabilities of your unit? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you a light infantry unit able to cover long distances on foot quickly or an anti tank unit better suited for defending a static objective? You may not always be able to chose your mission but knowing your capabilities will enable you to play to your strengths.
- QRF– Just like the enemy, you will most likely have some sort of unit that can rescue you if your unit gets overwhelmed. You’ll want to know who these guys are and what capabilities (kit and skill) they have so you can best utilize them when they come to your aid.
- Transport – Trucks, APCs, boats and helicopters are loud and far from stealthy but they can carry large amounts of gear and allow your unit to cover long distances very quickly. If you have access to one or more types you may be able to stash extra kit in them or simply use them to save energy and keep your team rested up.
- Fire Support – While fire support is not modeled on a wide scale in milsim games at this time, it plays a huge role in real warfare. If you have access to any simulated airstrikes, artillery strikes or a similar fire support asset it will factor greatly into your unit’s capabilities.
- Detachments – The various branches of the military have many small teams known as detachments. They have a specific mission such as bomb disposal, reconnaissance gathering, public relations, etc. If you have any of these at your commander’s disposal they may be able to assist your unit with any specific difficulties you encounter.
- Mission Duration – How long is your mission? This will dictate how much food, water and ammunition you will need to carry. Planning on being out multiple days? You’ll want to be prepared to build a shelter for the overnight periods and have the proper clothing for the forcasted weather and temperature on each day.
- Support Delay – If you call for your QRF, an extraction or fire support how long will it take to get there? You’ll need to be prepared to suppress, evade or defend against an enemy force for at least that long.
- Local Population – Is your AO populated? Are the people there allied or opposed to your forces? If the locals are friendly they may assist you with shelter, food or information. If not you may be forced to travel around population centers to avoid detection, increasing the amount of time your mission will take and the distance you will have to cover. Alternately are you there to win over the local population? If so you may be bringing supplies to give to them. This will increase your load but will hopefully buy you some cooperation. Also it would behoove you to learn about their customs as to avoid offending them with your appearance or actions.
All of these factors go into the planning of your mission and will effect the kit that you carry. Not all factors will apply to every mission but all should be considered. So how do we take this incredibly detailed list of things and turn it into a kit that has the capabilities we need but won’t weigh us down to the point we are no longer combat effective? Read the next article in this series: Let’s Build a Recon Kit, an Exercise in METT-TC.