The Squad leader (or SL) is a non commissioned officer, leading a squad of up to nine other soldiers. In addition to a choice of sub-machine gun or semi-automatic rifle, G 41(W) or MP 40 for German, SVT-40 or PPSh-41 for Russian, the SL equips grenades, a smoke grenade (NG39 Smoke-grenade or RDG1 Smoke-grenade, and binoculars. .
Both Red and Wehrmacht armies employed a structure in which a squad of between six and twelve men (two fire teams) was the smallest formal group of soldiers, typically led by a non commissioned officer, German Unteroffiziere or Feldwebel, Russian Junior Sergeant (мла́дший сержа́нт) or Sergeant (сержа́нт). Between two and five squads would comprise a platoon, the smallest unit commanded by a commissioned officer. At the beginning of the Second World War Two, squad leaders were usually professional soldiers, unlike the majority of the conscripted men serving in their squads, although they were often also conscripted men as the war progressed.
The Squad leader’s primary roll is to lead a coordinate his squad, usually using a combination of team and squad chat and the orders widget. In addition, the squad leader can provide cover for his team mates using smoke grenades, and designate artillery targets for his commander using binoculars. The Squad Leader also acts as a mobile spawn point for members of his squad when not spotted by the enemy.
As would be expected, the members of a squad are to a certain degree reliant on behaviour of their SL, and poor play and leadership will often result in criticism of a poor SL. It is recommended that basic game play and tactical skills are mastered before an individual selects the Squad Leader role.
The SL has to mix of previously discussed tactics to improve his teams chance of success. Forging forward with Assault and Engineer troops, using smoke to cover advance, or blind flanks where enemies may be lurking, hanging back from the main battle front, or hiding in cover in the capture zone to ensure forward spawn points for his squad mates.
A positive and vocal SL can also form his squad into an effective, cohesive combat unit, even on public servers, so long as his orders are reasonable and consistent.
Squad Leaders are also the Commanders eyes and ears on the battlefield, and it is essential that artillery markers are set and reviewed as often as possible, and where pertinent, tanks and infantry concentrations spotted.
The use of smoke grenades in RO2 has been the subject of much discussion. Whilst they can be used to directly cover advance to a strategic area or capture zone, an infantryman blindly advancing through smoke can often meet a hail of LMG bullets fired "on spec" coming the other way. It can be more effective to lay smoke to blind the enemies flanks to an advance, forming a corridor for troops to advance through, with Riflemen and Machine Gunners providing suppressive covering fire through the corridor, over or between the advancing troops. Smoke grenades can also be very effective in forcing tanks to relocate to less advantageous positions.
The SL's ability to act as a "mobile spawn point" in some game modes can also be key to a teams success. The SL should always be at the sharp end of the fighting, but by carefully choosing a hidden or covered location, out of sight of the enemy, allows his squad mates to respawn much closer to the front line than conventional spawn points facilitate - a good SL will watch the respawn timer and seek out a suitable spot as it ticks down.
- One G 41(W) or MP 40
- Two Model 24 Stielhandgranate
- One NG39 Smoke-grenade
- (Unlockable SVT-40 on realism and action mode when Squad Leader class is veteran or above)