FAQ: Proper Formats

Formatting and You

Below you will find the proper formats for several different types of communications, including briefings, radio comms, and operations orders. These are not required to be used and there should be no illusions about this. Proper military protocol takes a backseat to playability and plain ol' fun. But for those who are interested in using these, they are available here. These formats were taken from this website.

Each section, in white indicates a different part of the radio call. Calls should be kept as brief as possible.

Call For Fire

Used in calling for artillery, mortar, or naval gunfire support.


This is the unit designation that is calling for fire.

    • 1. Type of Mission
      • A - Adjust Fires
      • B - Fire for Effect
      • C - Suppress
      • D - Immediate Suppression
    • 2. Size of Element to Fire

The calling unit first selects a type of mission. Adjust means that the unit intends to correct a firing request made prior. 'Fire for effect' means that the rounds are falling and having an effect on the targets. Suppression and 'immediate suppression' are both similar, though the latter is an emergency call made when a friendly unit is in danger of being overrun or destroyed. Second, the calling unit requests the number of guns to fire. They can call for 'Gun' (a single gun), 'Battery' (four guns), or 'Unit' (eight-plus guns).

    • 1. Grid (Six-Digits)
    • 2. Polar
    • 3. Shift from Known Point

First, (1) the calling unit selects a type of mission from the list. An adjustment would be to correct positioning of where the rounds are falling. 'Fire for effect' would indicate that rounds are falling properly on target and to continue firing 'for effect'. Suppression and 'immediate suppression' are bot intended to put down an enemy, though the latter is more indicative of a friendly unit about to be overrun or destroyed and they need help fast. — Second, (2) the calling unit requests a size of fires. That would be a single gun, a battery (four guns), or a unit (eight+ guns). Third, (3) the unit identifies where they want the rounds to fall. That can be a grid point reference on a map (A) or a Polar point from the calling unit's known location (ex: Bearing 270 at 500 yards) or shifting from a known point ( range/north/south, lateral/east/west) and is called in feet or mile gauges.


This makes a difference in the kinds of rounds being loaded based on shrapnel, armor penetration, etc. Selections are: troops, Centurions, armor (tanks), bunker, building. Descriptors are: in cover, in structure, in fortification, in the open, in trenches.


Methods of engagements are as follows:
— Counterbattery fire: delivered for the purpose of destroying or neutralizing the enemy's fire support system.
— Counterpreparation fire: intensive prearranged fire delivered when the imminence of the enemy attack is discovered.
— Covering fire: used to protect troops when they are within range of enemy small arms.
— Defensive fire: delivered by supporting units to assist and protect a unit engaged in a defensive action.
— Final Protective Fire: an immediately available prearranged barrier of fire designed to impede enemy movement across defensive lines or areas.
— Harassing fire: a random number of shells are fired at random intervals, without any pattern to it that the enemy can predict. This process is designed to hinder enemy forces' movement, and, by the constantly imposed stress, threat of losses and inability of enemy forces to relax or sleep, lowers their morale.
— Interdiction fire: placed on an area or point to prevent the enemy from using the area or point.
— Preparation fire: delivered before an attack to weaken the enemy position.
— Deep supporting fire: directed at objectives not in the immediate vicinity of own force, for neutralizing or destroying enemy reserves and weapons, and interfering with enemy command, supply, communications and observation
— Close supporting fire: placed on enemy troops, weapons or positions which, because of their proximity present the most immediate and serious threat to the supported unit.
— Suppression fire: that degrades the performance of a target below the level needed to fulfill its mission. Suppression is usually only effective for the duration of the fire.

      • A - Fire When Ready
      • B - At My Command
      • C - Cannot Observe
      • D - Time On Target
      • E - Check Fire
      • F - Fire Again

This is the final section and tells the shooting unit under what conditions the rounds will or should fall. 'Fire When Ready' requests that the artillery group fire as soon as they are able. 'At My Command' orders the artillery to wait until they have a signal to fire and commanders should keep in mind the time it takes for shells to travel. 'Cannot Observe' indicates the caller will not be able to see where the rounds are landing. 'Time on Target' is to be used when a commander wants rounds to fall at an exact time and location. 'Check Fire' is a command for the gun operators to check their firing location and adjust if necessary. 'Fire Again' is the command to continue the rounds as they are falling.

So, a proper example of a 'Call for Fire' would look like the following:

[TAC3] "Bravo One-Five" says, "FDC, this is Bravo One-Five with a call for fires! I need Immediate Suppression from a full battery! Location is Two One Niner Eight Five Five! Target is Centurions in the open! Request close supporting fire ASAP and we are danger close! Fire when ready, over!"


These are used to request a medevac (medical evacuation) of casualties after an engagement, crash, or disaster.

  • Line 1. Location of pick-up site: Map coordinates are generally given.
  • Line 2. Radio frequency and caller's callsign or unit designation.
  • Line 3. Number of patients by precedence: A) Urgent, B) Urgent Surgical, C) Priority, D) Routine, E) Convenience
  • Line 4. Special equipment required: A) None, B) Hoist, C) Extraction equipment, D) Ventilation
  • Line 5. Number of patients: A) Litter, B) Ambulatory
  • Line 6. Security at pick-up site: A) No enemy troops in area, B) Possible enemy troops in area (use caution), C) Known enemy troops in area (use caution), D) Active and hostile enemy troops in area (bring armed escort)
  • Line 7. Method of marking pick-up site: A) Colored panels, B) Pyrotechnic, C) Smoke, D) None, E) Other
  • Line 8. Patient nationality: A) Colonial Military, B) Colonial Civilian, C) EPW
  • Line 9. NBC Contamination: A) Nuclear, B) Biological, C) Chemical, D) None

So, a proper example of a '9-Line MEDEVAC' would look like the following:

[TAC3] "Bravo One-Five" says, "Two One Niner Eight Five Five. Orion, this is Bravo One-Five. I have two urgent surgicals. We require a hoist in dense jungle. Both are litter. There are active Centurions in the area and recommend armed escort. We will be marking by smoke at pick-up for two colonial military with no contamination, over."

9-Line CAS Call

This is typically what is delivered in an exchange call between a CAS aircraft and the individuals on the ground. First, the aircraft check into the area. When the request goes out, the second part is said by those on the ground.

Fighter Check-In

  • Line 1. Mission Number / Flight Callsign.
  • Line 2. Number and type of aircraft.
  • Line 3. Position and altitude. This is relative to landmarks like cities or towns.
  • Line 4. Ordnance. This is what they have to deliver onto targets.
  • Line 5. Playtime. Number of minutes they can remain on station for support.
  • Line 6. Abort Code: Word used when they are leaving the area.

[TAC5] "Ripper" says, "This is Checkmate Flight, flight of four Predators. We are going on station five miles south of Wilbur City at twenty thousand. Six mark eighty-twos and full guns per bird. Playtime is four-zero minutes. Abort Code is Copperhead, over."

CAS Request

  • Line 1. IP. IP stands for 'Initial Point'. This is a location from which the attacking aircraft should begin their attack run and begin flying that direction immediately.
  • Line 2. Heading. Once at the IP, come to this heading.
  • Line 3. Distance. Travel at the prior heading for this number of miles.
  • Line 4. Target elevation above Mean Sea Level.
  • Line 5. Target description.
  • Line 6. Target location. Given in six-digit coordinates.
  • Line 7. Target mark. Is the target marked, and if-so, how?
  • Line 8. Friendly location.
  • Line 9. Egress. This is the direction/heading that the attacking aircraft should exit the area on.

[TAC5] "Bravo One-Five" says, "Checkmate, this is Bravo One-Five. IP is Wilbur City. Take heading three-one-five for three zero miles. Altitude is one-five-zero. Target is a bunker complex in a treeline. Location is Two One Niner Eight Five Five. Target is lased for identification. Be advised we are pinned down under heavy fire one quarter mile east and will mark our position with smoke. Egress is two-seven-zero to avoid enemy anti-aircraft to the north, over."

At this point the CAS flight lead reads back all of the information to the CAS requester to confirm the strike. Once it is confirmed, the strike pilots call up at one minute out to inform the requester and then the strike will commence. If there is a need for follow-on strikes, it will be called for.

Warning Order

Warning Orders, or 'WARNO's are a basic brief assembled when there is a mission in the works. These can be substituted for OPORDs (Ops Orders) in a pinch. It was lifted directly from the website at the top of the page. Here's the skinny:

WARNO In Detail

1) Situation — This paragraph is often a finger drill and if a group has been in the same area for awhile it may not change very drastically. However this step is crucial in making sure everyone is on the same sheet of music and leaders should ensure that any pertinent information about the enemy or friendly forces is given here. Just because you as a leader know it, doesn’t mean your troops can’t benefit from that information as well. When giving the WARNO take this opportunity to give information to your soldiers that can help them prepare for the mission accordingly. For example in this section you can box in your AO on a map or aerial imagery, give an over view of the OBJ and or route, discuss weather and light data, and any other pertinent information about the overall situation.

  • a) Enemy Forces — This section is extremely important and should be given in as much detail as time allows. Give the enemy’s disposition, strength, composition, capabilities and most likely corse of action (MLCOA). This will allow your soldiers to properly equip themselves with any additional weaponry or equipment necessary.
  • b) Friendly Forces — Use this section to briefly describe any friendly forces that may be operating in the AO or with your unit during the operations. Also give the mission of the next higher unit and any adjacent units. This is always important to help reduce fratricide. Be sure to give any information that may help in identifying adjacent friendly forces while in the field.
  • c) Attachements and Detachments — Give any information pertaining to attached units such as EOD, K-9, Medics etc.

2) Mission — This is given in the Who, What, When, Where, Why (5W’s) format and it should be clear to everyone as to what the objective is and how you plan to reach your desired end state. Always repeat the mission twice.

3) Execution — Provide as much information about how the actual mission will take place as possible. During a WARNO this can be brief or detailed but should give everyone involved a good idea as to how you are going to accomplish the mission. Remember to give any information that may help them prepare appropriately. An example would be to tell them you will be conducting INFIL via rotary wing aircraft and that everyone needs to bring rappel gloves

4) Service and Support — This is essentially the beans and bullets portion. This gives troops an idea as to how they will get the equipment needed to complete the operation.

5) Command and Signal — This gives the command structure during the operation, freqs, call signs and any other pertinent information. Again when giving the WARNO be sure to give troops the information they need to prepare for the mission. For example if you are planning to do satellite communication during your operation you need to tell your RTL to bring the appropriate radio, antennas and fills.

*Authors Note: As mentioned WARNOs differer drastically from unit to unit. While schools like Ranger School and the Special Forces Qualification Course follow a more rigorous guideline for giving out a WARNO these can be tailored in anyway needed as long as it gets across the information needed to prepare for the operation. Following the WARNO each member of the team should have a clear and concise idea of what they need to do to prepare for the OPORD (Operations Order) and or mission. If you conduct similar mission you should always try and have some type of WARNING ORDER template that you can use to fill in the blanks. This could include things like:

  • Equipment common to all
  • Mission
  • Specific equipment
  • Ammunition required
  • Routes
  • Target or HVT (High Value Target) information
  • Time line
  • Seating plan of vehicle platforms
  • PIR (Priority Intelligence Requirements)
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