A squad is the second-smallest military unit of organization, consisting of a squad leader and around a dozen soldiers under his command (depending on the country). A squad may further be subdivided into fireteams (the smallest military unit) of about four soldiers each.
Squad sizes vary throughout the Battlefield Series.
Players may join a squad upon entering a server or beginning a round. Otherwise, players must be alive to join a squad. Under certain conditions, players may create new squads.
A special set of icons and in-game indicators help squad members identify each other and their objective. Players in one's squad are typically designated green on the minimap, whereas players outside of the squad are typically designated blue. The player earns more points for doing a support action (heal, resupply, repair, etc.) on a squad member than on someone outside the squad.
A player may start a squad at any time (provided a limit on the number of squads hasn't been reached), becoming its squad leader. Squad leaders can invite other players on his team to join the squad, kick members out of the squad (but not out of the game). Squad leaders can also "lock" a squad, preventing others from joining except by invite.
The squad leader receives several unique abilities:
- Issue orders to the squad
- A special spawn point for squad members, depending on the game.
- Earn points related to squad leading
- Use a separate command channel in voice chat
- Use special gadgets available only to squad leaders
In some games, the squad leader can give their squad a special name. Otherwise, squads are assigned NATO phonetic alphabet letters as their squad designation with the exception of Battlefield 1, which uses the British Army radiotelephony spelling alphabet used between 1914-1918.
In certain games, squads and their members are shown on the spawn screen, along with the map's spawn points.
Battlefield 2 introduces the squad feature, with up to nine squads of six players each at a time. Squad leaders can request and receive orders from the commander, and can place requests for commander assets on the Commander view. Further, the squad leader serves as a mobile spawn point for his respective squad; otherwise, only the flags are able to be used as spawn points.
Battlefield 2142 improves upon the squad mechanics from Battlefield 2 with squad leader gadgets and early access to unlocks via field upgrades.
Battlefield 2142 gives players a special set of useful squad leader gadgets:
- Squad Leader Spawn Beacon for setting a static squad spawn point
- RD-4 Otus recon drone
- SD-8 Accipiter sentry drone
- Reinforcement Prioritization Unit for quicker respawn times.
The squad must be of a certain size in order for the squad leader to use a specific gadget. Any player can still equip a squad leader gadget, although it cannot be used—this potentially allows a squad leader to use multiple gadgets at once by picking up dropped kits.
Battlefield: Bad Company
Battlefield: Bad Company lowered the maximum squad size to four. It also added an HUD element which shows the squad the player belongs to. Additionally, players are notified if they are the last among their squadmates to remain alive.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 retains the lowered squad limit of Bad Company. Unlike other installments, any squad member may issue orders, although the squad leader retains the sole right to lock the squad. The PC version of the game will inform a player if they are the sole survivor among their squad, a feature that was otherwise removed from the game, with the exception of Onslaught.
The game also introduced the Squad Menu, which allows players and their friends to group up in the main menu of the game and then join a server together. The menu also where players can set their clan tag with up to three characters.
Bad Company 2 also introduced squad bonuses, a system whereby players are awarded more points for support actions between squadmates than with other allies. This offers incentive for squadmates to stick together.
Four-man squads are retained in Battlefield 3. Like other installments, players can spawn on other squad members so long as they are not dead, out of bounds, climbing a ladder, operating a parachute, in a full vehicle, in a tight area, or too far away from a Rush objective. The squad leader is once again the sole member of the squad that can give orders as well as having the ability to make their squad private or public to others.
A squad leader is identified by a star marker next to their name which can then be seen by everyone in the server. The game also added a squad menu which allows players to create a squad before entering a game. Despite this, squads can still be made when joining a server or in-game.
In addition to squad bonuses, order bonuses have been introduced, awarding squad leaders with points when marked objectives are either attacked or defended.
As with Battlefield 2, on Hardcore squad members can only spawn on the Squad Leader. When playing in Squad Deathmatch, the four available squads can contain additional players, although only three other squadmates will be visible in the HUD. A Squad Wipe bonus is given to a player that kills the last living member of an enemy squad.
The Squad Menu from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is also present, functioning in a similar manner. Instead of being an actual menu, the Squad Menu can be toggled at any time while not in a game, allowing squad leaders to check their stats and browse servers without having to leave the squad.
Squads return in Battlefield 4, this time with a maximum of five players per squad. Specializations also return, using the Field Upgrade system from Battlefield 2142. Players can choose a series of four specializations, unlocking them in series as they complete objectives. Squadmates can have different specializations, but share the same progress. A portion of this progress bar is lost if the squad is wiped.
The Squad Leader may request orders from the team's Commander, and can either accept these orders or request different ones. He may also issue orders to his squad in turn, and can request resources from the Commander, such as a UAV Scan or a Supply Drop.
The Squad Menu from past installments was not included in the game at launch but was later added, functioning in a similar manner to Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
A patch added the ability for squadmates to assume the squad leader role from unresponsive players. Squad Leaders without an active objective will forfeit their role to the first squadmate that uses the "Request Order" command, unless they respond within 30 seconds.
Five-man squads return in Battlefield 1.
The Commo Rose has been redesigned to allow squad leaders to place orders on any objective at any time. The same interface also shows whether other objectives are on order for other squads.
Squad Leaders are as the titles say, leaders of the squad. They can issue squad members orders to capture or defend certain objectives, doing so nets point to those who follow the order and those within the squad. A squad leader can also manage ones squad with the ability to kick squad members out if they desires to or promote one to leader
Squad leaders of their squad can lose their respective position if a squad members gives the "Request order" command from the Commo Rose and the Squad leaders do not give an order within 30 seconds and be replaced by the person requesting the order, if multiple request orders are given out by different people in the squad, it will go to the person who gave the Request Order command first. Additionally the position will change if the squad leader leaves said squad/match, in which it will be given to the second player in the squad or player below them or gives the position to another player via squad management.
Though lacking infantry specializations, a squad member can provide a Squad XP Boost lasting for one hour of playtime.
The game interface allows friends to join a match as a squad.
On the select squad screen, the player character is always on the far left, and is posed in the default class posture. Players to the right of the player character are players in the currently selected squad, and will always use these poses. The player's position will shift left with more people in the current squad.
In Battlefield V, players will be automatically placed into a squad at the start of each game, and squads will have access to special abilities and rewards. When getting kills together, reviving each other, giving squad members ammo, or playing the objective, the squad will get reward points.
The better the score a squad racks up, the better the reward, with well-coordinated teamplay giving squads access to such things as a V1 Rocketplane (high-cost asset), smoke barrages, supply drops, and special vehicles.
Players will also be able to chat with squad members outside of each map, while in the lobby and during loading screen.
- In early stages of Battlefield 2, squads consisted of eight players.
- Sometimes the squad system will glitch and players may find themselves in a squad with more than the maximum number of members. In certain games, such as Battlefield 2142, it is then impossible for the squadmates to join other squads or spawn on their squad leader.
- A glitch in Battlefield 3 has allowed for two squad leaders in a squad with all of the leader's benefits.
- In Battlefield 1, a squad leader will blow a trench whistle when selecting "GO GO GO" in the Commo Rose.