->''"Look, we know you're new to this command, but the army field manual is very clear on the subject of squad stereotype composition. Every squad must include: 1 [[TheQuietOne quiet]] [[RealMenLoveJesus religious]] guy who [[WarIsHell goes insane]], 1 [[CowboyCop maverick loose cannon who plays by his own rules]] and [[DyingMomentOfAwesome dies in a blaze of glory]], [[ElitesAreMoreGlamorous 1 covert recon operative]] [[DarkAndTroubledPast with a dark past]] who at first [[SixthRangerTraitor betrays the team]] [[HeelFaceTurn but then]] [[TenMinuteRetirement has a last minute crisis of conscience]] and [[HeroicSacrifice nobly sacrifices himself for the greater good]], [[EnsignNewbie 1 fresh faced new recruit]] who survives but [[BreakTheCutie loses his innocence]] and [[ComingOfAgeStory learns to become a man]] and 3 or 4 other guys who [[TheGenericGuy you don't care about]] so they can [[RedShirt get brutally shot so you can show how serious the war is]]."''
-->--''[[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/loadingreadyrun/1681-Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Loading Ready Run]]'' makes it official.

Military and war stories have a number of different levels of focus, from the global strategic level all the way down to squad tactics, and even the plights of individual soldiers on the battleground.

When the focus is at the smaller end of the scale, we get this trope. Very often, this is a squad composed (like a FiveManBand or TheTeam) of interlocking character types or roles.

There are quite a few similarities with the types and roles of the CommandRoster. The main difference is the CommandRoster is a very specific combination of skills that may not be [[MildlyMilitary strictly military]]. TheSquad may be a BadassCrew and have a SquadNickname. If it's made up of women, it's an example of an AmazonBrigade.

The trope's inspiration comes from the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireteam fireteam]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squad squad]] units of infantrymen. Such a setup possibly first appeared in UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars, where open order skirmishers armed with rifles (at the time, more accurate but slower to reload than standard muskets) depended on close coordination to be effective. They would stealthily get into a good position to fire good shots and avoid the sweeping, densely-formed gunfire that enemy line infantry units provided. The use of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_and_Movement fire and movement]] tactics - some soldiers move towards the enemy, others provide covering fire - also contributed to the reorganisation of militaries into small squads. However, gunpowder in UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars was "black powder" that would quickly fill a battlefield with thick smoke, which made firing accurately difficult. [[TropeCodifier It was not until]] UsefulNotes/WorldWar1, where breech-loading rifles using smokeless powder had become commonplace, that the average infantryman became far more accurate and quick-firing. Throwing in the ([[MoreDakka proliferation of machine gun crews]]) that would inevitably shoot first when a mass of men approached them, defenders in cover were granted a huge advantage. Military science thus experimented: infantrymen would attack fortified positions in small groups, approaching with methodical covertness. This became the default method of military tactics, and remains so to this day.

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[[index]]
Some of those character types and roles:
* TheLeader, who might be of several different types. If the leader is an OfficerAndAGentleman, expect a CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough relation with a SergeantRock.
** ColonelBadass or MajorlyAwesome
** TheNeidermeyer
** EnsignNewbie, in which case there will ''always'' be a SergeantRock present
* The shooter, often a
** ColdSniper
** FriendlySniper
* One or more [[UtilityPartyMember technical]] [[TheSmartGuy "Smart Guy"]] who can take any or [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist all]] of the following roles:
** TheStrategist
** TheEngineer
** CommunicationsOfficer
** CunningLinguist
** [[HollywoodHacking The Hacker]]
** VoiceWithAnInternetConnection
* TheMedic (sometimes another SmartGuy variant), sometimes as a CombatMedic
* A charismatic smooth talker
** TheSocialExpert
** TheFace
* TheBigGuy
** DemolitionsExpert
* [[DesignatedPointMan The Point Man]]
** TheSneakyGuy
** ArmyScout
* The Veteran
* NewMeat
* TheQuietOne
* SadClown
* SouthernFriedPrivate
* TheSquadette
* TokenAdult
[[/index]]

If the story follows the characters through boot camp, or specialized training, expect to see DrillSergeantNasty make an appearance. If the story follows them after the war, expect at least one ShellShockedVeteran.
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Some works featuring TheSquad include:
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers''
* ''Series/BlackSheepSquadron''
* ''VideoGame/BrothersInArms'' (essentially Series/BandOfBrothers: [[SpiritualLicensee The Game]])
* ''Series/{{Combat}}''
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': features the "Evangelion squad".
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''
* ''OverThere''
* ''Series/TheRatPatrol''
* ''Series/TourOfDuty''
* ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond''
* ''Series/TheUnit''
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar''
* ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' and ''[[VideoGame/HaloReach Reach]]'', as well as ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'''s "Spartan Ops" co-op campaign.
* ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho''
* ''{{VideoGame/Killzone}}''
* ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany''
* ''Literature/GenerationKill''
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad''
* ''ComicBooks/XWingSeries'' both Rogue and Wraith Squadrons, though Wraith Squadron features more ground/Special Operations missions
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando'', both the [[VideoGames video game]] and [[Literature/RepublicCommandoSeries the novels]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles''
* Literature/GauntsGhosts of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}
* ''Anime/LibraryWar''
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam''
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles''
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers''
* [[WorldWarIII ''The Zone'' novels]] by James Rouch.
* ''{{Anime/Simoun}}''
* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan''
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty''
* The Gold Eagle Books action-adventure series of the 1980's -- SOBS (Soldiers of Barrabas, a mercenary unit secretly employed by the US Government), and the anti-terrorist groups [[Literature/TheExecutioner Phoenix Force and Able Team]].
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' has a squad consisting of [[PsychoForHire deranged mercenaries]] and parodies of the above tropes.
* ''Franchise/MedalOfHonor: Pacific Assault'' gives us a main character with a voice and a personality, as well as a distinctive squad to support him.
* ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' (the Japanese-language title is really their official group designation)
* ''Literature/TheBlackCompany''
* ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront''
* ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict''
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar 2''
* ''Film/{{Aliens}}''
* ''Anime/PumpkinScissors''
* ''VideoGame/GeneralChaos'', which makes players choose between four different squad types.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', and ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' all play the trope fairly straight with a few character-based subversions.
* ''ComicBook/{{Tomahawk}}'': Tomahawk commanded a squad of guerrilla soldiers known as Tomahawk's Rangers.
* J Squad in ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow''.
* The Ins-and-Outs in ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment''
* Damocles Squad in ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake''
* ''Film/ThirtySecondsOverTokyo'', about the 1942 Doolittle Raid against Japan, focuses on the five-man crew of a single B-25 bomber. A five-man B-52 bomber crew. Lt. Lawson's the leader, the co-pilot likes to play poker, the bombardier is a home movie enthusiast, and Cpl. Thatcher is a hick from Montana who proves unexpectedly tough under pressure.
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