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.
There are quite a few similarities with the types and roles of the Command Roster. The main difference is the Command Roster is a very specific combination of skills that may not be strictly military. The Squad may be a Badass Crew and have a Squad Nickname. If it's made up of women, it's an example of an Amazon Brigade.
The trope's inspiration comes from the fireteam and squad units of infantrymen. Such a setup possibly first appeared in The Napoleonic Wars, 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 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 The Napoleonic Wars was "black powder" that would quickly fill a battlefield with thick smoke, which made firing accurately difficult. It was not until World War 1, where breech-loading rifles using smokeless powder had become commonplace, that the average infantryman became far more accurate and quick-firing. Throwing in the 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.
Has nothing to do with the quartet of Congresswomen comprising of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Presley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib who are often called "the Squad".
Some of those character types and roles:
- The Leader, who might be of several different types. If the leader is an Officer and a Gentleman, expect a Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough relation with a Sergeant Rock.
- The shooter, often a
- One or more technical "Smart Guy" who can take any or all of the following roles:
- The Medic (sometimes another variant of The Smart Guy), sometimes as a Combat Medic
- A charismatic smooth talker
- The Big Guy
- The Point Man
- The Veteran
- New Meat
- The Quiet One
- Sad Clown
- Southern-Fried Private
- The Squadette
- Token Adult
If the story follows the characters through boot camp, or specialized training, expect to see Drill Sergeant Nasty make an appearance. If the story follows them after the war, expect at least one Shell-Shocked Veteran.
- Any comics featuring Team X, a squad during the Cold War that featured Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Maverick, among others (memory implants and alterations by their employers make the exact roster, especially at any one point in time, uncertain).
- Tomahawk: Tomahawk commanded a squad of guerrilla soldiers known as Tomahawk's Rangers.
Films — Live-Action
- Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, 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.
- Eastern Condors: Over the course of the film, the Boxed Crooks gradually transform from being a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into The Squad.
- The Gold Eagle Books action-adventure series of the 1980s features SOBS—Soldiers of Barrabas, a mercenary unit secretly employed by the US Government, and the anti-terrorist groups Phoenix Force and Able Team.
- X-Wing Series: both Rogue and Wraith Squadrons, though Wraith Squadron features more ground/Special Operations missions.
- General Chaos, which makes players choose between four different squad types.
- Medal of Honor: