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Old 06-29-2013   #121
Fuchs
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I doubt the wisdom of company mortars.
I understand that platoon mortars ("commando" mortars) make a lot of sense (albeit 40mm MV is a good substitute) and battalion mortars (usually 120 mm) are very useful as well (especially if the larger calibre makes use of munition types which are not nearly as practical in 81.4 mm calibre).

Some reasons against Coy mortars:

(1) Company-level mortars burden the company leader with leading one more element (even though it's not necessarily marching separately).

(2) By range and field of fire company mortars are often (though not necessarily) not available for supporting other companies. This leads to lesser personnel efficiency than for Bn mortars.

(3) Company mortars need to be close to the infantry in contact and are less capable than Bn mortars to use shoot & scoot tactics for survival.

(4) Three batteries of Coy mortars are inevitably a greater ammunition resupply mess than two batteries of Bn mortars.

(5) Coy mortar batteries are hardly capable of carrying a satisfactory quantity of ammunition (more than 3 kg per 81.4 mm shot!) unless they employ pack animals, vehicles or porters (none of which is usually done, and all is more troublesome at the Coy level than Bn level).

(6) Radio calls for fire support are about as easily done to a Bn battery as to a Coy battery.

(7) Coy and Bn mortars often co-exist, and typically so in different calibres (81.4/82 and 120 mm). This de-standardises ammunition supply and adds to the logistical mess.

(8) Infantry-centric forces would often operate in a manner which keeps the Bn compact enough for centralised fire support. Bn mortar batteries could be split and dispersed to the companies during exceptions.

(9) Splitting Bn mortar fire support into three Coy mortar platoons and a Bn-level mortar unit also splits up the mortar employment competence. A more centralised mortar unit (mortar Coy at Bn level) allows for easier establishment and maintenance of a fine proficiency.

(10) Self-defence and 24/7 360° security is much easier done and much more affordable personnel-wise if the mortar personnel is more centralised.

(11) More emphasis on Bn-level mortars allows for more large calibre weapons (98 or 120 mm), and thus for more firepower that's helpful against difficult targets (AFVs, penetration of roofs).
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Old 06-30-2013   #122
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I doubt the wisdom of company mortars.
I understand that platoon mortars ("commando" mortars) make a lot of sense (albeit 40mm MV is a good substitute) and battalion mortars (usually 120 mm) are very useful as well (especially if the larger calibre makes use of munition types which are not nearly as practical in 81.4 mm calibre).
Fuchs

Have studied the above and other comments in Post 121 and agree with their general thrust. Similar to you my preference is that the principal mortars in a light infantry battalion are controlled (whenever practicable) by a battalion-level Fire Direction Centre in a Mortar & Fire Support Company.

However believe there are good reasons for organising such mortars into two or more sub-units. Such organisation firstly enables a battalion to have a mortar sub-unit firing or emplaced/ready to fire while its other mortar sub-unit(s) are moving in leap-frog or other manner. Secondly battalion can more readily detach a mortar sub-unit for a distant or free-standing task such as supporting a friendly unit or one of its own rifle companies operating in a quasi-independent role. For such distant tasks, that mortar sub-unit would have to include a small Fire Direction element to co-ordinate its fire in that role and also some forms of artillery/air support.

The weapons company in a USMC infantry battalion has or had its principal mortars organised in that general way: 70-man platoon with HQ and FDC squads plus two 27-man mortar sections each with a 3-man HQ and four 6-man 81mm mortar squads. Those 81mm mortars were complemented by each companies weapon platoon having a 10-man section armed with three M-224 60mm long barrel mortars.

Having initially supposed that each light infantry platoon should have its own 60mm short-barrel ‘Commando’ mortar it seemed appropriate to adapt the USMC battalion level organisation to provide both 81mm and 60mm long-barrel mortar fire. My use of the term platoon for a 4-tube mortar sub-unit may be confusing but it was adopted to distinguish a 40-man (initially proposed as 32-man) tactical entity from a 27-man section that has little more manpower than needed to operate its 4 mortars.

Two 4-tube platoons with 81mm mortars might be enough firepower for most light infantry battalions. But a third 4-tube platoon has attractive symmetry for support within the now usual 3-rifle company battalion. Also a 60mm-long barrel mortar and its bombs are easier to move and especially to manpack into difficult-to-reach locations. Hence the third mortar platoon proposed with 60mm long-barrel mortars, again as a 40-man subunit.

Realise that some commentators prefer 6-tube mortar sub-units and the redundancy of 3-tube sections. Others might insist on the need to standardise on either 81mm or less likely 60mm long-barrel. Believe that very few would propose 120mm smooth-bore mortars for a light infantry battalion and that none would propose 120mm rifled mortars. My compromise small army view is that a reinforced battalion group might well include one or other type of 120mm mortar but that such should be operated by an attached artillery sub-unit.
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Old 06-30-2013   #123
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However believe there are good reasons for organising such mortars into two or more sub-units. Such organisation firstly enables a battalion to have a mortar sub-unit firing or emplaced/ready to fire while its other mortar sub-unit(s) are moving in leap-frog or other manner.
Even platoons can be separated like that. Leap-frogging is probably a lesser reason for this need than the different range and bearing dispersion and the need to reach behind obstacles (hitting a street behind a large building, steep rear slope).

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Two 4-tube platoons with 81mm mortars might be enough firepower for most light infantry battalions.
I never quite understand why people pay attention to mortar tube quantities so much. Mortars can shoot at up to 16rpm, and electric laying systems even permit a fine accuracy at such a RoF.
The greater issue is in my opinion the ammunition supply. Even mechanised forces may be limited in their indirect fire support first and foremost by ammunition carried, not by tubes carried (since mechanised spearheads got to expect resupply only every 2nd day on average).
Infantry with more limited carrying capacity (especially in airborne / heliborne / mountain / swamp context) needs to look at ammo carried more than tubes as well. 81.4 mm mortars may be crew-portable, but their ammo is portable only in very restrictive quantities, even with a few mules.

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Realise that some commentators prefer 6-tube mortar sub-units and the redundancy of 3-tube sections. Others might insist on the need to standardise on either 81mm or less likely 60mm long-barrel. Believe that very few would propose 120mm smooth-bore mortars for a light infantry battalion and that none would propose 120mm rifled mortars.
120 mm rifled mortars can actually fire 120 mm smoothbore ammo and as far as I know their only real drawback is their higher weight.

120 mm has probably passed its prime since the cluster munitions ban (smaller calibres = more efficient in terms of fragmentation effect divided by ammo weight). It is nevertheless the standard calibre for almost all guided mortar munitions and thus a must-have for well-funded ground forces.


The challenge is as usual to get a long list of things right
* leader training
* technical personnel training
* grunt training
* training with vehicles
* security training
* qty of ammunitions in national stock
* quality and age of ammunitions
* signatures of propellants (smoke / flash)
* quality and reliability of fuses
* qty ammunitions carried
* composition of ammunitions carried (enough smoke!)
* resupply with ammunitions
* communications reliability - radio, cable
* communications prioritisation
* encryption/decryption/authorization
* spacing barrel-radio emitter-other personnel or shoot&scoot for survival
* observer training (not just dedicated forward observers)
* observer authority
* observer equipment
* qty of tubes
* heat transfer and thermal capacity of tubes
* tube laying system
* deconfliction rules
* RoE
* authorised personnel strength
* actual personnel strength
* sleep deprivation, sleep discipline
* anticipation of mortar support needs
* location of tubes relative to target, friendly troops/civilians and obstacles
* readiness / reaction lag
* nighttime effectiveness / illumination
* camouflage and concealment


The qty of tubes almost disappears in this list of important factors and is definitively not #1.
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Old 07-10-2013   #124
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My two cents as a former mortar man:

It is useful to use three or four mortars simutaneously, because it is often intended to hit suprisingly at the same time with as much as impact as possible. With four mortars you get in an aerea of 80x80 meters enough splitters to hit with a high percentage any uncovered target with 16 rounds. With just one mortar that doesn't work. So I recommend using more then one mortar at one time. That doen't apply for platoon mortars.

Mortars are simple and effective weapons, but normally need specialist operators and and a lot of ammunition. I would normally organise them on battalion level. For light infantry I would even on battalion level go for 60mm oder 81mm. There are different possiblities for organizing them, but I would group them, that always at least 2 mortars are always together, either in a section or platoon. It can be useful to detach a mortar section or platoon to a rifle company. The heavier the mortar the less like it is detached to a company.
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Old 01-31-2014   #125
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Default the squad and the section as different infantry sub-units

It’s past time to organize, describe and employ the squad and the section as different infantry sub-units.

The US Army has recently been reported to be considering reducing the size of its standard infantry squad from nine to eight or fewer. So this could be a useful time to review the nature and structure of the British-Canadian-Australian-New Zealand infantry 'section', the equivalent US Army 'squad' and the 50 percent larger USMC ‘squad’. Also more usefully a time to use the words squad and section to differentiate and employ each to mean a distinct type of infantry sub-unit.

Is there any good reason for the US Army to use the term squad to mean a 9-man infantry sub-unit composed of a squad leader and two 4-man fireteams while the USMC uses the term squad for a more capable 13-man sub-unit with a squad leader and three 4-man fireteams ? And is there any logical - as opposed to historical - reason for BCANZ armies to use the term section to mean their standard 8-man infantry sub-unit composed of two 4-man fireteams ?

A reader who considers the solution obvious could skip the next six paragraphs.

----------------
For much of the period from the 1950s and into the 1980s, a full-strength BCANZ section had 10 men: a 2-man scout group, section commander (usually a corporal), 3-man machine gun group (led usually by a lance corporal) and 4-man rifle group (which usually included another lance-coproral). The structure of that 10-man section was oriented toward movement and especially patrolling. The leader had to be a capable NCO. Also that section often needed more lift space and weight than was available in a single utility helicopter or a single armoured personnel carrier of that era. So for those and other reasons the structure was changed to provide a smaller, evenly balanced and more easily led sub-unit. Possibly to imply historical continuity or to deflect criticism, that smaller sub-unit was also confusingly referred to as a section.

Until recently the common BCANZ rifle section had at full strength two 4-man teams each with 3 riflemen and one LMG gunner. The section was/is commanded by a junior NCO - commonly a corporal - who also leads one of the teams. The other team is led usually by another junior NCO, typically a lance-corporal. That standard 8-man rifle section is nominally capable of concurrent fire and movement. Provided suitable fire positions are available for use as bounds the 4-man rifle teams may actually alternate between fire and movement. In other circumstances one team may move or manoeuvre - continuously or in rushes - forward, backward or sideways while the other team remains comparatively static and provides suppressive and destructive fire support from an overlooking or somewhat offset position.

The current US Army rifle squad also has two 4-man rifle teams – each having three riflemen and one LMG gunner - augmented by a squad leader (usually a sergeant) to form a 9-man sub-unit. Similar to the BCANZ section that 9-man squad is nominally capable of concurrent fire and movement but with the squad leader static or moving with one or other 4-man team each of which usually has a PFC as its leader.

If the US Army wanted to continue having a separate leader then the squad might reduce to 7 with two 3-man rifle fire teams. Alternatively a 7-man squad might have two dissimilar teams as does the French Army whose infantry sub-unit has a 300m rifle team and a 600m MG team. Elsewhere some German infantry is organized in 6-man squads. Those 6-man squads may be usually employed as indivisible fire teams but some division into two 3-man fire teams seems likely. One problem with small squads is that they tend to increase the counts of parent vehicles and vehicle crews. Fuchs for one is likely to regard 6-man squads as appropriate for panzer grenadiers but inappropriate for light infantry.

Finally there is the 8-man rifle squad which AusArmy has retained in its ‘Beersheba’ reorganization. The AusArmy infantry platoon now has a 4-man HQ, three rifle squads and a 12-man Manoeuvre Support Section (MSS) organized into three 4-man support weapon teams. The whole MSS can be employed together and led by the platoon sergeant. Alternatively one or more MSS weapon teams can be assigned one each to a rifle squad to form a rifle section(s). It that latter form the 40-man ‘Beersheba’ platoon resembles the 34-man rifle platoon of the 1960s which had three 10-man sections each with its own GPMG.

The next iteration of ‘Beersheba’ is likely to adopt an organization that even better satisfies and also balances the needs of fire and movement, and those of fire or movement. Such an organization could well extend the system of fours to become four 4-man rifle teams and four 4-man weapon teams variously combined to form four 8-man squads, or for example a squad and two 12-man sections.
---------------------

Generally it would seem useful for ABCA to have a consistent and readily understood system for describing infantry sub-units. A system that clearly and usefully delineates the differences could be arranged as follows:
buddy team: 2-man team
fire team: 3-man or 4-man rifle team (w or w/o LMG) or 3-man or 4-man support weapon team (eg: one or two MG and/or RCL/grenade/other launcher)
squad: two similar or dissimilar fire teams w or w/o separate leader (6 to 9 man)
section: three fireteams w or w/o separate leader (12 or 13 men), eg: squad plus attached rifle or support weapon fireteam.
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Old 07-27-2014   #126
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Originally Posted by tankersteve View Post
I like playing with MTOEs a bit, seeing how much more effectiveness I could generate (suitable for full-spectrum operations, sustainable in combat, etc) if I was in charge of the military for a day.

An Army mech platoon is often 40 or more men:

12 men to man the Bradleys
3x 9-man squads
PL, RTO, Medic

Theoretically, you can't fit that many dismounts in the back of the Bradley, but the 2 platoons I worked with in Iraq always had room for "1 more". Especially after a mission. And this was definitely a result of higher (division) really getting the platoons up to full strength (and even beyond) which caused one platoon sergeant to comment that he had never been in a full platoon before.

A typical Marine platoon would probably have similar numbers, although with much larger squads.

I am more inclined to go with Wilf's idea of multiple fire teams but I would like to align them in 2 sections. However, my platoon is 45 men, including the HQ element. I have 2 20-man sections, with 3 6-man squads/fire teams in each section and a small section HQ. Is 40+ men really too big for a platoon?

Tankersteve
The fire team is the basic building block of the squad. Army has two, Marines have three. In terms of the Bradley Platoon, it varies. The M2-A2 has a four 3-man crews (x4 vehicles) and carries 6-men per vehicle. This gives the platoon a total strength of x 36. With the A3 Bradley, it is basically the same, except that an extra man has been added, 7-men per vehicle which gives you a x 40 man platoon. The vehicle space doesn't actually support x 3 squads, only two with an additional 5-man team to serve as the platoon Base of Fire. The platoon FO is an important part of the unit as he is the primary shooter for the mechanized infantry. In a tank-heavy combined arms company task force, there's only going to be one Bradley Platoon and two Tank Platoons, so the larger x 40-man platoon is more conducive to infantry support for the tanks. a x 45-man platoon is good, in my humble opinion. Standard Rifle Platoons used to carry x 46-men. Now, in terms of standard infantry platoons with x 3 rifle squads and x 1 weapons squad, or x 36-men you add a platoon HQ's with the PL, PSG, RTO, x 2 FO' s, a medic, and x 4 engineers (to be attached to each squad) you get x 46-men. This gives you the wpns squad as a Base of Fire, two maneuver squads with an engineer/demo expert for breaching tasks, the platoon HQ's and a squad in tactical reserve providing security for the PHQ. Anything less will degrade the overall combat effectiveness and fire capability of the standard infantry platoon. There is no difference between this platoon and the Airborne except that one is jump certified and the other isn't. In terms of (non-Stryker) Light Infantry Platoons, you have a 9-man platoon HQ and three 9-man squads, which gives you a total strength of x 36. But "light fighters" are "infiltrators," so their mission task is not exactly to close with, capture, kill, or destroy the enemy by means of fire and maneuver like the standard or mechanized infantry. If we're talking light infantry, the smaller platoon is more desirable. Standard Infantry needs a larger platoon. Forty (40) men is not too big. It's a basic platoon organizational structure.

With all due respect, I don't see how a Bradley Platoon can be larger than x 40-men without adding an extra vehicle. It's difficult to see four Bradley's carrying x 45-men. I can see it if it is equipped with the M-113, because the Gavin carries 11-men, the dvr, TC, and a 9-man squad for a total of x 44-men, (you could probably squeeze an extra man in).

Last edited by novelist; 07-28-2014 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 07-28-2014   #127
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Default Gavin?!?!?

No such vehicle. There is the M113 APC, but no one is contemplating going back to them, as the Army is ready to phase them out.

This thread was started 5 years ago. Much of what you say does not seem current with how US Army infantry platoons are organized.

And I was talking about going to a 5-vehicle mech platoon.

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Old 07-28-2014   #128
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No such vehicle. There is the M113 APC, but no one is contemplating going back to them, as the Army is ready to phase them out.

This thread was started 5 years ago. Much of what you say does not seem current with how US Army infantry platoons are organized.

And I was talking about going to a 5-vehicle mech platoon.

Tankersteve
Oh, O.K. Sounds interesting. I wonder if tank platoons will go back to a 5-tank organization to match the 5-vehicle Bradley platoon. That is how Patton originally organized them as U.S. Tank Corps commander for the AEF in 1918, I think. That organization was in place as late as Vietnam. So returning to that original organization to match what you've told me seems logical. Although the M-1A2 bears the name of General Abrams, do you still think of them as "Patton's Tanks?" By the way, what is projected to replace the M-113? Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it. (The infantry organization I mentioned is Vietnam era.)

Last edited by novelist; 07-28-2014 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 07-31-2014   #129
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Default Paragraphs are your friend! :)

I am lost as to where your description of what IS ends, and your proposal of what SHOULD BE begins.

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The fire team is the basic building block of the squad. Army has two, Marines have three.
Yes, this is true. And both US services have a separate squad leader (which is NOT universal- the section leader in most Commonwealth armies is also the leader of one of the fire teams).

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In terms of the Bradley Platoon, it varies. The M2-A2 has a four 3-man crews (x4 vehicles) and carries 6-men per vehicle. This gives the platoon a total strength of x 36. With the A3 Bradley, it is basically the same, except that an extra man has been added, 7-men per vehicle which gives you a x 40 man platoon. The vehicle space doesn't actually support x 3 squads, only two with an additional 5-man team to serve as the platoon Base of Fire.
The Bradley-based mechanized infantry platoon HAS VARIED- there is only one standard US Army organization, and it was NOT based on the variant (as far as I know). Originally (early-mid 80s), the Bradley was part of the infantry squad, which was 9 men- 3 vehicle crew and 6 as part of the "dismount team". The platoon had 3 squads (27) plus a headquarters that consisted of PL, PSG, gunner, driver and RTO (32 total in the platoon, 12 vehicle crew and 20 "dismounts"= there may have been a "jump gunner" to allow both PL and PSG to dismount, but I'm not sure). This didn't last very long, and the decision was made to formally split the dismount element from the vehicle crews. The vehicle crews have remained 3/vehicle, but the dismounted element has changed. Initially, the 18 dismounts (after PL & RTO) were organized as 2 x 9-man squads (standard Army squads with SL + 2 x 4-man fire teams). Then, a 5-man (SL + 2 x 2-man MG team) weapons squad was added. Then, the change to the current organization of 3 x 9-man rifle squads was made in the early 00s. And, yes, there is a seating issue, no matter the model, with 27 men in rifle squads, plus PL, RTO, medic and FO (31) in 4 Bradleys.

Why do you need a dismounted "platoon Base of Fire" when you have 4 Bradleys with stabilized 25mm cannon, M240 co-ax MGs and TOW launchers? Dismounting 2 x M240s doesn't seem to bring much to the table.

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The platoon FO is an important part of the unit as he is the primary shooter for the mechanized infantry.
Yes and no- in fact, we didn't have platoons FOs in the mech infantry for a while because we used the spaces to fill additional COLT teams in the BDE. They are back now, but I think that their utility is limited. They are useful during dismounted operations, but limited during mounted operations. None of the platoon's Bradleys have a radio to support the Fires net, nor do they have a seat where the FO can see (unless you put him in the turret, which takes a member of the crew out of the direct fire fight). I think that we would be much better off to centralize the 36 platoon FOs in the Armor BCT (2/PLT x 3 PLTs/CO x 6 COs/BCT) and mount them in M7 BFISTs or M1200 Knights and provide the BCT CDR with 9 x 4-man mounted observer teams that he can task organize as required (in addition to the 12 x CO FISTs he already has to habitually associate with each company).

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In a tank-heavy combined arms company task force, there's only going to be one Bradley Platoon and two Tank Platoons, so the larger x 40-man platoon is more conducive to infantry support for the tanks. a x 45-man platoon is good, in my humble opinion.
Where did you get 45 men per platoon?

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Standard Rifle Platoons used to carry x 46-men. Now, in terms of standard infantry platoons with x 3 rifle squads and x 1 weapons squad, or x 36-men you add a platoon HQ's with the PL, PSG, RTO, x 2 FO' s, a medic, and x 4 engineers (to be attached to each squad) you get x 46-men. This gives you the wpns squad as a Base of Fire, two maneuver squads with an engineer/demo expert for breaching tasks, the platoon HQ's and a squad in tactical reserve providing security for the PHQ. Anything less will degrade the overall combat effectiveness and fire capability of the standard infantry platoon. There is no difference between this platoon and the Airborne except that one is jump certified and the other isn't.
Where did this organization come from? Is this your proposal?

Since 1993 (when I started hanging around the Army), the Airborne Infantry platoon has been the same- PL HQs with PL, PSG & RTO, with habitual attachments of a 2-man FO party and a medic; 3 x 9-man rifle squads as described above; and a 9-man weapons squad, with SL, 2 x MG, 2 x MG/AG, 2 x AT (Dragon, later Javelin) and 2 x AT/AB. The were earlier permutations, including a 10-man squad (with imbalanced fire teams, 1 x 4-man and 1 x 5-man, plus SL), and the weapons squad has varied. There have never, AFAIK, been Engineers organic to the Airborne Infantry platoon, although a squad or team from the brigade's habitual Engineer company could be task organized.

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In terms of (non-Stryker) Light Infantry Platoons, you have a 9-man platoon HQ and three 9-man squads, which gives you a total strength of x 36. But "light fighters" are "infiltrators," so their mission task is not exactly to close with, capture, kill, or destroy the enemy by means of fire and maneuver like the standard or mechanized infantry. If we're talking light infantry, the smaller platoon is more desirable. Standard Infantry needs a larger platoon. Forty (40) men is not too big. It's a basic platoon organizational structure.
The Light Infantry Division (not ABN/AASLT) that existed from 1984(ish) through 2005/2006 had 3 x 9-man rifle squads, 2 x 2-man MG teams and a PLT HQs with PL, PSG, RTO (34 total, with the habitual attachment of a 2-man FO party and a medic). The AT gunners were in a 13-man section in the company (Section leader + 6 x 2-man teams of AT and AT/AB)- the only difference between this organization and the ABN/AASLT was 2 NCOs (3 weapons squad leaders vs 1 AT section leader). Since 2005, the platoons in all Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) have been identical, following the ABN/AASLT organization described above- there is no more distinction between Light and ABN/AASLT.

Strykers are organized differently, but similarly to the Bradley, platoons. Strykers have 3 x 9-man squads, a weapons squad (which I have seen as variously 5 or 7 men), a PLT HQs and a vehicle section. Originally (99-00) the FO was organic, but I think we've fixed that, and there is always an habitual medic. I believe that the vehicle section is only 7 pax, because the PL and PSG are both vehicle commanders, but only one "jump VC" is provided, but I'm not sure. I am not as up on Stryker as I am on light (ABN/AASLT) and mech.

I disagree with your characterization of the mission of "light" infantry, but that is another discussion.

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With all due respect, I don't see how a Bradley Platoon can be larger than x 40-men without adding an extra vehicle. It's difficult to see four Bradley's carrying x 45-men. I can see it if it is equipped with the M-113, because the Gavin carries 11-men, the dvr, TC, and a 9-man squad for a total of x 44-men, (you could probably squeeze an extra man in).
So suddenly we are back to the mech platoon. I still don't see where you get 45 from- in my second paragraph, I showed you 31 dismounts (+ 12 vehicle crew) for 43. We know that there are only 7 seats/Bradley (x 4 = 28 in the platoon) for dismounts, so there are 3 personnel too many. I don't think there is an official solution for this, since full platoons are so rare, as pointed about by someone not too long ago.

Sorry for the long reply.
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Old 07-31-2014   #130
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Oh, O.K. Sounds interesting. I wonder if tank platoons will go back to a 5-tank organization to match the 5-vehicle Bradley platoon. That is how Patton originally organized them as U.S. Tank Corps commander for the AEF in 1918, I think. That organization was in place as late as Vietnam. So returning to that original organization to match what you've told me seems logical. Although the M-1A2 bears the name of General Abrams, do you still think of them as "Patton's Tanks?" By the way, what is projected to replace the M-113? Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it. (The infantry organization I mentioned is Vietnam era.)

Tankersteve was proposing a 5 x Bradley platoon in this thread- it is not under serious consideration in the Army. And no one is talking about 5 x tank platoons, either. That was the organization used until the M1 was fielded- extensive tests were conducted at FT Hood with 3-, 4- and 5- tank platoons- the Army decided that the increased capability of the M1 justified a reduction to 4 x tanks per platoon.

I'm a light/ABN guy, not a mech guy, but I've never heard anyone (in person or in writing) refer to US tanks generically as "Patton's Tanks"- I've heard the M48 & M60 series referred to as "Pattons"- usually by non-military people.

The Army is desperately trying to develop a replacement for the M113, with no success so far- both FCS and GCV programs were cancelled for budget reasons. I've seen proposals to put Strykers in some of the positions (which sort of works, for some of them) and developments of Bradley variants for some others (which generally cost too much). Now there is the JLTV program, which doesn't really work that well as an M113 replacement, either. I guess we'll see.
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