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Old 20 Apr 12, 20:34
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New USMC TO&E?

It was brought up in the M27 thread about changing the TO&E of the Marine platoon or squad to better address lessons learned from recent time, and to integrate new weapons and tactics. In the interest of not derailing that thread totally, I made this one.

The question is simple:

With the Platoon staying under 60 men, the Company under 200, what force structure would you institute for a general 'infantry' unit, and why?

On the lowest level your men have M4s, M16A4s, M9s, M27s, M249s, M240Gs, AT4s, M203s, and Javelin ATGMs at their disposal. Anything heavier or more specialized than that can be pulled from the US inventory or the inventory of any NATO nation. The only caveat is that for some semblance of uniformity, and to prevent the debate devolving into primary rifleman weapon issues....this is for a hypothetical "USMC" infantry unit. Therefore the primary 'rifleman' weapon MUST be a variant of the M16 system (M16, M4, M27, etc.).

Oh, right, and this is an "infantry" unit. Meaning primarily Leg based. Tanks and true APCs or IFVs or Helos not allowed as a part of the unit TO&E....trucks and the like are allowed. That's just to level the field a bit.

If there's enough participation and debate, maybe we can work up a poll and see a winner. No serious submission will be refused (T-rex riders with lightsabers don't count).

For a quick reminder, the basic squad structure is currently:

Squad Leader
3 x Fire Teams (Rifleman, Leader, AR Gunner, Asst. AR)

And a platoon is made up of 3 Squads.

Of course you can do whatever you please.......
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  #2  
Old 21 Apr 12, 00:01
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I think that we will end up staying with the current T/O. This supports what we had in the late 80's until 9/11 in regards to the end strength numbers....exactly where we will be from the current draw down.

We were doing some advanced concepts for the future T/O back in 2004-2006 time frame called 'Distributed Operations' (DO):

http://www.marines.mil/unit/tecom/mc...Operations.pdf

After numerous configurations, the best results were from the current T/O but additional comm assests. One issue that we weren't able to address was the JTACs....we need a helluva lot more and the current requirements with number of CAS missions is not possible because of aircraft/budget/munitions. We are working heavy on the simulation side of the house but in the long run...if ya ain't calling ord on target.....ya ain't qualified as a JTAC.

We had a Battalion that was configured for DO and ran them through numerous countries in Sub Saharan Africa after completing a massive work up at the stumps.....they did well but there was room for improvement.

I'm thinking that we will end up breaking DO out of the cargo pocket and making it the standard capabilities for the Infantry units.

Last edited by Nichols; 28 Dec 12 at 17:44..
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Old 21 Apr 12, 00:34
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I do not see a need for to much change. But some new weapons could added. Eg heavy weapons, comms, sharp shoots)

I would add a 4th fire team
(Leader, security(rifle man)1st specialist, second specialist.

This way you can bring heavier fire power down to platoon level and make it mission depended. You can switch out the 4th fire team to what type is needed and remove it completely if needed. Here are some ideas for the 4th fire team.


Leader. Rifle, 60mm commando mortar gunner, loader.

Leader, rifle, LMG gunner, loader

Leader, rifle, FAC (for CAS or artillery), spotter

Leader, rifle, corpsman, corpsman (medical team could be at company level)

Leader, rifle, rocket(ATG, stinger extra) spotter, loader(again at company level.


Extra extra
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Old 21 Apr 12, 06:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacCovert4 View Post
With the Platoon staying under 60 men
Is this serious or a typo? 60 men?

Also- are we discussing all around designation or specifics? (i.e Urban vs. Mechanized, facing insurgents vs. regulars etc.)
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Old 21 Apr 12, 10:49
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Yes, Golani, I was being serious on the 60 men. It should be larger than most average platoons, and I did it on purpose so that people could play with the TO more without being so overly restricted. You don't have to go to that number, it's only an upper limit.

As for the type, it's a generalist "Infantry" unit without mechanization or air-assault elements. I did leave the door wide open in motorization if you so choose.
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Old 21 Apr 12, 11:13
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I would change one fire team in the 13 man squad to a M-240 team. That way you don't need two at Platoon level. I am not sure what is currently in the Heavy Weapons squad so I won't go there. Three 13 man Rifle Squads, a Plt CO and a Plt Sgt, only makes 41 out of 60 men. That makes one big squad left over!

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Old 21 Apr 12, 11:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacCovert4 View Post
Yes, Golani, I was being serious on the 60 men. It should be larger than most average platoons, and I did it on purpose so that people could play with the TO more without being so overly restricted. You don't have to go to that number, it's only an upper limit.

As for the type, it's a generalist "Infantry" unit without mechanization or air-assault elements. I did leave the door wide open in motorization if you so choose.
In which case, here's my first draft:

4X14 Men squads.

Each squad is 3X4 Men fire teams. I'm not comfortable with the micro resolution of how to equip each FT, but it's possible only 1 of the 3 would have an AR (preferably along the lines of the 249, not the new IAR), 1 of the remaining 3 could possibly field the 240 or similar, 3rd would be light. At least one FT needs to be light, SL+assistant.

That leaves the PL+ assistant/RTO/runner/whatever you want to call it, same goes for Sgt+ assistant. Maybe it's my own little screw up- but out smallest unit of operations is a 2 men team, never an individual, its significantly more effective and it especially reduces the chance for kidnaps, which is a real problem for us.

This gives us a total of 52 men in a platoon (4 squads, 3 FT each, FT=4 men, 48 men+ 2 men PL and Sgt.=52)

Now, the kicker is that every squad has a different specialization, these are TBD's (IDF does that on the company level, but not to a sufficient level I feel), i.e each squad would have specialized training and extra/special equipment that are relevant for a more narrow spectrum of operations.

As an example- Platoon is now entering MOUT, squad A which is designated for urban warfare becomes the leading squad, since it has received more specialized training in CQB and is better equipped (more breaching tools/charges, no M-240 to slow it down and with which one is unable to clear rooms, etc.).

Platoon is set for open terrain infantry warfare, squad B switches all AR's to M-240's, all DMR's switch weapons/optics for longer ranges, possibly 1 FT hauls a 60mm mortar, etc Platoon now has organic long range bounding overwatch with 3 lighter maneuvering squads.

When 1 squad (out of the 4) operates withing it's "special" designation, all remaining 3 must default to their "regular" infantry status.
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Old 27 Apr 12, 07:40
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I thought I would post this has a look how the SANDF sets up. Note non of this is my work I got it from SAAF Forums.


Battalion Headquarters [7 officers, 39 soldiers]

Battalion Commander (Lieutenant Colonel)

2nd-in-Command (Major)

Regimental Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 1)



Unit Staff

US 1 Personnel

US2 Intelligence/Security

US3 Operations/Training

US4 Logistics

US5 Finance



Battalion Headquarters Platoon [2 officers, 62 soldiers]

Sniper Section

Protection Section

Reconnaissance Section

Observation Section

Regimental Police Section



Attached elements

Light Workshop Troop [1 officer, 18 soldiers]

Signals Troop [1 officer, 18 soldiers]

Medical Platoon [x officers, x soldiers]



Rifle Company (x 3) [5 officers, 137 soldiers]

Headquarters [2 officers, 22 soldiers]

Company Commander (Major)

2nd-in-Command (Captain)

Company Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 2)

Company Sergeant Quartermaster (Staff Sergeant)

Mortar section [0 officers, 10 soldiers]

Headquarters [0 officers, 4 soldiers]

Section commander (Sergeant)

Detachment (x 3) [0 officers, 2 soldiers] {3 x 60mm M4 Patrol Mortar}

Platoon (x 3) [1 officer, 35 soldiers]

Headquarters [1 officer, 5 soldiers]

Platoon Commander (Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant)

Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant)

Section (x 3) [0 officers, 10 soldiers] {1 x GPMG, 9 x R4 AR}

Section Leader (Corporal)

Machine Gun Group

Section 2nd-in-Command (Lance Corporal)

Machine Gun Number 1

Machine Gun Number 2

Rifle Group

Rifleman Number 1

Rifleman Number 2

Rifleman Number 3

Rifleman Number 4

Rifleman Number 5

Rifleman Number 6





Support Company

Headquarters [2 officers, 4 soldiers]

Quartermaster Platoon [1 officer, 11 soldiers]

Transport Platoon [1 officer, 9 soldiers]

Catering Platoon [0 officers, 16 soldiers]

Antitank Platoon [5 officers, 64 soldiers]

Headquarters

Group (x 4) [1 officer, 15 soldiers]

Recoilless Gun Section {1 x M40A1 106mm recoilless gun}

Missile Section {1 x MBDA Milan ADT3 antitank guided missile launcher}

Assault Pioneer Platoon [1 officer, 36 soldiers]

Headquarters

Section (x 3)

Machine Gun Platoon [1 officer, 41 soldiers]

Headquarters

Section (x4) {1 x Browning 12.7mm HMGi, 1 x Denel Y3 AGLii}

Mortar Platoon [5 officers, 103 soldiers]

Headquarters

Section (x 4)

Headquarters

Detachment (x 2) {2 x M3 81mm mortars}



Notes

The organisation of the motorised, mechanised, internal security, air assault and parachute infantry battalions are broadly similar, the mechanised battalion lacking a machine gun platoon in the support company and the internal security battalion lacking the same as well as other support weapons (mortars, antitank weapons and assault pioneers).

A battalion musters about 34 officers, 776 men, or 810 all ranks.

A company has nine rifle sections.

A battalion has nine rifle platoons and 27 rifle sections.

A battalion has at its disposal eight M3 81mm mortars, 27 M4 60mm patrol mortars, six infantry antitank guns (M40A1 or Ratel 90), six antitank guided missile launchers (MBDA Milan ADT3 or Ratel ZT3), four Browning 12.7mm HMG and four Denel Y3 AGL (not in the mechanised infantry), 27 7.62mm GPMG and nine RPG7 rocket propelled grenade launchers (one per rifle platoon).

The number of vehicles is dependent on the type of unit and role. A parachute or air assault battalion deployed by air will largely be dependent on the 104 LMT Gecko airborne amphibious 8x8 light rapid deployment logistic vehicles assigned to 44 Parachute Regiment. The number deployed will depend on the airlift available. By some accounts the F-Echeloniii should include 88 A-Vehiclesiv, but the numbers can be higher. In September 2008 the motorised 5 SAI Bn deployed 113 Casspir armoured personnel and weapon carriers to a force preparation exercise (Seboka) and the mechanised 8 SAI Bn deployed 107 Ratels. The Av- and Bvi-Echelons, fully mobilised, can muster up at least another 90 B-Vehiclesvii of various types. For Seboka 5 SAI deployed an under-strength combined echelon of 41 logistics trucks, pantries, diesel and water bunkers, mobile showers and recovery vehicles. 8 SAIís echelonís mustered 38 vehicles.

Ref: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?o ... Itemid=159

http://justdone.co.za/saffer/index.php?title=61_Mech
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Old 27 Apr 12, 13:53
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Go to a system of base fours instead of threes for greater depth and flexibility. So four rifle platoons and a weapons platoon.

The rifle platoons should have four base infantry elements (BIE). The platoon leader can also expect to pick up attachments from the weapons platoon so the platoon leader might have five or six elements. That's a lot but it should be remembered that not all of them are likely to be in the firefight at once. One or two elements are likely to be held in reserve.

The BIE will be the maximum number of men that can be controlled by one leader. The BIE moves and fights as one unit and does not split itself into sub-elements. So the BIE can fire or manuever but it can not fire and manuever; i.e., it does not send a few troops off to attack from another direction. This makes the training of BIE leaders easier, which can be important in extended combat when a lower ranking, less experienced troop often has to step up and fill in.

This will work. Examples of it working is the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the average U.S. Army rifle platoon in Vietnam. The Army squad of that era was supposed to be 11 men (two fire teams of five plus a squad leader) but squads were often too understength to use fire teams. Instead, the squads were more or less big fire teams: many vets remember a "squad" made up of an M-60, an M-79, and a handfull of riflemen, one who was acting as the "squad" leader and another who was acting as an AG.

In his book Platoon Leader, James McDonough writes of taking over a platoon made up of six man "squads" as a new lieutenant. Something similar was alluded to in the novel The 13th Valley. So it's been done by default many times. I'm just saying the idea could be codified. It will work but I don't know if there's any real advantage to it over the current system.

That should provide enough controversy to get the conversation going.
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Old 27 Apr 12, 18:43
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I like the BIE concept as operational doctrine for Platoon Leaders Course (for use after taking casualties) or for more specialized units (Rangers, Recon, and the like). The big plus of having a variable BIE rather than a set Fire Team or Squad is that you tailor the size of the BIE to the situation....open field, larger BIEs, urban or mountain, smaller BIEs in larger numbers.

However, I don't know how such a radical change would work for your line battalions, as they tend to need more administrative structure for homeside duties.

My suggestion would be as follows:

Platoon (59 men total):

Command/Weapons Squad (14 Men Total):

(All men armed with M-4s as personal weapons)
1 x M1151 HMMWV (Scout/Command)
1 x M1152 HMMWV (Cargo/Mortar Carrier)

Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant (SSgt), Squad Sergeant
1 x Javelin ATGM system (or SMAW system), LCpl, Pvt.
1 x 60mm Mortar, Cpl, 2 x Pvt-LCpl.
2 x M240G 7.62mm MMG, 1xCpl, 3xPvt-LCpl.
1 x Platoon Designated Marksman (7.62mm Rifle) PFC-Cpl.
1 x Platoon Communications Specialist PFC-Cpl.

Notes: The Weapons Squad functions as weapons, comm, and organic reinforcement for the Platoon. Weapons that aren't needed for the mission can be left at base and personnel utilized as additional riflemen for the platoon. Comm Specialist is more than a basic radioman, he also has training in tactical air control and is equipped (when applicable) with a laser designator or other devices. PDM would be infantry trained, then sent to a course training him for the shooting aspects of sniper school, moving past the scout/recon/survival portions, preparing him to utilize a 7.62mm semi-automatic precision rifle as a "platoon level sniper". Since this is a 'perfect' system, I also attached as organic assets two HMMWV. One a cargo model to haul platoon gear too bulky for humping, or to function as an ammo or mortar carrier, the other a standard uparmored variant to use as a scouting or command vehicle for the platoon, and capable of being armed with either one of the MGs from the Weapons Squad, or replacing one of the Weapon Squad MGs with an M2 .50 cal or Mk19 40mmGMG.

3 x Infantry Squad (45 men total):
(unless denoted otherwise, all are armed with M-4 or M16A4 rifles)
Squad Leader
Squad Grenadier (M32 Multi-shot GL)
Squad Designated Marksman (5.56mm DMR)

1st Fire Team:
Rifleman
Team Leader (+M203)
Automatic Rifleman (M27)
Rifleman

2nd Fire Team:
Rifleman
Team Leader (+M203)
Automatic Rifleman (M27)
Rifleman

3rd Fire Team:
Rifleman
Team Leader (+M203)
LMG Gunner (M249)
Asst. Gunner

Notes: Just as the Weapons/Command Squad gives the Platoon Commander a variety of organic systems that he otherwise would not have (MMGs, Mortars, Missiles, Sniper), the goal of the revised squad is to push capability downward yet again. The Squad leader would have a mini-weapons element, consisting of an M32 gunner with the 8 shot revolving 40mm Grenade Launcher, and a designated marksman, armed with an accurized and scoped variant of the M16, and trained in the role of marksman (with requisite specialized marksmanship training). The Fire teams would combine the still-useful with the new. In each squad two fire teams would be more assault oriented, with the new and faster M27 automatic rifle, while the third team would be built around the venerable M249 system, balancing movement with ability to suppress.

Conclusion:

In light of the overall reduction of troop numbers on todays battlefield, and the expectation that those numbers will continue to drop in the future, I have designed a TO&E around the Platoon, rather than the Company or Battalion, as the main element. Instead of keeping the platoon light and rifle-oriented, and saddling the company with a Weapons Platoon, or the Battalion with a Weapons Company which is then broken up to provide individual augments to line platoons, I have made the platoon heavy, with its own organic Weapons Squad, giving the PC instant, fluid, and synchronous supporting arms. Medium Machine Guns and light HE support are at his fingertips, along with the ability to deploy specialized AntiTank or Assault rocket systems and direct Tactical Air with a higher degree of efficiency than current unaugmented infantry platoons.

The Squad Leader also receives an increase to his command element, with his own light HE support and marksman which can either augment an individual team, or be used to support the entire squad with precision or suppressive fires. The Squad balances the sustained suppression of a true Machine Gun, with the room-clearing maneuverability of an Automatic Rifle.

As a final tip to the effectiveness of trained sharpshooters in the number of low intensity conflicts, the platoon boasts 4 specially trained and equipped marksmen for both supporting the main effort of the platoon, and for situations where a few targets taken out at long range prevent the platoon from having to become embroiled in a wider engagement.

Overall, I strongly believe that a platoon trained and operating together as a cohesive element, with all basic support elements integral, will find more effective methods of accomplishing a mission, and execute them more fluidly and with better result, than a platoon which is augmented with similar individual elements from battalion level prior to a mission.
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Old 27 Apr 12, 19:23
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KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100] KRJ has demonstrated strength of character [100]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TacCovert4 View Post
In light of the overall reduction of troop numbers on todays battlefield, and the expectation that those numbers will continue to drop in the future, I have designed a TO&E around the Platoon, rather than the Company or Battalion, as the main element.
And maybe the platoon should be the focus. But does the way you did it put too much on a new 2nd Lieutentant's plate? Might want to make the platoon commander a 1st Lieutenant and create an assistant platoon commander position for 2nd Lieutenants so they could apprentice before taking over a platoon.

Also, if the platoon is to be the focus might it not be better to push the MAGTF concept down to that level?

I think you would need to create a Marine Expeditionary Something-or-other (The MES, LOL. Remember you heard it here first!) with the usual Command, Ground, Aviation, and Logistics elements. It would be commanded by a Major or Captain with a platoon as the ground combat element. I realize that such a small unit won't get an aviation slice in the usual sense but the unit might have its own UAVs of some sort and the platoon commander can't be busy with their employment and leading his platoon at the same time.
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Last edited by KRJ; 27 Apr 12 at 23:17..
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