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Subject: Small Squad (Army) vs Big Squad (Marines)
LANCER2    1/2/2014 3:17:57 AM
I am currently the executive officer of a constitutional militia. My friend and commanding officer just recently got discharged from the marines after 6 years of honorable service so his mindset is geared far more towards the marine corps squad formation/size. He said he wanted a 17 man squad (1 squad leader and 4 fireteams). His thought on it is that more guns and bodies so to deal with the possibility of casualties during a possible hostile situation. My respects to the Marine Corps, but I cannot see how a marine squad leader can maintain control over a squad of 13 - 17 men. My friend/commanding officer said with the proper training that anyone can lead that amount of men, however I find this unlikely since the ordinary person can only issue orders one at a time, even if you have team leaders to assist the squad leader in leading their fireteams and thus the squad as a whole, that's 4 separate orders you'd have to issue. Scientists have proven that people weren't meant to multi-task. I agree with his sentiment but I believe the idea of a 17 man squad to be too unwieldy and inflexible for just one person to lead. My idea with the 9 man squad is that there would be two 9 man squads that fall under the leadership of a section leader, a section that has 19 men altogether (1 section leader and 2 squads who in turn have 2 fireteams under both of their leadership). To me this can be more flexible, mission-orientated. My friend/commanding officer thinks that the fact that we have another two leaders between the section leader and team leaders would be a hinderance. I can see some points of that, but the pros outweigh the cons to me in this situation. With the 19 man section you can delegate the proper amount of man-power to the specific mission you have in mind with a dedicated leader to that squad alone instead of choosing one of the fireteam leaders as acting squad leader, you can divide a 19 man section up instead of sending a whole 17-man squad to an engagement. He has stated that you could always just send two fireteams if that were the case and make one of them the acting squad leader. I however believe that this would overtax the team leader's capabilities that is acting as squad leader, it would mentally take him out of his fireteam every time he has to make a decision regarding to the rest of his half of the squad (the 2 fireteams), and it is already difficult enough to lead a squad, but a squad and your own fireteam at the same time? My main question is which would serve us, our militia better? This question is open to all to answer. Please point out all points to your thoughts on this. Thanks guys.
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JFKY    Your friend is right   1/2/2014 12:38:55 PM
1) We'll just leave "constitutional militia" in abeyance.
2) Span of command is generally 3-5.
3) Your friend has a span of command of 4
4) You're not commanding 16 men, you are commanding 4 FIRE TEAMS, the team leaders are commanding individuals
5)  "Sections" usually appear at the platoon, not squad level...a "section" is 2-3 squads, within a PLATOON.
6) Squad size is a function of mission, equipment and the like.  If you are using motorized transport, your squad size is strongly influenced by what carries it and how pricey it is.....Furniture vans, pretty cheap, carry lots of "militiamen" handily and cheaply....Bradley IFV, very would take 3 Bradley's to carry your squads, ditto the UH-60.  If your militia is just walking around being 'constitutional' well then shoes are cheap and a larger squad is not a bother.
7) There is NO "perfect" squad/platoon/...Corps size....there are force structures that meet your military, at an acceptable economic cost and those that don't.  Nigerian peace-keepers need a different force structure than US Army structured to fight the PLA.
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WarNerd       1/3/2014 5:24:49 AM
The Marine Corp must agree with you because the standard squad is 13, not 17, with 3 fire teams of 4.  This way the span of control is 3 at each level -- the squad leader commands each of the 3 fire team as a unit, the fire team leader commands the 3 members of team.
Adding 2 more leaders just makes you unit a half-platoon with 2x9 man squads, the same size as the Army uses. Expect it to be treated as such.
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