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Subject: New USMC Section organisation
interestedamateur    2/7/2006 9:53:06 AM
Some news in this weeks JDW regarding this. Main facts: - Infantry sections reduced to 12 men. - The spare 3 men are going to the platoon HQ unit to form a 2nd platoon HQ (under the Platoon Sergeant) so as to provide continuous 24 hr platoon C2. Aim is to allow dispersed operations over a wide area. - Each section will contain a rifleman who can call in close air support This looks sensible (a bit like a SOG A-team), but won't the fact that a section leader is now presumably part of a fire-team make his job much harder? The 1/3 Marines have already tested this concept in Iraq by the way.
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Carl S    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/7/2006 10:49:09 AM
"section leader is now presumably part of a fire-team make his job much harder?" Yes But then the "section" (say squad leader for correct nomenclature) has always had a tough job in the Marines. Anti tank teams, MG teams, engineer teams, a mortar observe, ect.. are frequently part of his load. Most company commanders astutly recognize theat the Lt & Plt Sgt are likely casualties, so the surviving squad leaders have to be ready to fill those billets. Judging from descriptions of combat in Falluja it looks like the traditional three man fire team is being treated as flexibly as it always has been in combat. In part his was due to squads running 2-5 men below TO, in part it was due to adapting to the squads tactical situation, which varied from one building to the next. I dont know what the current billet to rank match is, but historically there has been approx 50% of the squad leader billets filled by corporals with 2-4 years experince vs a a sergeant with the ideal 6+. I should not be suprised but I'm still am over how many of those 20 or 21 year olds can pick up that reponsibility and run with it.
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Carl S    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/8/2006 9:20:25 AM
In the latest issue of the Marine Corps Gazette there is a artical proposing a reorg. of the entire rifle company down to the squad/team.. The Infantry officer who wrote it proposes the reorg to deal with the related problems of COIN warfare and training/assimilating unskilled or semi skilled infantry attached to the Marine rifle company. The author proposed removing one four man fire team from each squad. Part of this mapower would be used to form a fourth manuver platoon. The remainder used to strengthen the supportin teams, SMAW, MG, scout, ect... The missing fire team in each squad would be made up in part by increasing the available attachements from the support pool, and by pluging in teams or squads of the training attachement (Iraqi soldiers). I suspect the authors proposal is drawn primarily from experince with a similar arraignment in Iraq.
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interestedamateur    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/8/2006 2:14:39 PM
Hi Carl There appears to have been a lot of discussion in the USMC about the Rifle squad. The link below is for an article which was also in the USMC gazette that suggested that all of the SAWs in the platoon be united into a support section.
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Carl S    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/8/2006 4:01:03 PM
Thats not a uncommon technique. The author goes overboard by proposing a permanent reorg. For general flexibility you are better off spreading the weapons amoung the teams. If you've trained the squad properly it is easy enough to reposition the LMG to fit the situation. Looking over the AAR from Falluja it appears the most common choice was two LMG covering the building exterior in one team and the other with the two teams entering the building compppound. But keeping all the LMG outside was also frequently done, and if there were MMG available for exterior coverage then all the LMG might be part of the assualt group.
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Carl S    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/8/2006 4:09:40 PM
What you are really seeing here is a return to the flexibility combat invariably demands. The four man team with a autorifle or LMG that eveloved in WWII was a starting point for the battles in WWII & Korea. Not a rigid standard. In Viet Nam it was nearly abandoned and I did not see it truly revived as a real tactical organization until the SAW came on board in the mid 1980s. There has been a large variation & experimentation over the last ninety years of the Marine Corps. The large three team squad has proved the most flexible basis. Recombining from three to two elements seems to be easier than spitting two to three.
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ambush    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/9/2006 9:27:44 AM
Would like to see a breakdown as to who is doing what in this new platoon/squad organization. If each section is now going to have a trained FO is he going to be equipped as such (Lazer/GPS designators etc?) Used to be every squad leader was trained to call-n-adjust. Is each squad doing with one less rifleman or FT leader?
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longrifle    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/9/2006 1:57:02 PM
"The author proposed removing one four man fire team from each squad." GASP! Do you realize that a Marine Corps officer just advocated an Army rifle squad TOE? Sorry Marines, I just couldn't let that one pass!
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Carl S    RE:New USMC Section organisation   2/9/2006 7:42:41 PM
"GASP! Do you realize that a Marine Corps officer just advocated an Army rifle squad TOE? " Yeah, they probably have buried hm in a unmarked grave, so it wont be desecrated. Actually it is not the first time. In the early 1980 a two team squad was actually fielded. 3/6 converted to that organization for a couple years. Dont know what other battalions were also converted. Abruptly in 1984 the conversion was stopped and we went back to large squads.
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Carl S    RE:Splitting Hairs?   2/9/2006 10:05:35 PM
Gen Gray, a veteran of the Korean & Viet Nam war once became impatient with a niggling discussion of infantry unit composition. He terminated it with the remark: "I never saw a hill captured by a TO platoon." His point being after a few hours or days of combat the rifle units are going to have enough casualties that the finer nuances of organization become irrelevant.
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interestedamateur    RE:Splitting Hairs?   2/10/2006 11:22:41 AM
If forces begin to practice "distributed operations" more where infantry sections might be miles away or more from their platoon HQ's, then I would imagine that 12 men would offer significant advantages over 8.
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