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Subject: Fireteam leader and M203
bravoss    11/14/2006 6:44:37 AM
whats the role of a fireteam leader.yeah yeah i know he is supposed to lead the squad but can someone explain with bit more details? and as far as i know in basic usmc squad the leader carries M203 attached to his rifle. how much is that rule flexible,can he give it to his teammate(rifleman for example) if the teammate is better with it or teamleader doesnt like it ?
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longrifle       11/14/2006 6:42:19 PM
I can't answer for the Marine Corps but an Army light infantry fire team leader leads his fire team from the front.  He's normally a rifleman with fire team leader responsibilities but he can be a grenadier.  I saw it done both ways.  The idea behind making the team leader a grenadier is that the team leader should be marking targets for the rest of the team. 

The fire team leader position calls for a Sergeant/E-5 but lots of times an E-4 will be "Acting Jack."  If the team leader is an E-4 he might be a "Hard Striper" or Corporal instead of Specialist.

The fire team leader usually has his fire team in a wedge formation with himself at the point of the wedge.  He might also have his fire team on line or in column, with himself in the middle of a line formation or at the point of a column.

Each member of the fire team should give a glance toward the team leader every few seconds during movement.  If he halts, they halt.  If he's on one knee, they're on one knee, etc.  He can control his team with verbal commands or hand and arm signals but in the absence of intructions the rule of thumb is "Follow me and do as I do!"

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Carl S       11/14/2006 7:15:30 PM
No the FT leader leads a sub team of the squad.  Usually the USMC squad is based on a thriteen man T/O, one squad leader and three four man fire Teams teams.  However other configurations are used, and in combat the exact configuration is varied to deal with the tactical situation.  The fire team is usually centered on a automatic weapon.  In the 1940s & 50s a Browning Automatic Rifle, then in the 1960s a M14 with full auto selector and a bipod, then a M16 with a bipod, and from the 1980s the M240 SAW.

The general idea is this gives the squad flexibility in establishing a base of fire.   Of course with the three BAR it gave the USMC squad a lot more fire power than its peers in other armys.  Later with the advent of assualt rifles like the AK47 & M16 the automatic weapon firepower became less important. Still there is a an advantage in having specfic members of the squad drilled in providing a base of fire for the others,  and the current SAW is a real LMG.  The nine SAW in a USMC platoon make it more of a MG platoon than a rifle unit.

The M203 originally replaced the M79 grenade launcher in the 1970s.  Both were issued at one per squad in the 1960s & 70s.  In the 1980s the number was boosted to three per squad.   Intially the team rifleman carried the M203 but most of us never liked that and giving it to the assistant automatic rifleman did not seem right either.  Eventually the team leader proved best for using the grenade launcher.  One tactic we practiced was having the forward team leaders fire a smoke or illumination round to mark enemy positions for the rest of the squad & platoon.

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bravoss       11/19/2006 6:00:51 PM
thanks for answers to both of you,it was useful.
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Carl S       11/19/2006 6:53:37 PM
What led to the question?
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