The ANZAC Rifle Company had the following organisation (a few experiments by different battalions being the exception):
1.0 Company HQ
The CSM normally took overall responsibility for the Support Section with routine work being supervised by the Corporal.
Note- these weapon guidelines are pretty flexible- I've seen photo's of
CHQ where M-79's, M-16's and even shotguns are visible (see ANZAC
The following may accompany the Company HQ;
2.0 Rifle Platoon
The three rifle platoons had the following organisation:
Each man carried at least two M-26 (earlier No.36 Mills) fragmentation grenades. Typically there would be two to four Claymores (as well as a couple in each of the Pltn HQ, Coy HQ and Support Section) and, when available, up to 5 x M-72 per section as well. There were also a number of coloured and white phosphorous smoke grenades carried. For ambushes, some patrols and other tasks the weapons could be modified (eg extra M-60 or more M-16).
However, the section strengths were depleted for many reasons and the above perfect case was probably rare, first to go was generally the No3 Rifleman, then the No2 Rifleman.
Dallas Gavin wrote;
3.0 Back at base
Sections 1.0-2.0 was the strength of the Company when on operational work away from base. However, remaining back at base were the following;
LOBD's (left on base defence); those taken from the Platoons and left at base to defend the Company perimeter. These people were also supplemented by those who were recovering from injury/illness.
The RAR Battalion was organised with four Rifle Company's, a Support Company and an Admin Company. The Support Company varied but generally had all of the following;
There could also be any of the following:
There was also a Signals Platoon that provided Company HQ, Battalion
HQ and rear echelon signals.
Dallas Gavin wrote;
Bob Buick, MM, has pointed out the following;
Dallas Gavan wrote;
Another Australian Veteran wrote;
I was in B Company of 7RAR on its second tour of Vietnam.
I served in Support Section attached to CHQ. There were 8 of us and we carried 3 x armalites; 2 x M60 machine guns; and 3 x SLR's. We were the most heavily armed Section in the Company. On operation we were mainly attached to CHQ, often being its sole defence when the Platoons were on independent patrolling. On these occasions we would harbour up in very heavy jungle. Compared to the Platoons we had it fairly easy - I often wondered why and found out when the Company first hit bunkers. We were ordered to spearhead the attack - very scary business. When we were working out of either Nui Dat or the Horseshoe we would conduct independent ambushing every second night.
Our Stretcher Bearers were our own. Many of us did a 2 week Stretcher Bearer's course - 1 week in-house at Holsworthy and the other week in the casualty section of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.
Our officers included a Captain who was 2IC of the Company.
1.0 Stretcher Bearers
The primary function of the Stretcher Bearer was as an Infantryman. We were trained to:
Stem blood flow, set splints, dress minor injuries and inject if necessary and with permission - These were to stabilise the wounded prior to evacuation to proper medical facilities
Identify tropical diseases
Most of the more thorough medical inspections were carried out on re-supply day by the Medical Corps Corporal attached to CHQ. I think that the term "Stretcher Bearer" is a hangover from past wars. In effect, anyone who could had to help carry a stretcher.
2.0 Mix of equipment
There was no problem with spares for the mix of equipment. Our main problem was carrying a full compliment of ammo for both of the M60's. In the Platoon Sections there was nominally 10 people to share carrying the ammo for 1 gun. In our Section there was 4 per gun. But then again we didn't do as much patrolling as the Platoons.
3.0 CHQ Harbour
For longer term harbours CHQ would always have a Platoon in support. These harbours were always in more open positions and close to water and a good LZ for helicopters.
For short term harbours (1 to 3 nights) often CHQ would move into position with the support of a Platoon, but the Platoon would immediately move on for their own independent patrolling.
On such occasions the dense jungle was a deliberate choice as this provided a natural defence.
(When moving the normal order of march would be to have the Platoon in front followed by CHQ heirarchy, with Support Sect bringing up the rear.)
On arrival at the selected harbour site we normally would locate the first gun on the track we used to come in - on the perimeter of the harbour - just in case we were being followed. Once in position we would "stand to" for 10 or 15 minutes until we were satisfied that all was safe. Once "stand down" was given then we placed early warning sentries anywhere between 20 to 50 metres to the front of the guns. Claymores were placed out in front of the sentries position. Standing orders were that if contact with the VC was made then the sentry would fire the claymores and all sentries would scamper back to the harbour by pre-determined routes. Those in harbour were also advised of the routes so that they knew where friendlies should be sighted.
While the sentries were out there was also people on the guns. (Support Section found this very difficult with 2 guns and therefore 2 sentries. On most occasions we were under strength and had to rely on variable support from the batmen, medic, engineers. The normal roster for us was 2 hours on, 4 hours off, alternating between gun and sentry duties during the day and on the gun at night. At night support from others was restricted because they had to maintain a radio coverage. I must admit that we did not have entire faith in non-infantry troops except for our Medic Corps Corporal who proved his reliability many times.)
After "stand down", back in harbour when appropriate, work would begin on digging shell scrapes, latrine and rubbish hole. The Sig people would also establish radio communications.
All instructions for the above was done by field signals or close range whispers.
Please contact me if you have any further information, or you know where I can find more information.
The Killing Zone; New Zealand infantry in Vietnam (1967-1971), Colin Smith
See also Caught in the Killing Zone by Colin Smith
My particular thanks to Dallas Gavin for his patience and continued help, and also to GS and GL for their excellent contributions.