US Armored Cavalry Troop in Vietnam - Organisation and Equipment

US CAVALRY - Page Title
COMPOSITION OF US ARMORED CAVALRY TROOP


TROOP

A US Divisional Armored Cavalry Troop contained a Troop HQ ( Troop HQ Track , Troop Commo Track  and 2 x Troop Radar Tracks) and three Platoons (each consisting of a Platoon HQ Track , Scout Section , Infantry Track , Mortar Track and a Tank Section).

TERMINOLOGY

A Squadron was the equivalent of an Infantry  Battalion; a Troop was the equivalent of an Infantry Company. Both organisations used the term Platoon.

SQUADRON ORGANISATION

A Squadron consisted of an HQ and HQ Troop, 3 Line Troops ( Troops A, B and C) and an Air Cavalry Troop (Troop D). This page only concerns itself with the organisation of a Line Troop. For information on Troop D, see Air Cavalry Troop


Troop HQ Track

Troop HQ Track
SABER BRAVO 6

1 x Captain (Troop Comdr)
1 x E6 (Vehicle Comdr)
1 x E4 (Driver)
1 x 1st Lt (Forward Artillery Observer)
1 x E4 (FAO's RTO)

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Troop Communications Track

Troop Communications Track
SABER BRAVO 65

1 x E8 (1st Sgt. Track Comdr)
1 x E5 (Commo Chief, RTO)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E4 (Radio Operator)
3 x E4 (Radio Mechanic)

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Radar Tracks

Troop Radar Track (1 of 2)
SABER BRAVO 40

1 x E6 (Section Ldr)
1 x E5 (Snr Radar Op)
1 x E4 (Radar Op, Driver)

Troop Radar Track (2 of 2)
SABER BRAVO 41

1 x E5 (Snr Radar Op)
1 x E4 (Radar Op, driver)

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Platoon HQ Track

Platoon HQ Track
SABER BRAVO 16

1 x Lt (Platoon Comdr)
1 x E6 (Vehicle Cmdr)
1 x E4 (Driver)
1 x E3 (Observer)
1 x E4 (Plat Medic)
1 x E4 (Radio Operator)

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Scout Section

Platoon Scout Track (1 of 4)
SABER BRAVO 11

Platoon Scout Track (2 of 4)
SABER BRAVO 12

Platoon Scout Track (3 of 4)
SABER BRAVO 13

Platoon Scout Track (4 of 4)
SABER BRAVO 10


1 x E6 (Section Leader)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E3 (Observer)


1 x E5 (Asst. Sqd Ldr)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E3 (Observer)


1 x E6 (Squad Leader)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E3 (Observer)


1 x E5 (Asst. Sqd Ldr)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E3 (Observer)

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Infantry Track

Platoon Infantry Track
SABER BRAVO 18

1 x E6 (Sqd Ldr)
2 x E5 (Team Ldr)
2 x E4 (M-60 Team)
2 x E4 (Grenadier)
1 x E4 (Driver)
2 x E3 (Rifleman)
1 x E4 (Radio operator)

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Mortar Track

Platoon Mortar Track
SABER BRAVO 19

1 x E5 (Sqd Ldr)
1 x E4 (Mortar Gunner)
1 x E4 (Driver)
1 x E3 (Asst. Mortar Gunner)
1 x E3 (Ammo Bearer)
1 x E4 (Radio Operator)

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Tank Section


Platoon Tank (1 of 3)
SABER BRAVO 14

Platoon Tank (2 of 3)
SABER BRAVO 15

Platoon Tank (3 of 3)
SABER BRAVO 17

1 x E7 (Plat Sgt, Tk Comdr)
1 x E5 (Gunner)
1 x E5 (Driver)
1 x E3 (Loader)

1 x E6 (Tk Comdr)
1 x E5 (Gunner)
1 x E5 (Driver)
1 x E3 (Loader)

1 x E6 (Tk Comdr)
1 x E5 (Gunner)
1 x E5 (Driver)
1 x E3 (Loader)

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NOTES

All APC's are depicted as ACAV's (see M113) unless stated otherwise, although, due to the problems associated with obtaining the ACAV kits as well as the damage inflicted on the vehicles by the bush/rubber it was often necessary to operate with standard M113's.

ACAV's were armed with 1 x .50-cal mounted on the Commander's cupola and 2 x M60 mounted one either side of the rear troop compartment. The standard crew for the ACAV was a driver, track commander (who manned the .50 cal), two M-60 gunners and two loaders. All crew were armed with an M-16 and, in addition, a single M-79 40-mm grenade launcher was also carried in the vehicle. Typical ammo loads consisted of about 3,500 rounds of M2 .50 caliber, 8,500 rounds of 7.62mm m-60, 5,000 rounds of 5.56mm M-16 and 150 40mm M-79 40mm grenades.

Ammo loads for the tanks in the platoon typically consisted of; 500 rounds for the .50-cal, 45 rounds of cannister, 12 rounds HE, 7 rounds WP and 3 rounds of the 'new beehive'. As time progressed, the number of beehive rounds that were carried increased as the availability of this round grew.

For further information on weapons see US Smallarms

Communications Track

The Commo track was at the center of Troop communications. The crew of this track had primary responsibility for the Troop radio net and for the maintenance of all the radio equipment in the Troop. 

Radar Tracks

Both tracks of the Ground Surveillance Section carried PPS-4 radars. Although not listed in the official TO&E a ground-mounted, man portable PPS-5 radar was also carried. Ground Surveillance Radar were set up in front of the Troop's NDP or Laager and transmitted to a receiver in the Radar Track. It was intended to provide the Troop CO with early warning of enemy infiltration and their direction of approach.

Medics

Medics were usually assigned from Squadron. Several medics (E4, Medical Aidman) often rode on one of the Radar Tracks (Saber Bravo 40 or 41). This was because when the Troop was in action the Troop casualty clearing station was often secured by the Radar Tracks and the Commo Track. 

RTO's

In addition to the RTO's on the Commo Track, attached to the Troop HQ, each Platoon also had 3 RTO's distributed amongst the vehicles as the Platoon CO saw fit. These RTO's were not part of the Troop Commo Section but were basically Infantrymen (11B20's) who may have had a secondary MOS of RTO (05B20) or, just by the luck of the draw, were volunteered for that slot. In the example above I have attached an RTO to each of the Platoon CO track, the Infantry track and the Mortar track.

Combat Engineers

It was quite common for a Combat Engineering Team of 4 men (1 x E5, 3 x E3) to be assigned to the Troop. The engineers were invariably assigned as passengers with the Scout Section and were responsible for sweeping in front of the Troop for mines and for jobs requiring demolitions with the use of C4 explosives.

Infantry Squad

The personnel of the infantry squad were quite often split amongst the various tracks of the Troop in order to provide those tracks with extra security.

Mortar Track

The Mortar Track was a modified M113 (not an ACAV) and could be either an M106 (4.2-inch mortar) or an M125 ( 81-mm mortar). Irrespective of the mortar type, the crew of five actually served the mortar itself. 

Tank Section

The Tank section consists of 3 tanks. Originally the tank section consisted of the M48A3 but, as the war progressed, many units received the M551 Sheridan. 'B' Troop, 3/4 Cav received their Sheridans in late January 1969. By 1970 the tank section is likely to consist of Sheridan's. Prior to the arrival of the M551, some cavalry platoons of regimental cavalry squadrons, lacking M48A3's, were actually using ACAV's as substitutes for the tanks in this section.

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OPTION

Medic Track

The medic Track was a standard M113 and was often unmarked. This Track was not actually included in the Armored Cavalry Troop TO&E since, if present at all,  it was supplied from the Squadron HQ unit. All members of the crew were medics. If you include this track in your organisation then the Medics who usually rode on the Radar Track would not be included.

Medic Track

Medic Track
1 x E5 (Snr Medical Aidman, Track Comdr)
2 x E4 (Medical Aidman)
1 x E4 (Medical Aidman, Driver)

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SOURCES

Special Text 17-1-3 US Army: Armor in Vietnam


 

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