US Army

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US CAVALRY USMC RIVERINE MILITARY POLICE

ORGANISING A LINE INFANTRY COMPANY

COMPOSITION OF COMPANY

Infantry Company HQ
  • 1 x Captain (Company CO)
  • 2 x RTO's
  • 1 x 1st Lieutenant (Executive Officer)
  • 2 x RTO's
  • 1 x 1st Sergeant
  • 1 x Medic (Company Senior Medic)
  • 2 x Rifleman (Runner)

Attached FAO Team

  • 1 x 1st Lieutenant (FAO)
  • 1 x RTO
  • 1 x E-5 Sergeant (Assistant)

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Infantry Rifle Platoon HQ
  • 1 x 1st Lieutenant (Platoon CO)
  • 1 x RTO
  • 1 x Platoon Sergeant
  • 1 x RTO
  • 1 x Medic

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Infantry Rifle Squad
  • 1 x E-6 Staff Sergeant (Squad Leader)
  • 2 x E-5 Sergeant (Fire Team Leaders)
  • 2 x Grenadier (M-79 40mm Grenade Launcher)
  • 5 x Rifleman

The squad may, depending on the mission, have an RTO, which will be one of the riflemen.

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Infantry Weapons Squad
  • 1 x E-6 Staff Sergeant (Squad Leader)
  • 2 x E-5 Sergeant (M-60 GPMG Gunners)
  • 2 x M-60 GPMG Assistant Gunners
  • 5 x M-60 Ammo Carriers

The E-6 SSG is usually the most senior SSG in the platoon. Note that the TO&E for the Weapons Squad includes a 90-mm Recoilless Rifle (2 man team) but it was common practice for the 90mm Recoilless Rifle to be left at base camp or the NDP (troops could still carry the LAW as an anti-tank weapon) and replaced by a third M-60 GPMG or alternatively the 90mm RR team would hump extra ammo for the 60's (as above).

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Infantry Weapons Platoon HQ
  • 1 x 1st Lieutenant (Platoon CO)
  • 1 x RTO
  • 1 x Platoon Sergeant
  • 1 x RTO
  • 1 x Sergeant (Mortar Forward Observer)
  • 1 x RTO
  • 2 x Rifleman

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Infantry Mortar Squad
  • 1 x E-6 Staff Sergeant (Squad Leader)
  • 1 x E-5 Sergeant 
  • 2 x M-79 40mm Grenade Launcher ('Blooper')
  • 4 x Mortar Crew
  • 2 x Mortar Ammo Runners
  • 1 x 81mm Mortar

There were a number of operational problems associated with the employment of the Weapons Platoon. In particular, without their integral vehicles the squads were effectively immobile. Add to this the ROF of the mortars and the inability of the platoon to carry sufficient ammunition for sustained periods of fire.

Using the platoon as a fourth maneuver element in the Company also had problems since the platoon lacked integral firepower and had limited personnel.   Have fun trying to maneuver and supply these guys!

Generally the Weapons Platoon stayed at the NDP and gave fire support from that location.

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HIGHER FORMATIONS

BATTALION
1 x Battalion HQ, 1 x Battalion HQ Company, 4 x Rifle Company (Companies A - D), 1 x Combat Support Company (Company E).

Originally the Battalion had only 3 Rifle Company's (A - C) but in mid-1967 a fourth Rifle Company (D) was added to the establishment.

Combat Support Company (see note below) : 1 x 4.2" (107mm) Mortar Platoon (four squads consisting of 6 men + 1 Mortar, plus a Platoon HQ consisting of 1 officer and 7 men) and 1 x Assault Platoon (12 x portable flame throwers, one officer and 48 men), 1 x Scout Platoon (the Combat element of the Headquarters Company) consisting of 1 officer and 48 men divided into 8 x 6 man squads.

Note : Whilst the Combat Support Company was depicted on official TO&E's (as below), I have been unable to find a single Veteran who remembers such a Company being present in RVN. Al Baker wrote,

 "The combat support company did not come into effect while I was commanding in RVN.  If there was an E company on the TO&E it was taken off my modification. There used to be a lot of MTOES. The Mortars, Recon and AT were all in HHC. The Platoons were called separate platoons and worked directly for the Operations officer.  By doctrine the Recon Platoon and the Ground Surveillence Radar worked for the S2 but they almost never did.  I can't remember the E Company TO&E.  I never served in a battalion that had one. When I commanded a Battalion later, there was a Combat Support Company..."

I have tabled below the 'official' Battalion TO&E, but please note that the organisation of the Company, as given above, represents a modified TO&E.

BRIGADE
Battalions were organised into Brigades of 2 - 5 Battalions

DIVISION
Brigades were organised into Divisions of 3 Brigades. See Infantry Division for a breakdown of how it was organised. 

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Please contact me if you have any further information or comments

 

STANDARD TABLE OF ORGANISATION & EQUIPMENT
Source : Vietnam Order of Battle (Shelby Stanton)

  HQ and HQ Cpy. A Cpy. B Cpy. C Cpy D Cpy. E Cpy.
Officers 15 6 6 6 6 4
Warrent O's 2 ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Enlisted 147 158 158 158 158 96
M-60 2 6 6 6 6 ----
M-79 8 24 24 24 24 6
.45 pistol 15 9 9 9 9 4
M-16 149 149 149 149 149 96
81mm Mortar ---- 3 3 3 3 ----
90mm RR ---- 3 3 3 3 ----
Portable Flame Thrower ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- 12
4.2" Mortar ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- 4

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For a complete listing and explanation of rank and insignia see
US Army Rank Insignia

See also Rapid Fire for details of organisation for use with Rapid Fire wargaming rules


US1.gif (9882 bytes)SOURCES

Charlie Company, Reeves & Novak 1988, Ulster Imports
SOTCW Journal Issue 31, Autumn 1998, 'US Infantry Organisation in Vietnam' by John S. Harrel


 

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