Wargaming organisation of a USMC Company in Vietnam

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US ARMY

US CAVALRY

US RIVERINE

MILITARY POLICE


Seal of the United States Marine Corps

ORGANISING A MARINE COMPANY

COMPOSITION OF COMPANY

Marine Company HQ
  • 1 x Captain
  • 1 x Gunnery Sergeant
  • 2 x Corpsman
  • 2 x Radio (one of which is for the Arty FO)
  • 2 x Rifleman (Runner)
  • 1 x 1st Lieutenant (Artillery Forward Observer)
    • 1 x Radio

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Marine Rifle Platoon HQ
  • 1 x 2nd Lieutenant
  • 1 x Platoon Sergeant
  • 1 x Right Guide
  • 2 x Corpsman
  • 1 x Radio

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Marine Rifle Squad
  • 1 x Sergeant (Squad Leader)
  • 3 x Corporals (Fireteam Leaders)
  • 1 x M-79 40mm Grenade Launcher ('Blooper')
  • 3 x Rifleman with M-14 Modified
  • 6 x Rifleman with M-14

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Marine Weapons Platoon HQ
  • 1 x 2nd Lieutenant
  • 1 x Platoon Sergeant
  • 1 x Corpsman
  • 1 x Radio
  • 1 x Mortar FO
    • 1 x Radio

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Marine Weapons Section (Mortar)
  • 1 x Sergeant
  • 3 x Corporal
  • 9 x Rifleman
  • 3 x M19 60mm Mortar

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Marine Weapons Section (Anti-Tank)
  • 1 x Sergeant
  • 3 x Corporal
  • 18 x Rifleman
  • 6 x 3.5" Rocket Launcher

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Marine Weapons Section (Machine Gun)
  • 1 x Sergeant
  • 3 x Corporal
  • 18 x Rifleman
  • 6 x M-60 GPMG

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NOTES

Seal of the United States Marine Corps
It was common practice to distribute the Machine Gun and Antitank elements of the Weapons Platoon amongst the Rifle Platoons within the Company so that each Platoon would have the supplementary firepower of   2 x M-60 GPMG and 2 x 3.5" Rocket Launchers.

RIFLE SQUAD
Each squad was broken down into three fireteams of 4 men. Each fireteam has an NCO as leader, an automatic rifleman (M-14 modified) and 2 riflemen (assistant automatic rifleman and scout) armed with the standard M-14.

Each Rifle Squad has an M-14 Modified, equipped with a bipod,  for use as an automatic weapon. Unless otherwise noted all personnel are equipped with the M-14 prior to 1968. From 1968 on the USMC were issued with the M-16 though it was not uncommon for units to retain the Modified M-14's for their firepower.

The M-79 grenadier was usually directed by the squad leader.

WEAPONS PLATOON
All troops were armed with the standard M-14.

M-60 GPMG SECTION
The section is commanded by a Sergeant and consists of three M-60 GPMG teams with 2 x M-60 per team. Each team was commanded by a Corporal and consisted of 2 x Gunner, 2 x Assistant Gunner, and 2 x Ammo Bearer. The marines were trained to fire the M-60 using a tripod.

ANTITANK SECTION
Often referred to as the Assault Section and commanded by a Sergeant. Three squads, each comprising 2 weapons teams armed with an M-20 3.5" bazooka. Each squad is commanded by a Corporal and each team consists of 1 x Gunner, 1 x Loader, 1 x Ammo Bearer.

By 1969 most M20's had been replaced by the lighter M-72 LAW.

MORTAR SECTION
Each tube has a crew of three (tube, baseplate and ammo) plus a Corporal acting as the squad commander. The section is commanded by a Sergeant.

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ATTACHED UNITS

At the Platoon level there could be from 2-5 M-48 tanks, 2-4 amphibious tractors (AMTRAK LVPT-5), 81mm Forward Observer from Battalion 81mm Mortar Platoon and/or Artillery Forward Observer from supporting Artillery battery.

At Company level there could be an attached tank platoon, an Amtrak section of 10 Tracks, an ONTOS section (2 vehicles armed with 6 x 103mm Recoilless Rifles), Engineers and Forward Air Controllers.


HIGHER FORMATIONS

BATTALION
Four Rifle Companies (letterd A-D in 1st Battalion, E-H in 2nd Battalion, and J-M in the 3rd Battalion - the letter I was not used), Headquarters Company, 81mm Mortar Platoon (6 tubes), Scout Platoon and 106mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon ( six tubes individually mounted on mechanical mules).

BATTALION LANDING TEAM (BLT)
Attached artillery battery (6 x 105mm Howitzer), tank platoon (5 x M-48), AMTRAK Platoon (10 x LVPT-5, capable of mounting a Rifle Company), an Anti-armour Platoon (6 x ONTOS).

REGIMENT
Three Rifle Battalions and a Headquarters Company.

REGIMENTAL LANDING TEAM (RLT)
Regiments could be formed into Regimental Landing Teams (RLT) consisting of 3 x Battalion Landing Teams with attached Combat Support elements.


For a complete listing of rank and insignia, see
USMC Insignia

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

See also Scenarios for USMC wargaming battles

USMC M41 and M61 Kit Patterns

USMC M-60 Gunner and Equipment

 

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If you have any further information, or you know where I can find more information then please
Contact me


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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