The 8-10 man Squad is the basic infantry unit. With heavy weapons further parted out by section (4-6) and attached to squads or held as a base of
fire reserve by the platoon commander.
It is not at all unreasonable for a platoon of some 30-50 men to have multiple heavy weapons sections with Light or General Purpose MGs in them, in
addition to the SAWs of a normal infantry squad.
While not definitive, the following is pretty good at giving a general understanding of unit breakdowns-
In terms of fire vs. maneuver, the big question is whether you're operating on a NATO model with all maintenance and logistics organic to the unit
structure. Or a WARPAC one in which an external as much as (H&M) parent organization is responsible for generation of transport etc.
To which I would add that you are looking at various requirements for different operating conditions. An occupational force needs to be heavy on
manpower so that you can rotate personnel on and off high intensity missions and even out to 'safe territory' (Mmmmmm, Thailand...;-) for true
regeneration. In the field R&R just doesn't happen where 'the field' is anyplace that an alien looking face could be a friend or foe based on how
many friends you have with you or what time of day it is.
OTOH, in a highly maneuver-biased force, it doesn't pay to have a large manpower percentage of the TOE (Table of Organization and Equipment) at all.
Because inevitably you have to pay for additional vehicles in the form of additional automotive specialties to support them and additional CS/CSS
(Combat Support/Service Support) to keep them supplied.
Since I despise the notion of throwing myself in a snake pit and daring the locals to 'be my fwiend' as we are now attempting in New Babylon; I will
state that my preference is for an all vehicle force that can 'either/or' deploy with a hybrid scout like the Shadow/RSTV or a good solid track like
These vehicles have inherent advantages in being immediately suitable if not already configured for 'hybrid' propulsion which looks set to double
their ranges and provide useful electrical generation capacity for the first generation of laser and MMW weapons.
They are also, respectively, light enough to be slung and small enough to go internal on a CH-47 or V-22.
While neither platform is really capable of toe:toe slugouts against main force opponents, they are quite capable of (masted sensor and remote weapons
station as well as composite armor) being made fairly hardy in the face of 'urbanite' attacks in a COIN war.
That said, their principle use, other than transporting the platoon itself, is going to be as the vertical launch cell and UAV controller platform to
support what is called 'Netfires'. A combination of longrange (60-80km) guided rockets. And a 200km range turbojet targeting platform. Both about
the size of a Hellfire missile.
Such is the way you attack enemy armor OR support actions against the likes of the Taliban. By firing into a nest of them from a position beyond
their practical ability to leave boobytraps/mines or directly attack.
As a 'pooled' alternative to Netfires; I would go with the 120mm breachloading armored mortar system shown here-
The reality being that missiles were first introduced because a lack of GPS for 'unassisted' postlaunch targeting, along with the extremely harsh
acceleration environment of tube fired (i.e. Copperhead etc.) on munitions guidance packages made it hard to justify gun launched PGM.
Now GPS is standard, while 'high value target' munitions like the antiarmor Stryx and Merlin give you autonomous millimeter wave homing onto mobile
point targets like tanks from as much as 12,000 meters of lob compared to the 3.5 klicks that an equivalent caliber fires directly from said MBT.
Furthermore, the mortar, provided it's not caliber overmatched by mainforce weapons like SPH's, gives you a more useful weapon for the infantry
mission, whether it be firing HE superquick/airburst or smoke and gas into areas where you cannot afford to drop even a 500lb LGB.
Also available is a denial or passage sensor monitoring option inherent to cannistered sensor/mines which allow you to continuously monitor remote
All of which is completely beyond a missiles 'hit or miss, it's 40 grande a pop' forte`.
Comparitively, any ABF or 'advance by fire' infantry missions will be _solely_ as trailing/recovery and command element protective support of
robotic forces like Talon-SWORDS and R-Gator.
It being these platforms that will provide the principle investment, penetration and reduction of target objectives so as to minimize the number of
men spread out or channelized as a 'tempting targets' to irregular forces.
It also reduces the requirement for overwhelming fires as you have TIME to pick your targets with conventional, well ammunitioned, rifle caliber,
weapons like the M249 or M60E4. Mounting them on a pedestal with vastly steadier aim.
You still have to take the dirt under contestment but damned if it's required for it to be a meat grinder.
Everything a man does, be it shooting or healing or 'talking to the locals', a _machine_ does better than you.
Indeed, do any of you speak Arabic? Farsi? A dialect thereof? How many GI Joe Averages from 'Middle America' do you imagine are any different?
Now go look at-
And wonder what a system like that would be like if hooked up to a speech synthesizer. If we are too the point where _a robot is doing the talking_
then we are well beyond the level of 'human interactive combat'.
WHY then expose troops to direct fires when YOU are the enemy among /them/? And your very (vulnerable) presence is what incites a desire to
I guarantee you MY platoon would not have many effectors which bled. Because you shoot a robot and it's video camera will identify you and your
whole household as even as it dies. And while it may very well reincarnate three days later. _YOU WON'T_ when the house you live in is leveled
around your ears.
This is a thread for people to describe what they feel would be the ideal basic tactical unit, aka the platoon. You can describe the number, the
equipment, however, you dont have to use actual weapon models. You can also describe their basic functions, such as movement, defense, offense, and
Please remember that this isnt a "Exorobot with missle launchers for my squad" type of thread. If you dont think you can describe a working model
for a platoon, dont respond. At the same time, you can be creative, and change the well known rules if you feel it would be more effective, such as
having fewer men, or less heavy weapons, etc.
The SWORDS unit can in fact mount an M202 FLASH flame weapon, an M249 Minimi 5.56mm SAW or M240 7.62mm GPMG, an M82 or M107 .50 special purpose rifle,
a Mk1 MGLS grenade launcher, an AT4 or M72 LAW, and various palletized 'cargo modules' including smoke generators and armor segments.
This is NOT science fiction. It is something designed to provide a fires based capability as the first step towards _replacing_ the majority of
direct combat infantry on a battlefield that is now (randomly) either empty or too dangerous for their 'securing dirt' presence.
The unit can be leaning toward one of these traits, or try to be a balance of each.
In fact, the reality is that it's better to hire the guns from locals for a specific merc type mission which brings the enemy to battle and the
slaughters them, irrespective of 'allied' casualties.
The difference then being that _if you are serious_ you will have preplanned the mission to the extent that you can then 'brown shirt' retire your
partisan levvied militia in favor of a policing force which is pretrained before the war to fulfill the followon law enforcement mission.
'Infantry' then being _fire support_ units whose principle role is to provide a targeting and tasking interface with missile or airpower based
forces 'up the chain of command' (no matter the uniform color) during the conflict. Ensuring that, even if casualties are heavy, you at least _win
decisively_ by assuring that enemy losses are much worse.
While, in peacetime, their role is to secure _U.S._ interests (installations and key transit choke points) so that contract civillians are not
captured and butchered as being 'uniformed and therefore illegal combatants' acting as agents of U.S. federal interest (i.e. mercs).
The latter is particularly important when you realize that only the most sophisticated of equipment and engagement modes can protect large area
targets like pipelines and refinement facilities. While the attempt to make all 'terrorists' into criminals, denying them the rights of the Geneva
and Hague accords, has only set up U.S. civillian equivalents to be given the same treatement. Even if their mission is _entirely_
They just make too easy a counter-exampled target.
Mobility, firepower, command and control, logistics, stealth, cost effectiveness, or any other traits you deem valuable.
The Marines think that the Battalion is about the smallest UA or unit of action that can be stood up for independent ops. While I don't necessarily
agree with this on a manpower delivery vs. sustained combat effectiveness _specialist mission_ level, nor do I really believe in the mix and match
method by which the current USAr Medium/Objective Force 'brigades' are being created (a little armor from here, a little policing from there, some
mine clearance from over there...).
The key is probably somewhere inbetween, with a force construct that is organically familiar with all it's component missions yet able to deploy
individual units _unsupported_ because they are wisely restricted from direct combat ops (Contempt Of Engagement) and mounted on a flexible TOE that
allows for one UA to undertake 2-3 different, SPECIFIC missions with a substantially better 'deployment provisioning' (rapid if not prepacked pallet
count) than is currently the case today.
A large part of this is going to be inherent to ditching heavy, maintenance intensive, armor units. A part is going to require RIMA level
reenvisioning of how and where you commit forces to missions where logistical as much as combat attrition (sustainment) is going to be a difficult.
At a political/doctrinal level, it may particularly mean fighting 'perceived obsolescence by maintaining one mission set/unit force structure that is
specific to a given role. While developing another that can later crosstrain the sibling UAs it shares a given organizational TOE with.
i.e. reinvention as a graduated molt process. In this, going with units as small as a platoon may allow for faster concept:demonstration:capability
rephasement _at cost_ than trying to bring an entire unit architecture online with the same capability, at once.
If there is one thing U.S. soldiers still excel at it is adapting to new methodologies which are well enough proven that 'another grunt' can convey
not simply the equipment training but the procedural requirements for optimum employment of 'the new approach'.
In this, having your technology testbeds be 'rather smaller' than a 9th ID type artifice makes your exploratory and (if needed) prototyping phases
much more concurrent for misstep vs. teething determinancy from among a larger number of total paths that represent alternative solutions.
Brainstorming is all well and good. But brainstorming /whether you need to fix what isn't known as much as broken/ can only occur if the
alternatives are more than 'damn the torpedoes!' or 'that's nice...' (hurry up and decide to do nothing).
One thing is certain and that is that the rate of change is only going to increase as military missions explode while induction plummets in the face
of what a wilely assymetric enemy can do with a simple garage door opener. Doing more, 'at cost' (man as the most expensive single element in any
TOE) will thus be critical to not merely retaining utility and survivability in a morphing world. But to maintaining a RANGE of not-now considered
important enough to teach as a collective skillset at either Basic or advanced schooled infantry courses. If you don't provide a broad enough
foundational 'open mindedness' towards noncombat related skill acquisition as a function of making combat itself simple and standoff limited in
it's tactical complexities; you cannot building-block expand your mission set after the fact. Maybe this is a good thing. But I doubt it.