25/09/2017 at 04:10 #72330
I am looking at making some infantry sections for the Falklands war, but the information I am finding on the section organisation is a bit conflicting.
One source has Paras as an eight man (two bricks) formation, and commandos and ‘normal’ infantry at 10 man (1 Rifle group with command of 7, and a LMG group with 2IC of 3).
Can any one shed any more light on the section structures please?
I am leaning towards sections being 10 man at this stage, as I didn’t think the brick/fire team concept came in until after the Falklands war.25/09/2017 at 08:58 #72338
John D SaltParticipant
The British infantry section has, for a tremendously long time, been nominally 10 strong, but in practice never more than 8. In 1982 there was still the idea of peacetime establishment versus wartime establishment, and this explained the difference between the 8-man and 10-man sections; 8 is peacetime establishment, and 2 more riflemen should be added to make it up to WFE. I do not believe the formations that fought in the Falklands were ever made up to WFE.
While Para organisations were a bit different from the rest of the Army, with weird things like an MG platoon and patrols platoon, I have never heard of their sections being organised differently. When I joined the TA in 1978 I was told that the IS battalion official section organisation was 13 men (including a Cpl and 2 LCpls) armed with a Bren gun, but I was in an IS battalion and never saw a section of more than 8.
As for organisation within the section, that depends on what the local commander wants to do. I was in Exeter UOTC at the time, and we used gun group/rifle group, two fireteams, or, sometimes, if carrying Charlie G, “blobs” — a gun blob of 2, a MAW blob of 2, and a rifle blob of 4. Gun group/rifle group was still the official arrangement, but the new (and supposedly more flexible) organisation associated with the IW and LSW was coming in, and battalions that had done an NI tour (almost everyone) would have used multiples/bricks there, well before 1982. Even the gun group/rifle group was variable, as you could run the gun group as 3 men including the lance-jack, as you suggest, or, what we did more often, trust the gun no.1 and no.2 to do their jobs unsupervised and put both JNCOs in the rifle group.
One thing to remember is that lots of battalions mysteriously acquired additional light-role machine guns, so a section consisting of two fat gun groups (in the case of the RM the second often an L4 Bren) would probably be found quite often. Exeter UOTC sometimes went on exercise with 2 GPMGs per section, borrowing the war emergency GPMGs held at Higher Hoopern barracks for the staff of the Infantry Manning & Records Office there, on condition that we cleaned the things nicely.
All the best,
John.25/09/2017 at 14:07 #72350
In line with John, I’d go for eight man sections for the Falklands, but paint up a few spare L4/GPMG groups so you can tool them up appropriately from time to time (so you’ll probably end up with ten figures per section anyway). In principle the section is trained to operate in two groups anyway, so you can have rifle group/gun group or two gun groups or whatever. The Paras and Royal Marines will also no doubt do things according to their particular peculiar regimental traditions and experience.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke30/09/2017 at 10:16 #72742
Thanks Guys. Now to decided which troops to use – Paras or Commandos.
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