Home Forums Modern Armies that do not have identical squads?

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    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    So from WW2 onwards, the trend has been to have the squads (or equivalent) of an infantry platoon be more or less identical in terms of armaments.

    Are there any notable or interesting exceptions?

    Avatar photoMartinR

    In WW2 the Italians still have WW1 style rifle sections and LMG sections.

    Later war German SMG and Assault Rifle platoons had a mix of SMG sections and Rifle/LMG sections (specific orgs varied by unit type).

    The Russians also had two different types of SMG platoon – all SMG sections or a mix of SMG and LMG sections.

    iirc the Vietnam era US Army still had its belt fed LMGs in a separate squad in the platoon. Maybe that was the USMC.


    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    Sorry I realised I mistyped: I am specifically looking for organisations adopted post WW2.
    Thank you regardless though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Avatar photoThomaston

    First thing that came to mind is French in Indo China. Might be a case of very non standard rather than standardized TO&E.


    One thing I noticed in Thailand was their army units are armed differently almost by region. In the East I saw HK (33 maybe 41) but in Bangkok (during the coup) and in the North I saw M16.


    You can google “Philippines Marines M14” and get a few images of troops with a mix of M16, M14 and some MG. Something about 7.62 and jungle fighting. This is probably closer to what you’re looking for, but I don’t think its standardized.


    A few years back they introduced M27 to replace M249 in infantry squads, M16 + M27, does that count? There were former Marines who said it was a backdoor way of getting piston-AR into the Corps, turnes out they were right.

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    I have reference to Jac Weller’s splendid old book, “Weapons and Tactics: Hastings to Berlin”, 1966.

    The platoon organizations given in the back indicate that the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and the US Army each at that time have a weapons squad in the platoon as well as three rifle squads.

    Netherlands: HQ (5), weaps sqd (9) with 2 84mm RCLs, rifle sqd (9) with 1 FN MAG
    Norway: HQ (5), weaps sqd (9) with 1 3.5-in RL and 1 MMG, rifle sqd (9) with 1 BAR
    Spain: HQ (3), weaps sqd (9) with 2 3.5-in RLs and 2 MMGs, rifle sqd (11) with 1 AR
    Turkey: HQ (2), weaps sqd (11) with 1 3.5-in RL and 2 M1919A6s, rifle sqd (11) with 2 Hotchkiss or ZB26
    USA: HQ (3), weaps sqd (11) with 2 90mm RLs and 2 GPMGs, rifle squad (10) with 2 ARs and 2 GLs

    Although it is not mentioned in the tabular data, the text also says that Red China used a platoon with 1 AR squad and 3 other squads.

    Somewhere I have a copy of his slightly later “Fire and Movement” which gives similar information for armies on the Pacific side of the world.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    Apologies for following up my own post, but I’ve found the other Jac Weller book, “Fire and Movement: Bargain Basement War in the Far East”, 1967.

    The further platoon organizations listed in this book with non-identical squads are for the South Korean, Philippine, and Thai armies, all of which seem to be based on the U.S. model. All have one weapons squad and three rifle squads.

    ROK Army: Pl HQ (6), weaps sqd (9) with 1 M1919A6 and 1 3.5-in RL, rifle sqd (9) with 1 BAR, 2 RGLs
    Philippines: Pl HQ (3), weaps sqd (9) with 2 M1919A6s and 1 3.5-in RL, rifle sqd (9) with 2 BARs, 2 RGLs
    Thailand: Pl HQ (8), weaps sqd (9) with 2 M1919A6s and 1 3.5-in RL, rifle sqd (9) with 1 BAR, 2 RGLs

    The ARVN is stated to run a platoon with an HQ of 3 plus two fire squads and one maneouvre squad of 8 men each. The fire squads have BARs, the maneouvre squad doesn’t.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    …and of course under Commando 21 the Royal Marine Commandos have a maneouvre support section in each close combat troop. The British Army used to have a maneouvre support section at platoon level, but now the Minimi has been ditched the GPMG has returned to being a section weapon rather than, as it briefly was, a platoon one.

    It seems to me that quite often having a weapons squad in a platoon means that the army in question believes that belt-fed MGs are platoon weapons, and rifle squads should have magazine-fed guns. I think it is better to have belt-fed guns in rifle squads, although a mag-fed LMG gives you the option of nicking mags from the riflemen if the gun runs out.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    Noticed this French infantry orbat from Algeria, which looks quite interesting.

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