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Modeling in General
General discussions about modeling topics.
Question for all you guys in the military
TheGame
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 05:41 AM UTC
I've always wondered about the breakdown of a platoon, unit, regiment, etc. What is the order they go in? And roughly how many soldiers make up each one?

Just curious
m1garand
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 06:05 AM UTC
I've been out for ten years, but here's some info for you:

squad, platoon, company, battalion, then brigade or regiment
Sabot
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:13 AM UTC
BC is right on the money, and to expand on his answer, and infantry squad is made up of 2 fire teams. The term "unit" is generic and can mean almost any sized unit.

In the cavalry world, a company is called a "troop", a battalion is called a "squadron".
(all numbers are approximate and refer to a generic infantry battalion)
1. A Fire Team is 5 men, there are two fire teams in a squad + squad leader (usually a staff sergeant)= 11 soldiers
2. There are three squads (11) + the platoon leader (second lieutenant) and platoon sergeant (sergeant first class) in a platoon=35 soldiers
3. There are three line platoons + a weapons platoon and HQ platoon in a company. There can be about 120+ men in a company and it is commanded by a captain and he has a first sergeant.
4. There are 3 or more line companies + a HQ company in a battalion and it can have over 500 men in it. It is commanded by a lieutenant colonel and he has a command sergeant major.
5. There are usually 3 battalions + a HQ company in a brigade. It is commanded by a colonel and he also has a command sergeant major.
6. There are usually 3 manuever brigades in a division, plus an air defense battalion, engineer brigade, MP company, 4 support battlions, aviation brigade, signal battalion, chemical battalion, cavalry squadron, artillery brigade, military intelligence battalion, and a few others that I probably forgot.
7. A Corps consists of several divisions and all the corps-level units that go along.

Hope this helps without getting too out of hand.
TreadHead
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:21 AM UTC
As expected Rob, spot on and dead accurate. All in all a well thought out dispersion on the Army's part....except for my personal pet peeve. The platoon leader being a 'butter bar'. I could share some stories with you concerning platoon leaders..................but I wont.

Tread.
TreadHead
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:23 AM UTC
BTW, just wanted to 'squeeze' in a hearty thanks for the great Motor Pool pics you contributed!

Tread. :-)
GunTruck
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:25 AM UTC
When I was in the USAF Security Police, the basic unit of personnel was called a Flight. A Flight consisted of two or more men - and could go as high as a 44-man Air Base Ground Defense Team. An ABGD Flight (of which all SP's are attached to) is the basic USAF SP fighting unit.

Two or more Flights made up a Squadron - typically four Flights for a large SP unit. A Squadron could number as high as 500 personnel. A SP unit numbering over 500 was called a Group. When I was an SP (12 years ago) the 18th SP Squadron was on the verge of becoming the 18th SP Group at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Don't know if the unit ever did grow to Group size.

Gunnie
TheGame
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:30 AM UTC
Wow, thanks for the clarification. Nice and detailed.
m1garand
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 07:57 AM UTC
Rob,
Thanks for expanding on my reply. I've been out quite a while and when in, never was in an "average" unit. ie....oversize platoon(company size) or oversize company.
Linz
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 09:05 AM UTC
In the Australian Army (and hence Commonwealth ones as well I presume) it is:

Section - 9 men
Platoon - 3 sections + staff
Company - 3 platoons + staff
Battalion - 3 companies + staff

There is also scattered though out the structure a variety of specialist units (ie, support units, etc) That's the basic outline, but only the infantry battalions really have it that defined. We also have corps (Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC), Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME), etc), where everyone in the Army belongs to one of them. This means that all the guys who work on aircraft/AFVs are from RAEME, the tankies are RAAC, infantry are RAInf and so on. For a full list of our corps go to here

The infantry battalions are all part of the Royal Australian Regiment, hence 3RAR is 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The battalions do not operate as a regiment, rather they form parts of Brigades, of which we have nine, each commanded by a one-star. It gets a little confusing at around this point, as the Brigades are not all equal. 1BDE for instance has all our tanks (1 Armoured Regiment), a cavalry regiment (2CAV), 5/7RAR, a artillery regiment (8/12 Med Regt) + support, whilst 11BDE has two reserve battalions and support.

Just to mix things up a bit, not all units use the same terminology. Aviation units (like 1AAvn and 5AAvn) have squadrons (161st Reconnaissance Squadron flies Kiowa's), as do the armoured units like 2CAV. 1 Armoured Regiment has a break down like so:

- Tank (1x AS1 Leopard I)
- Troop (3x tanks)
- Squadron (3 troops)
- Regiment (3 regular squadrons + support squadron)

Our overall break down can be found at this pdf document if you want.

Cheers,
Linz
Epi
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002 - 10:53 AM UTC
I can give you a parts breakdown as far as a support battalion is concerned.
In 1 brigade, which is part of a division, you have 1 forward support battalion.
Within the battalion, you have 4 companies (A, B, C, D)
A company consist of the transpotation and POL
B company is usually the maintenance company.
within B company, seperate teams called MST (maintenence support teams) are asigned to each individual seperate units within the Brigade to provide on sight support.
C company is ussually the medical company
D company or sometimes Detachment is usually the clerical company such as finance.

Just a bit of info for you.
ARENGCA
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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 06:19 AM UTC
To further muddy the waters (this is U.S. Army info):

A platoon need not have any squads, in the case of non-infantry units. For example, there are 4 tanks in a platoon, so there are only 16 men. An artillery battery (company) has platoons, made up of just gun sections or guns. Number of personnel will depend on size of the gun crews. A company may also be composed of sections, in the case of speciality units.

Special Forces and other SOF units are organized in 14-man teams (Operational Detachment-Alpha, or ODA) which are often numbered (i.e. ODA 422). They fall under a "company HQ element" called an Operational Detachment-Bravo, or ODB. Their "battalion" is an ODC, and includes a number of support functions and platoons (which need not be SF qualified, despite being part of an SF unit). BTW, "A-Team" "B-Team" and "Green Beret" are all considered to be used by the ignorant masses outside the "community".

Cavalry squadrons and regiments usually have considerably more assets than your normal battalions or brigades. They are a "natural" combined arms organization, meaning tanks and Brads and cannons and helicopters and air-defenders and engineers all live and work together within the same unit. So the personnel strength of a squadron or regiment are also quite a bit higher than the normal organizations.

Brigades usually control 3-5 "maneuver" battalions ( "maneuver" meaning "ground combat"). Non-combat types of units (some engineers, some MP's, transportation, quartermaster, etc.) usually fall under a comparable organization called a "group". Brigades will usually have certain support units either assigned or in "habitual association" (which means they usually work and train together) known as Direct Support, from the division.

Divisions usually control 3-5 "manuever" brigades. In addition to the "manuever" brigades, there is usually at least one aviation brigade, a Division Support Command (DISCOM), Division Engineer Brigade (DIVEN), and MP's, transportation, quartermaster, etc. units of various sizes from company to brigade/group.

Under normal garrison conditions, battalions and brigades are usually "pure", which is to say that the unit is all tanks or all infantry or all artillery, etc. This is supposed to allow more effective training and maintenance. Brigades are not called "armor" or "infantry", because they will probably be "task organized" into more balanced task forces before combat. A division is named based on what is the more common unit in it, so the 1st Infantry Division will have more infantry battalions than armor.

Divisions and brigades will mix up the units assigned to them ("task organize") to create a combined arms combat element. For example, if a division is assigned two tank brigades and an infantry brigade, the commander will send an armor battalion to the infantry brigade, and take two of their infantry battalions (one for each of the other brigades). This creates several "armor heavy" task forces, and a "balanced" task force. Task forces can also be "infantry heavy". A Task Force can have any type of units assigned to it, depending on its' needs and mission. Brigades will further task organize the companies of the battalions assigned, and battalions can task organize platoons into "company teams" depending on the mission.

Is anyone still following this? I think I need a drink. Or a nap. Or Both.