Squad level firepower comparisons

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Brady
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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 08 Nov 2021 20:40

Gary Kennedy wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:55
Sheldrake wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:08
Brady wrote:
08 Nov 2021 18:49
Came across this as well, presumably this is some kind of Typo, The Mention of Three Bren Gunners per Squad, Ambrose, Pegasus Bridge:



Its Ambrose and should be checked against sources. I think he meant to write three Bren guns per platoon
Little bit different from the WE, which was though thoroughly tinkered with by units in the field.


Goodness, well forgetting terminology (Sections, not Squads, Air Landing, not gliderborne), the WE strength of the Platoon was 24 all ranks, they did not have 3-inch mortars in Rifle Pls just the usual 2-inch mortar, there were two sniper rifles per Air Landing Rifle Pl, and indeed three Brens per Pl, not per Section. I wondered if thought the usual three-man gun group each had a Bren gun, rather than being the L-Cpl, No.1 and No.2. And oddly enough, the Platoon commander was authorised a Sten rather than a pistol. Apparently from those few paragraphs they'd have been better armed carrying rocks, though perhaps he was more gracious about the PIAT...
OK so he clearly got some of the details wrong, but the Platoon, air landing, was only 24 men, what did there squads look like 7 men each with 3 in the HQ elements?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Sheldrake » 08 Nov 2021 21:10

Gary Kennedy wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:55
Little bit different from the WE, which was though thoroughly tinkered with by units in the field.

Goodness, well forgetting terminology (Sections, not Squads, Air Landing, not gliderborne), the WE strength of the Platoon was 24 all ranks, they did not have 3-inch mortars in Rifle Pls just the usual 2-inch mortar, there were two sniper rifles per Air Landing Rifle Pl, and indeed three Brens per Pl, not per Section. I wondered if thought the usual three-man gun group each had a Bren gun, rather than being the L-Cpl, No.1 and No.2. And oddly enough, the Platoon commander was authorised a Sten rather than a pistol. Apparently from those few paragraphs they'd have been better armed carrying rocks, though perhaps he was more gracious about the PIAT...
Stephen Ambrose did not understand the British and wrote some unsourced and error ridden work. He wrote Pegasus Bridge before his other better researched material about Easy Company. One of the best things about this work is its origin. He was with a party of US airborne veterans who visited the Cafe Gondree. There was an old Brit there leaning on a walking stick and when the Veterans introduced themselves he said. Hello, my name is John Howard...

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 Nov 2021 02:44

Sincerely, I would say nothing for the French rifles, and about MG (le.MG.311, s.MG.257), they were within the strong points, include Stp "Distelfink" (you had a nice photo taken in Stp/Wn 42 with British soldiers manning a s.MG.257 On June 6th).
Regards

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 09 Nov 2021 03:15

AETIUS 1980 wrote:
09 Nov 2021 02:44
Sincerely, I would say nothing for the French rifles, and about MG (le.MG.311, s.MG.257), they were within the strong points, include Stp "Distelfink" (you had a nice photo taken in Stp/Wn 42 with British soldiers manning a s.MG.257 On June 6th).
Regards
Ok, so most likely no French rifles, almost certainly equipped with German small arms, if I understand you Correctly ?

Not counting weapons in fixed fortifications.

Is there a specific reference that would indicate this one way or the other something I can quote or sight ?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by AETIUS 1980 » 09 Nov 2021 07:26

The only reference tables are those of April 1944 for the capture weapons used statically in the strongpoints, and May for the Gliederung of the 716.Inf.Div. To obtain additional information on the period from mid-May to June 5, 1944, I had to cross-reference different sources. As the subject of this Post concerns firepower within a team (Trupp/Grupp)/ platoon (Zug), it should be remembered that if the theoretical principles in force in the German army (the structure of the group revolving around the MG) are normally applied with the 716.Inf.Div, things are actually quite different. Each Trupp/Grupp or Zug deployed in the Wn or Stp loses its purpose as a "tactical pawn", having to serve as the Beute.Waffen or support weapons within the stongpoints. There is therefore no longer a real function, of "fire and movement" teams, but only a set of men assigned to a very precise task. When we observe the open country combat waged by the Kpen of II./Gr.Rgt.726 on june 6th, we see that the chronic lack of training on this aspect (which would take a long time to detail) was fateful in 5 and 6. /Gr.Rgt.726. Same observation with 9.Radfahr./726, where its platoons engaged one by one, did not operate using full organic means. There are therefore the reference texts established through the K.St.N, then the veracity with the periods allocated for the implementation of the fundamentals at group, platoon and company level.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 09 Nov 2021 15:16

Thank you for your help.

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Brady » 09 Nov 2021 17:09

Gary Kennedy wrote:
03 Aug 2018 18:44
As the detail is spread out over a few posts this is a recapitulation of the authorised strength of the Para Inf version of the US Rifle Squad -

T/O 7-37 17th February 1942;
Sgt (M1), Cpl (SMG), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919), asst gunner (M1), ammunition bearer (M1) - each man also 1 pistol

As amended 31st July 1942 - one rifle, M1 altered to one rifle, M1903 (for antitank defense) (no, NOT a sniper)
As amended 24th February 1944 - delete all pistols (12). Add 1 carbine for gunner, delete 1 SMG and add 1 M1 for Cpl. Replace M1903 with M1.

T/O 7-37 1st August 1944;
S Sgt (M1), Sgt (M1), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919 and carbine), asst gunner (carbine), amn bearer (carbine)

T/O 7-37(T) 16th December 1944;
S Sgt (M1), Sgt (M1), 7 riflemen (each M1), gunner (M1919 and carbine), asst gunner (carbine), amn bearer (M1) - also 1 BAR 'for optional use as directed'

As noted above the Platoon under the Feb42 and Aug44 orgs was allocated four M1919s, one per Rifle Squad and two described as 'for optional use as directed', which same description was appended to the BAR under the Dec44 T/O. From February 1944 the Para Inf Coys were authorised 6 SMGs, carried on the strength of Coy HQ, for issue as required.

Gary
Were US Ranges similarly equipped ?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 11 Nov 2021 21:37

Going off track a little, but did the British use the same section set up as they did in during WW2 in 1950 and the Korean war?
Arming your rifle platoons with just that (bolt actioned rifles) plus a bren and a sten per section would be tough on the troops when faced with massed Infantry assaults.

I saw an old movie a few years ago called "a hill in Korea" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049302/), with a good cast of old British actors.
The patrol was lead by an officer and a sergeant plus a section led by a corporal, this section had three brens!
This made me think if this was the norm in Korea to break up massed attacks and to stiffen the fire of the Lee Enfields.

If they were only armed with the same from WW2, then I feel sorry for all those National Servicemen who got sent there and suffered the same fate as the Glosters. I know the US Army had WW2 weapons, but they were always ahead of us concerning automatic weapons.

Ian

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Nov 2021 03:27

yantaylor wrote:
11 Nov 2021 21:37
Going off track a little, but did the British use the same section set up as they did in during WW2 in 1950 and the Korean war?
Arming your rifle platoons with just that (bolt actioned rifles) plus a bren and a sten per section would be tough on the troops when faced with massed Infantry assaults.

I saw an old movie a few years ago called "a hill in Korea" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049302/), with a good cast of old British actors.
The patrol was lead by an officer and a sergeant plus a section led by a corporal, this section had three brens!
This made me think if this was the norm in Korea to break up massed attacks and to stiffen the fire of the Lee Enfields.
The short answer is yes. The British retained the concept of one Light machine gun per section long after WW2. .

Even after the .303 was replaced with the SLR / FN this was a signle shot semi automatic rifle. The main section firepower was the Bren/LMG/GPMG. The key issue is ammunition. What is the point of issuing three LMGs when you only can only carry maybe 1600 rounds in the section?

But all is possible if Michael Cain is playing himself. He fought in the Korean War as a Royal Fusilier.

In defence the British could rely on:-

- The mighty vickers gun 500rpm belt fed water cooled. Two guns could fire forever. Interlocking arcs could create line of steel nine bullets per second . That would stop a human wave.

- Mortars

- Field artillery

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 13 Nov 2021 19:47

Re British Air Landing Battalions and their Rifle Platoon, and further info for Brady -

March 1943 WE;

Subaltern
Serjeant
Batman
21 LMG Numbers and Riflemen

4 pistols
5 Stens
13 rifles
2 sniper rifles
3 Bren guns
1 .55-in atk rifle
3 rifle grenade cup dischargers
1 2-in mortar

The atk rifle was replaced directly by the PIAT and the grenade dischargers faded away at around the same time.

With just 24 all ranks it was difficult to field the usual British Platoon of three identical Rifle Sections and a HQ. I think the variation that has been most publicised is of a HQ of 5, two Secs each of 7 and one Sec of 5. That is in line with an outline from 7 KOSB in 1944 that showed the Rifle Pl as;

Sub (S)
Batman (S)
Sjt (R)
Mortar No.1 (P) 2-in
Mortar No.2 (R)

Cpl (S)
2 snipers (2R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren
Rifleman (R)

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

The 24 man strength of the Platoon was largely decided by the capacity of the Horsa glider. In the Rifle Pl format that could carry two pilots, 25 men and one handcart. One of the 25 was from outside the Pl (stretcher bearer, signaller or pioneer being a few examples given by the KOSBs), so still a 24 man Pl. If the Horsa was fitted with 'pigtail harnesses' it could carry two more men (not seated but actually kneeling towards the rear of the fuselage), which allowed the Rifle Pl to be increased to 26 men while remaining in the normal loading format. These two men were found from the Battalion's First Reinforcements, which in the Air Landing and Parachute Battalions were held, in part, as ready formed Rifle Pls and and weapons dets. Most Air Landing Bn's referred to this as R Company, with three Rifle Pls and 20-mm, 6-pdr and 3-in mortar dets, plus a general reserve.

Adding two riflemen to the Platoon did allow the small 5-man Section to be filled out to 7 men, which I understand was reckoned as being the smallest size a Section could be and remain useful. In the above layout it was basically two snipers and a Bren team. I know over the years I've seen the opinion that the two 7-man Secs were increased to 8 and the smaller Sec left as 5. There were only six Air Landing Battalions formed during the war and different practices developed between 1st and 6th. The May 1945 WE was adopted in the immediate postwar, and was largely based on the organization used by the three Bns of 6th Air Landing Bde during the Rhine crossing and subsequent operations up to VE-Day. That was based on a 26-man Rifle Pl, and again the WE gave no info on individual weapons and none on the Sec org with the Rifle Pls. Support weapons for the Pl remained the same (three Brens, one PIAT, one 2-in mortar).

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 13 Nov 2021 20:47

Sheldrake wrote:
13 Nov 2021 03:27
yantaylor wrote:
11 Nov 2021 21:37
Going off track a little, but did the British use the same section set up as they did in during WW2 in 1950 and the Korean war?
Arming your rifle platoons with just that (bolt actioned rifles) plus a bren and a sten per section would be tough on the troops when faced with massed Infantry assaults.

I saw an old movie a few years ago called "a hill in Korea" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049302/), with a good cast of old British actors.
The patrol was lead by an officer and a sergeant plus a section led by a corporal, this section had three brens!
This made me think if this was the norm in Korea to break up massed attacks and to stiffen the fire of the Lee Enfields.
The short answer is yes. The British retained the concept of one Light machine gun per section long after WW2. .

Even after the .303 was replaced with the SLR / FN this was a signle shot semi automatic rifle. The main section firepower was the Bren/LMG/GPMG. The key issue is ammunition. What is the point of issuing three LMGs when you only can only carry maybe 1600 rounds in the section?

But all is possible if Michael Cain is playing himself. He fought in the Korean War as a Royal Fusilier.

In defence the British could rely on:-

- The mighty vickers gun 500rpm belt fed water cooled. Two guns could fire forever. Interlocking arcs could create line of steel nine bullets per second . That would stop a human wave.

- Mortars

- Field artillery
Thanks Sheldrake, the vickers had proved themselves in two world wars as a very reliable weapon, did they still get grouped in MG Battalions or did they become organic to the rifle battalion, our way of forming these support weapons into battalions has always seemed odd to me as any battalion commander should have things like MMGs under his command and organic to his unit.

Ian

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by yantaylor » 13 Nov 2021 20:51

Gary Kennedy wrote:
13 Nov 2021 19:47
Re British Air Landing Battalions and their Rifle Platoon, and further info for Brady -

March 1943 WE;

Subaltern
Serjeant
Batman
21 LMG Numbers and Riflemen

4 pistols
5 Stens
13 rifles
2 sniper rifles
3 Bren guns
1 .55-in atk rifle
3 rifle grenade cup dischargers
1 2-in mortar

The atk rifle was replaced directly by the PIAT and the grenade dischargers faded away at around the same time.

With just 24 all ranks it was difficult to field the usual British Platoon of three identical Rifle Sections and a HQ. I think the variation that has been most publicised is of a HQ of 5, two Secs each of 7 and one Sec of 5. That is in line with an outline from 7 KOSB in 1944 that showed the Rifle Pl as;

Sub (S)
Batman (S)
Sjt (R)
Mortar No.1 (P) 2-in
Mortar No.2 (R)

Cpl (S)
2 snipers (2R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren
Rifleman (R)

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

The 24 man strength of the Platoon was largely decided by the capacity of the Horsa glider. In the Rifle Pl format that could carry two pilots, 25 men and one handcart. One of the 25 was from outside the Pl (stretcher bearer, signaller or pioneer being a few examples given by the KOSBs), so still a 24 man Pl. If the Horsa was fitted with 'pigtail harnesses' it could carry two more men (not seated but actually kneeling towards the rear of the fuselage), which allowed the Rifle Pl to be increased to 26 men while remaining in the normal loading format. These two men were found from the Battalion's First Reinforcements, which in the Air Landing and Parachute Battalions were held, in part, as ready formed Rifle Pls and and weapons dets. Most Air Landing Bn's referred to this as R Company, with three Rifle Pls and 20-mm, 6-pdr and 3-in mortar dets, plus a general reserve.

Adding two riflemen to the Platoon did allow the small 5-man Section to be filled out to 7 men, which I understand was reckoned as being the smallest size a Section could be and remain useful. In the above layout it was basically two snipers and a Bren team. I know over the years I've seen the opinion that the two 7-man Secs were increased to 8 and the smaller Sec left as 5. There were only six Air Landing Battalions formed during the war and different practices developed between 1st and 6th. The May 1945 WE was adopted in the immediate postwar, and was largely based on the organization used by the three Bns of 6th Air Landing Bde during the Rhine crossing and subsequent operations up to VE-Day. That was based on a 26-man Rifle Pl, and again the WE gave no info on individual weapons and none on the Sec org with the Rifle Pls. Support weapons for the Pl remained the same (three Brens, one PIAT, one 2-in mortar).

Gary
Great work Gary, I don't know where you find this stuff.
I may asked you to sort me out a royal marine commando troop in the future, my Uncle was a RMC and was awarded the MM at Dieppe, he also landed on D Day too and I think he also took part in the Walcheren landings, but I havent been able to prove this.

Ian

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 13 Nov 2021 20:56

Hi Ian,

My understanding is the same, that it remained one Bren gun per Rifle Sec in the British Army, plus SMLEs and Sten guns, through the late 1940s and early 1950s. From memory the pairing of Bren and Lee Enfield survived until the introduction of the SLR and GPMG in the late 1950s.

There was a military training pamphlet published in either the late 1940s or early 1950s that included an outline org of the post-war British Infantry Battalion. I'm sure I've seen it SOMEWHERE on the internet but can't find anything close now. Likewise I think I've seen a post-war pamphlet on the Bren gun, which indicated the same Rifle Sec org as in 1944, with the proviso that the number of riflemen was like to vary depending on men available.

There was a 1948 WE for the Infantry Battalion, not one I've seen but I suspect was similar to the last version from Nov 1944. The 1948 WE could have been used in Korea, not sure though there wasn't a locally derived one given the particular nature of the fighting in the Korean War.

Gary

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisonPIAT

Post by Brady » 13 Nov 2021 22:43

Gary Kennedy wrote:
13 Nov 2021 19:47
Re British Air Landing Battalions and their Rifle Platoon, and further info for Brady -

March 1943 WE;

Subaltern
Serjeant
Batman
21 LMG Numbers and Riflemen

4 pistols
5 Stens
13 rifles
2 sniper rifles
3 Bren guns
1 .55-in atk rifle
3 rifle grenade cup dischargers
1 2-in mortar

The atk rifle was replaced directly by the PIAT and the grenade dischargers faded away at around the same time.

With just 24 all ranks it was difficult to field the usual British Platoon of three identical Rifle Sections and a HQ. I think the variation that has been most publicised is of a HQ of 5, two Secs each of 7 and one Sec of 5. That is in line with an outline from 7 KOSB in 1944 that showed the Rifle Pl as;

Sub (S)
Batman (S)
Sjt (R)
Mortar No.1 (P) 2-in
Mortar No.2 (R)

Cpl (S)
2 snipers (2R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren
Rifleman (R)

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

Cpl (S)
5 riflemen (5R)
Bren No.1 (P) Bren

The 24 man strength of the Platoon was largely decided by the capacity of the Horsa glider. In the Rifle Pl format that could carry two pilots, 25 men and one handcart. One of the 25 was from outside the Pl (stretcher bearer, signaller or pioneer being a few examples given by the KOSBs), so still a 24 man Pl. If the Horsa was fitted with 'pigtail harnesses' it could carry two more men (not seated but actually kneeling towards the rear of the fuselage), which allowed the Rifle Pl to be increased to 26 men while remaining in the normal loading format. These two men were found from the Battalion's First Reinforcements, which in the Air Landing and Parachute Battalions were held, in part, as ready formed Rifle Pls and and weapons dets. Most Air Landing Bn's referred to this as R Company, with three Rifle Pls and 20-mm, 6-pdr and 3-in mortar dets, plus a general reserve.

Adding two riflemen to the Platoon did allow the small 5-man Section to be filled out to 7 men, which I understand was reckoned as being the smallest size a Section could be and remain useful. In the above layout it was basically two snipers and a Bren team. I know over the years I've seen the opinion that the two 7-man Secs were increased to 8 and the smaller Sec left as 5. There were only six Air Landing Battalions formed during the war and different practices developed between 1st and 6th. The May 1945 WE was adopted in the immediate postwar, and was largely based on the organization used by the three Bns of 6th Air Landing Bde during the Rhine crossing and subsequent operations up to VE-Day. That was based on a 26-man Rifle Pl, and again the WE gave no info on individual weapons and none on the Sec org with the Rifle Pls. Support weapons for the Pl remained the same (three Brens, one PIAT, one 2-in mortar).

Gary
Thank you for this! So the PIAT team would possibly the two men kneeling, or would they be from any of the 5 men with rifles ?

I think it’s interesting that the snipers are in the same section and not part of what would essentially be the two squads.

By the way what exactly was in the cart?

And this Platoon has no inherent radio?

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Re: Squad level firepower comparisons

Post by Gary Kennedy » 14 Nov 2021 15:17

No specific operators for the PIAT in any British Platoon organisation, same as for the Boys before it, they were designated within the Platoon as required.

I do have to try one day and see if there's any obvious pattern to Air Landing Bn wireless set allocation. I've got bits and bobs from multiple contemporary sources (found and donated) but I'm not sure they retained one No.38 set per Rifle Pl after 1943.

The only example load for the handcart I've seen is from the 7 KOSB document, which just shows it as hauling ammunition.

Gary

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