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US Marine Rifle Company

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by yan taylor, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hi everyone; I am just in the process of finishing a TO&E for a US Marine Rifle Company, it is a late war version dating from 1944, the proper term is Series F, I have finished the three Rifle Platoons and the LMG Section, and have now started on the HQ.

    The HQ contains the Companies 60mm Section, so the first move was to finish this and move on to the HQ its self, now from what I can gather it contains a small HQ (a Major as its Commander and a 1st Lieutenant as executive Officer both armed with M1 Carbines) and a HQ Section.

    The HQ Section is where I am stuck, here is what I have so far but I don’t think it is correct.

    1 x First Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Gunnery Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Technical Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Demolition Sergeant (M1 Rifle
    1 x Decontamination Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Armourer (Corporal) (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Carpenter (Corporal) (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Signal Man (Corporal) (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Company Clerk (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Chief Cook (Corporal) (M1 Rifle)
    4 x Assistant Cooks (Corporals) (M1 Rifles)
    1 x Barber (PFC) (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Cobbler (PFC) (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Truck Driver (PFC) (M1 Rifle)
    2 x Messenger’s (PFC) (M1 Rifles)
    2 x Field Musicians (Corporals) (M1 Rifles)
    11 x Privates for other duties (M1 Rifles)

    But I have since this; the HQ Section contains the following:
    6 x .30 MMGs
    25 x M1 Rifle
    8 x M1 Carbines
    3 x Bazookas
    1 x Jeep + Trailer

    I wonder if the 11 men for other duties were crews for the .30 MMGs and the Bazookas.

    So one must be wrong because the totals don’t match, can anyone shed any light on this please.

    Yan.
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    First of all the Commanding Officer would be a Captain, occasionally a Major but more often a Major would be a Battalion XO. Often 1st Lt's would command the company due to casualties.

    The .30Mgs in the Headquarters were .30 cal M-1917 water cooled machineguns that the company machinegun platoon would swap out for their M-1919's when the tactical situation so dictated. The bazookas were farmed out to the rifle platoons or used by HQ section personnel as the tactical needs dictated. No they were not their assigned crews/operators.
     
  3. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Thanks Price, I will swap the Company Commander to a Captain, is the rest of the section ok?

    I took a hunch at who had a Rifle compared to who had a Carbine, I suppose the two Officers would have .45 Pistols and maybe even a Carbine, both the Jeep Driver and the Signal Man too could be armed with a Carbines, but that would leave another two or three unaccounted for so maybe one could go to the Company Clerk and the others to the Sergeants.

    Yan.
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Yan, I'm not sure how to answer your question because I don't know how you arrived at the TOE totals for each weapon. I have the official F-Series TOE which does list totals, but without knowing what you've allocated to other company elements I wouldn't know if the figures you mentioned are correct.
    The way I have managed it in the past, because the weapons are listed on seperate charts from total personnel, and personnel from individual ranks and positions required for the personnel, is through the process of elimination. You also need to be careful because different sources list different, often contradictory numbers. For instance, Rottman in "US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations, 1944-45; 2004, Page 14, lists the E-100 Series Rifle Company as having 242 officers and men and the F-100 Series as having 267. (I suspect this to be a transposition error,I think it was supposed to be 262 and 247, additionally E Series should actually read G Series as he lists the date as 1 May 1945) In another of his books, Rottman, US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations 1943-44, 2004, Page 19, he has the F-100 Series Rifle Company listed as 240 men and 7 officers (247 total) (I support this number) and E-Series listed as 190 men and 6 officers (196 total). So is the F-Series Rifle Company 267, or 247 ? If you look at additional sources it could also be 254 or 262!!
    Now the Series F-100 posted at HyperWar, in section VII-12, gives the following information as to the size of the rifle company:

    "Thus the company as a whole is composed of two hundred forty-seven men and seven officers. Its weapons include three 60mm mortars, three AT rocket launchers (the bazooka--carried in company headquarters section), six light machine guns (with six heavy machine guns carried in reserve), twenty-seven automatic rifles, 123 M1 Rifles and 97 Carbines. In addition, its headquarters section has one jeep with a trailer"

    247+7=254 a totally different number. For personal weapons they give 27+123+97=247 which does not balance. However, on the TOE weapons chart for the F-Series Rifle Company, they give 112 M1 carbines, 123 M1 Rifles and 27 BAR's as company weapons totals or 262 weapons. (Chart VII-37) (I think this chart's carbine totals are wrong, probably an error related to the OCR). More on the OCR (Optical Character Reader) that is used when a document is scanned to produce a digital, text copy as opposed to a digital image copy. When the document is scanned, some numbers and letters are misread. It requires thorough proof reading to insure the copy is accurate. No matter how thorough one is, errors invariably slip through. A photocopy or digital image copy is more accurate but they are not as usable as a text document.
    Here are two examples of relatively glaring errors from section VII-9 of the HyperWar online version;
    (.30 caliber Browning, M1019A4), should actually read (.30 caliber Browning, M1919A4), and (MOcaliber, Browning, M1917A1) in reserve should actually read (.30 caliber, Browning, M1917A1) in reserve.
    Now I don't mean to beat up on HyperWar, it is a great and invaluable resource and what minor errors there are is more than made up for by the wealth of information, readily available there. What I was attempting to point out is that if you are researching, do not take anything at face value, read with a discerning eye, because errors do creep in, and they should not be perpetuated by being repeated. Use your mind and knowledge base to verify everything you read. My not wanting to repeat any errors, is the reason I will now answer your question in more depth than you requested. Verify my assumptions and math. I have attempted to be as accurate as possible, but make errors like everyone else. If what I put forth looks correct and adds up, great. If not you know where and how I arrived at the information so you can track down any error I might have made or false assumptions I may have used.
    Here goes.
    The easiest way to reconcile is from the ground up:
    Fire Team
    Fire Team Leader-Cpl-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    Automatic Rifleman-Pvt/Pfc-M1918 A2 BAR
    Asst. Automatic Rifleman-Pvt/Pfc-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    Rifleman-Pvt/Pfc-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    Totals men 4-(cpl x 1, NR's 3) weapons (3 x M1/M7 1 x M1918 A2 BAR)
    Squad = 3 Fireteams + Squad Leader-Sgt-Carbine, M1; Launcher Grenade M8
    Totals men (3 x 4) 12 + 1 =13 (1 sgt, 3 cpl, 9 nr) weapons (3x3) 9 M1/M7 (3 x 1) 3x M1918 A2 BAR + 1 M1car/M8
    Platoon = 3 Squads + Platoon HQ
    (13 x 3) 39 + HQ (7) =46
    Platoon Hq
    Platoon Ldr-2d Lt-Carbine, M1/Launcher Grenade M8
    Platoon Sgt-Plt.Sgt-Carbine, M1/Launcher Grenade M8
    Platoon Guide-Sgt-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    Demolition Cpl-Cpl-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    Messenger x 3-Pvt/Pfc-Rifle, M1; Launcher Grenade M7
    So now our totals for a platoon are:
    Men Total: 46 (13 x 3=39 + 7 Hq=47)
    Ranks Total:
    2d Lt x 1
    Plt Sgt x 1
    Sgt x 4 (3 x squad leaders + Plt Guide)
    Cpl x 10 (9 x Fire Team Leaders + Demo. Cpl)
    Non-Rates 30 (9 x 3=27 in Fire Teams + 3 x messengers = 30)
    30+10+4+1+1=46 balanced
    Weapons
    Rifle M1=32 (3x9=27 in Fire teams+5 in Hq Sec=32)
    Carbine M1= 5 (3 in Squads + 2 in Hq=5)
    M1918 A2 BAR=9 (3 per squad x 3 squads=9)
    Totals 32+5+9=46 weapons balanced
    Company, Rifle Platoons 138 officers and men
    46 x 3 platoons=138
    Ranks Total:
    2d Lt x 3 (1 x 3)
    Plt Sgt x 3 (1 x 3)
    Sgt x 12 (9 x squad leaders + 3 x Plt Guides)
    Cpl x 30 (27 x Fire Team Leaders + 3 x Demo. Cpl)
    Non-Rates 90 (27 x 3=81 in Fire Teams + 3 x 3=9 messengers in HQ sections= 81+9=90)
    90+30+12+3+3=138 balanced
    Rifle M1=32 x 3=96
    Carbine M1= 5 x 3=15
    M1918 A2 BAR=9 x 3=27
    Totals 96+15+27=138 weapons balanced
    Now for the Machine Gun Platoon, 6 x M1919A4 .30 Cal Browning LMG's
    MG Squad
    1 x Squad Leader-Cpl-Carbine, M1
    1 x Machine Gunner-Pvt/Pfc-Carbine, M1
    1 x Asst. Machine Gunner-Pvt/Pfc-Carbine, M1
    5 x Ammo Bearers/Security Men-Pvt/Pfc-Carbine, M1
    Totals men 8-(cpl x 1, NR's 7) weapons (8 x M1car + 1 x M1919A4 LMG + 1 x cart, hand M-1942)
    MG Section = 2 x Machine gun Squads + Squad Leader-Sgt-Carbine, M1
    Totals men (2 x 8) 16 + 1 =17 (1 sgt, 2cpl, 14 nr) weapons 17 x M1car, 2 x M1919A4, 2 x cart, hand M-1942
    MG Platoon=Sections x 3 + Hq
    17 x 3 sections=51 + HQ (5) =56
    Platoon Hq
    Platoon Ldr-2d Lt-Carbine, M1
    Gunnery Sgt-GySgt-Carbine, M1
    Ammunition Cpl-Cpl-Carbine, M1
    Messenger x 2-Pvt/Pfc-Rifle, M1
    So now our totals for the Mg platoon are:
    Totals men 3 x 17 (3 sgt, 6 cpl, 42 nr) + 5 Hq (1 2d Lt, 1 GySgt, 1 Cpl, 2 x NR)=56. Weapons 54 x M1car, 2 x Rifle,M1,=56 balanced. 6 x M1919A4, (3 x 2=6 +1 Hq ) 7 x cart, hand M-1942
    Ranks Total:
    2d Lt x 1
    GySgt x 1
    Sgt x 3 (3 x section leaders)
    Cpl x 7 (6 x Mg Squad Leaders + Ammo. Cpl)
    Non-Rates 44 (14 x 3=42 in Mg Squads + 2 x messengers in HQ section= 42+2=44)
    44+7+3+1+1=56 balanced
    Weapons
    Rifle M1=2 (personal)
    Carbine M1=54 (personal)
    M1919A4 Lmg=6 (crew served)
    So at this point we have 138 men in the rifle platoons and 56 in the Machine gun platoon for 194 officers and men.
    HQ Platoon
    In the F-100 Series TOE the HQ platoon was made up of the HQ section and the Mortar section for a supposed total of 51 men.
    Mortar Squad 60mm
    Squad Leader-Cpl-M1 Carbine
    Gunner-Pvt/Pfc-M1 Carbine
    Asst. Gunner-Pvt/Pfc-M1 Carbine
    Ammo Bearer x 3-Pvt/Pfc-M1 Carbine
    Total 6 men (1 Cpl, 5 NR)
    Mortar Section 60mm
    Motar Squad x 3+Hq
    Section Leader-2d Lt-M1 Carbine
    Section Sgt-Sgt-M1 Carbine
    Total 20 (3 x 6=18+2=20)
    1 x 2d Lt
    1 x Sgt
    3 x Cpl
    15 x NR
    Total 20 (15+3+1+1=20)
    Weapons 20 x M1 carbine, 3 x 60 mm mortar, M2.

    This leaves 31 men in the Hq Section (51-20=31) plus the Co and XO. (Total 33)
    CO-Captain-M1 carbine (1 carbines/0 rifles=1)
    XO-1st Lt-M1 carbine (2 carbines/0 rifles=2)
    Now here is the list you provided, alterations or comments by me in blue:
    1 x First Sergeant (billet and rank) (M1 Rifle) (M1 carbine) (3 carbines/0 rifles=3)
    1 x Gunnery Sergeant (billet and rank) (M1 Rifle) (M1 carbine) (4 carbines/0 rifles=4)
    delete not shown in TOE--1 x Technical Sergeant (M1 Rifle) (This is actually a rank not a billet. These "technical" ranks were denoted by a different color chevron and where applicable a flat vs curved rocker(s)).
    1 x Supply and Property Sgt-Supply Sgt-Rifle, M1-I think this is the billet you have listed as Technical Sgt., Technical Sgt. is a rank not a billet. Supply Sgt. three chevrons + two flat rockers. (4 carbines/1 rifles=5)
    1 x Mess Sgt.-Cook 1st Class-Rifle, M1 (4 carbines/2 rifles=6)
    1 x Chief Cook-rank and billet the same, change rank to Chief Cook, 3 chevrons + 1 flat rocker, not (Corporal)-(M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/3 rifles=7)
    1 x Armourer (Corporal) (M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/4 rifles=8)
    1 x Carpenter (Corporal) (M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/5 rifles=9)
    1 x Signal Corporal not Man (Corporal) (M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/6 rifles=10)
    1 x Company Clerk-Cpl-(M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/7 rifles=11)
    1 x Field Cook-Field Cook-M1 Rifle a field cooks chevrons look like a Sgt.'s. (4 carbines/8 rifles=12)
    4 x Assistant Cooks-Asst. Cook not (Corporals) (M1 Rifles)-The billet is Assistant Cook, the rank is also Asst. Cook, he was a technical rank and had two chevrons similar to a corporal (This may be nit-picking, but is correct). (4 carbines/12 rifles=16)
    1 x Barber (PFC/Pvt) (M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/13 rifles=17)
    1 x Cobbler (PFC/Pvt) (M1 Rifle) (4 carbines/14 rifles=18)
    1 x Truck Driver (PFC/Pvt) (M1 Rifle) M1 carbine or SMG (5 carbines/14 rifles=19)
    2 x Messenger’s (PFC/Pvt) (M1 Rifles) (5 carbines/16 rifles=21)
    1 x Supply Man-Pfc/Pvt-M1 Rifle (5 carbines/17 rifles=22)
    2 x Buglers-the rank is Field Music or Field Music 1st Class that wore rank insignia similar to Pvt's/Pfc's, Field Musicians, they were not (Corporals)-(M1 Rifles) M1 carbines (7 carbines/17 rifles=24)
    9 x not 11 x Privates for other duties (M1 Rifles) (7 carbines/26 rifles=33)
    I see no billet for the following two positions you listed: 1 x Demolition Sergeant (M1 Rifle)-1 x Decontamination Sergeant (M1 Rifle)

    Heres a link to the contemporary rank structure:
    http://www.ww2gyrene.org/rank_structure.htm

    Chart VII-41 gives a breakdown of personnel within the battalion, by rank and the aggregate of the three rifle companies is listed as 741 officers and men. If we divide this by three we get 247 officers and men, which is the number I stated earlier that I thought to be correct.
    -Now if we add up our figures we have 138 (rifle platoons)+56 (mg platoon)+20 (mtr. section)+33 (hq section)=247
    -Weapons are Browning Automatic Rifle-27 (rifle platoon)-Rifles, M1 (96 (rifle platoons)+2 (mg platoon)+26 (hq section)=124. This is the one more than the total for rifles given in section VII-12, quoted earlier, they listed 123. Then we have M1 carbines (15 (rifle platoons)+54 (mg platoon)+20 (mtr. section)+7 (hq section)=96. This is one less than the 97 given in section VII-12. However, our totals is correct 27+124+96=247, so our personnel count is correct and it goes to verify what I initially considered to be the correct TOE manpower total.
    Now section VII-37 gives a breakdown of weapons, as I stated earlier it gives the total for M1 carbines as 112. However, if you add up the seperate columns you get 97 not 112, so the total is in error and likely the result of an OCR error. Also, the breakdown shows 8 carbines and 25 rifles in the Hq section, so my error is there. I have listed the billets and weapons from another table and upon going back over the original I cannot reconcile where the difference is. If I were to guess it would be the supply Sgt. that would be armed with the carbine instead of the M1 rifle.
    As for ranks we have:
    Capt x 1 CO
    1st Lt. x 1 XO
    2d Lt. x 5 (3 x rifle platoons, 1 x mg platoon, 1 x mtr. section)
    Total 7, which balances.
    Enlisted
    1st Sgt x 1 (Hq Sec)
    GySgt x 2 (1 x Hq Sec, 1 x mg Plt)
    Plt Sgt x 3 (rifle platoons)
    Sgt. x 16 (12 rifle platoons, 3 mg platoon, 1 mtr. section)
    Cpl x 44 (30 rifle platoons, 7 mg platoon, 3 mtr. section, 4 hq section)
    non-rates/Pvt/Pfc x 164 (90 rifle platoons, 44 mg platoon, 15 mtr. section, 15 hq section)
    Technical ranks x 10 (1 x Supply Sgt., 1 x Cook 1st Class, 1 x Chief Cook, 1 x Field Cook, 4 x Assistant Cook, 2 x Field Music, all in Hq Section)
    (1+2+3+16+44+164+10=240) correct total, and more importantly the ranks match the corresponding number of each rank required to fill all billets listed in the TOE.
     
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  5. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hello Price, the one I am working on gives a total of 7 x Officers & 247 x Men, but going on your excellent work (which I must say is very impressive and I thank you for taking the trouble) I have it to 247 all ranks.

    Here is a link to the site that I originally used;
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/OOB/Regt-TOE-F/

    I find it funny that you don’t see any Thompsons or M1 Grease Guns (except for the Jeep Driver), I know that you don’t come across them in any of the other branches too (Infantry and Paratroop) but you can bet your bottom dollar that the next time you watch a WW2 Movie you will find they are everywhere, how would the distribution the .45 M1911 Colt Pistol, would it just be found as an Officer side arm? Also no .50 Browning HB M2 HMGs (unless they mounted one on the Jeep for AA Defense).

    How would the Radio communication work, I see one Signal Corporal who I would class as a Radio Operator, so would the Radio be mounted on the Jeep?
    I wonder if we had a small nucleus of men who acted together as the HQ say;
    The Co & 2ndI/C, the Jeep Driver, Radio Operator and Clerk all travelling in the same Vehicle.

    Thanks again for listening to my wild ramblings Price and many thanks for your help.

    Regards Yan.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    You are more than welcome. My pleasure. Yes, the TOE you listed is one of the ones I was using also, it is also the one I was pointing our the OCR errors in.

    Several things need to be kept in mind when looking at the Rifle Company TOE, that is that they have additional assets that are attached to them by the Battalion. For instance, there are carried at the Battalion level 27 Flamethrowers and 27 No. 5 Demolition kits, sufficient to provide one for every rifle squad within the battalion. This would mean each company rated 9 flamethrowers and Demolition kits. They were issued when the tactical situation indicated that there might be a need for them. The reason it is done this way is the battalion has much more robust motor transportation assets than the company. It would have a detrimental effect on the companies ability to perform its mission, if they had to haul this stuff around if the mission didn't call for it. Same-same with medical personnel, Corpsmen were assigned to the rifle companies/platoons from the Battalion.

    As for your statement on the SMG. It is noted within the TOE that the Thompson sub-machine gun, Model M1921, 1928A1, M1 and M1A1 were authorized to be substituted for the M1 carbine for squad leaders. An interesting bit of trivia here concerning the Thompson. The US military had not adopted or purchased the Thompson SMG because of post-WWI drawdowns. No other Federal Agency had purchased them either. Auto-Ordinace was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1926 when a renewed rash of mail train robberies caused the Marines to again be ordered guard the US Mail. (They had previously done so in 1921-1922). They requested that the US Navy purchase 250 Thompson SMGs for use in this duty. The purchase was made and extensively publicized by the Postal Service, the Marine Corps and Auto-Ordinance. This resulted in the US Treasury Department adopting the weapon, and increased orders from Law Enforcement also, and Auto-Ordinance was saved. The Marine Corps went on to take and use their Thompsons in the Caribbean and Central America, and purchased more.
    Pistols were a TOE weapon, though not listed. All crew served weapons gunners (in this case, when talking of the rifle company) that would be the 60mm mortars and 1917/1919 Mg's. All officers and the Signal Corporal would also rate a sidearm.

    You are correct in your assumption as to the radio equipment was to be operated by said, Signal Corporal. Other radio operators were detatched from and assigned to other elements from the Battalion Communications section. As for the .50 cal M2, all vehicle mounted .50 cals came equipped with a tripod ground mount, additionally there were 10 x .50 caliber machineguns in the Regimental Weapons Company.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Thank you Price, you have done more than enough and you have manage to help me fill in gaps that other ex-military personnel from both in the UK and US have not been able to do.

    Thank you and regards.
    Yan.
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    '
    Again. you are welcome. I've enjoyed the discussion.
     
  9. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Now I have an accurate break down of a US Marine Rifle Company ‘’1944’’ (all thanks to my friend Price) I thought I would have a run at a doing a US Paratroop Rifle Company, this is from December 1944;

    US Paratroop Rifle Company (Dec 1944-45)

    Company HQ

    1 x Captain (M1 Carbine)
    1 x 1st Lieutenant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x 1st Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Staff Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Communications Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Corporal Clerk (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Armourer (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Bugler (M1 Rifle)
    2 x Messengers (M1 Rifles)
    11 x Pvts or PFCs for other duties (M1 Rifles)

    HQ Mess Section
    1 x Staff Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    5 x Pvts or PFCs (M1 Rifles)

    3 x Rifle Platoons each containing;
    Platoon HQ:
    1 x 1st Lieutenant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x 2nd Lieutenant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x Technical Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Staff Sergeant/Guide (M1 Rifle)
    1 x PFC/Radio Operator (M1 Rifle)
    2 x Pvt or PFC/Messengers (M1 Rifle)
    1 x .30 M1903A4 Rifle + Scope
    1 x Bazooka

    Mortar Squad:
    1 x Sergeant/Mortar Gunner (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Pvt or PFC/Loader (M1 Carbine)
    4 x Pvt or PFC/Ammo Bearers (M1 Rifles)
    1 x 60mm Mortar

    2 x Rifle Squads each containing;
    1 x Sergeant (M1 Rifle)
    LMG Team
    1 x Corporal (.30 M1919A4 or A6 LMG + M1 Carbine)
    1 x Pvt or PFC/2nd Gunner-Loader (M1 Carbine)
    1 x Pvt or PFC/Ammo Bearer (M1 Rifle)
    Rifle Team
    2 x Pvt or PFC/Scouts (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Pvt or PFC/Grenadier (M1 Rifle + M Grenade Launcher)
    5 x Pvt or PFC/Rifle Men (M1 Rifle)

    8 x Officers & 130 x Men
    23 x .30 M1 Carbines
    115 x .30 M1 Rifles
    1 x 30 M1903A4 Rifle + Scope
    6 x .30 M1919A4 or A6 LMGs
    4 x Bazookas
    3 x 60mm M2 Mortars

    I hope it is of use to somebody, plus I hope it’s right.

    Yan.
     
  10. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Just got to ask one question and that concerns US Infantry Company communications. Each Company HQ had six SCR-536 Radio Sets, and these were distributed among the four Platoons, but who operated them? Below I have typed out the Company HQ plus the Platoon HQs for both the Rifle Platoon and the Weapons Platoon;

    Company HQ Command Group:
    1 x Captain (M1 Carbine)
    1 x 1st Lieutenant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x 1st Sergeant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x Communications Sergeant (M1 Rifle + M7 Grenade Launcher)
    1 x PFC/Bugler (M1 Carbine + M8 Grenade Launcher)
    1 x Pvt or PFC/Orderly (M1 Carbine)
    4 x Pvts or PFC/Messengers (M1 Rifles)

    Weapons Platoon HQ:
    1 x 1st Lieutenant (M1 Carbine)
    1 x Technical Sergeant (M1 Carbine)
    2 x Pvts or PFC/Messengers (M1 Carbines)
    2 x Pvts or PFC/Drivers (M1 Rifles + M7 Grenade Launchers)

    Rifle Platoon HQ:
    1 x 1st Lieutenant/Platoon Leader (M1 Carbine)
    1 x Technical Sergeant 1st Class/Assistant Leader (M1 Rifle)
    1 x Staff Sergeant/Platoon Guide (M1 Rifle + M7 Grenade Launcher)
    2 x Pvts or PFC/Runners (M1 Rifles)

    Now I would have thought that the Communications Sergeant would have been the favourite to operate the SCR-536 at Company level, but the Company HQ also had two CE-11 Cable Phones and maybe even a SCR-300 Radio Set to keep in touch with Battalion.

    Has anyone got any ideas?

    Yan.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    I cannot speak to the WWII US Army's practice as I am not as familiar with it as I am with the WWII Marine Corps, but it is/was normal practice that the higher echelon unit was responsible for providing communications asset to it's component assets. Therefore, the company provided communications with it's platoons, a battalion provided communications to it's battalions, the regiments to it's battalions and the division to it's regiments. For instance an artillery regiment would run wire and set up a radio message center to provide communications to it's component artillery battalions. The battalion would in turn run the wire and set up a radio net for communicating with the batteries. The battery would run wire to each of it's guns and a loop to reach all guns and provide redundancy, and to the FDC. Inter battery communications were the sole responsibility of the battery itself. A similar situation existed for fire support. The artillery battalion provided the artillery liason/forward observer. In the Marine Corps an aviation officer was provided from a squadron or group to handle CAS. Eventually, many of these functions were combined into JASCO (Joint Assault Signals Companies), personnel trained to coordinate artillery, naval gunfire and close air support. They were the forerunners of ANGLICO (Air, Naval Gunfire Liason Companies). ANGLICO's are the only units in the US military today qualified to call in/coordinate all land based, air based or sea based supporting fires. Don't know if this helps.
     
  12. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hello Price, I see what you mean and thanks for your reply, it was a good description of how the Regiment kept in touch with the Div Artillery. So I will scrub the SCR-300 Radio, the SCR-536 was a small hand held ‘’walkie-talkie’’ type Radio, so I maybe it was one of the Messengers/Runners who carried it, the CE-11 Cable (or Reel) Telephone may have been under the command of the Communications Sergeant, but this is just a guess though.

    Yan.
     
  13. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Regarding US Army Rifle Company

    Comms Sergeant would nominally handle the SCR-300 radio, though, in action, he might be granted an assistant. This was a man-pack set and the original "walkie-talkie". The SCR-536 came later and had the short lived moniker "handie-talkie". I tend to think the Communication Sergeant "managed" all the communication methods, perhaps handling the routine messages or accumulating messages for the CO when he was not available. The FM 7-10, The Rifle Company at HyperWar seems to be a pre-SCR-300 version.


    From memoirs, I would say it was the Platoon Leader who was designated the SCR-536 operator. Of course many PL's found that un-workable, not the least because the SCR-536 was un-reliable and required constant care. Since the SCR-536 was hard to keep working nobody depended on it.

    One GI's diary states:
    "I have taken over the job of platoon runner..no promotion..I have to carry the 536 radio, better known as the walkie-talkie and keep contact with the other platoons..I also carry the platoon leaders booze ration when he gets it."


    Field phones were layed-in, most likely by the messengers, once the company stopped for an extended period. Not sure if they would have to carry the reels throughout a movement, doubtful if they have to run messages too. Phones tended to accumulate to the quantity of one or two per platoon.


    For the US Army the two jeeps found in the rifle company were actually assigned to the weapons platoon to re-supply ammo or carry the weapons for long marches. In practice most companies found the jeeps were best used as general logistic vehicles for the whole company --- re-supplying rations, water, ammo and carry some small company equipment.

    Out of action the jeeps obviously became the CO's vehicle-on-call. This would ease the amount of walking to higher headquarters. In action the CO and his headquarters walked like everyone else in the company. Even battalion commanders walked a lot.


    In action, I have noted all headquarters tended to accumulate additional personal to the extent they thought they needed more people to operate effectively. Changes in command, by casualty or other, were stressful times where the new CO might disagree on who was really necessary.

    Some thoughts....
     
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  14. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Thank you Earhican; excellent information.

    Yan.
     
  15. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    My pleasure, de nada, some more thoughts...

    After posting I recalled that I had read one memoir from a vet that transferred from rifleman to Communication Sergeant. I re-read a bit to confirm that he carried the SCR-300, some or all the time. I really was not sure and things could vary among the rifle companies.

    An afterthought I had on the SCR-536 is that a company commander might be inclined to carry it for himself for as along as the radios were working. Reasoning that a company CO might feel a bit safer than a platoon leader who might rather have two hands on his personal weapon and his eyes on his squad leaders.

    Of course, what the platoon leaders did depended on the demands of the company commander. And what the company commanders did depended on the demands of the battalion commander. All a rich tapestry....
     
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    I'd have to disagree the platoon and company commanders would be the last people that you'd expect to be carrying the radio. If they're worth their salt, i.e. competant they're too busy fighting or coordinating their company. The RTO needs to be able to monitor the appropriate nets for traffic to his specific station, and copy and route traffic based upon priority for stations which he has responsibility for. He should filter out but listen in to traffic with other stations for situational awareness, and insure the company commander is promptly advised of any priority messages or immediately for any flash messages. The company commander needs to keep focussed on situational awareness, where his various elements are and what they are doing. He needs to know where he is and what he is doing within the scheme of his next higher command. In most cases his elements will be within close enough proximity that he can maintain contact and situational awareness by using his runners. Contact to higher headquarters and supporting arms would of necessity be by radio or land line. Sometimes if he had an element detatched he would maintain comms by radio or telephone. For instance an LP/OP would most likely maintain contact using wire and an EE-8 field telephone.

    As for the actual duties of the Rifle Company Communications Sgt. here is the quote from the Army Field Manual:

    (3) Communication sergeant. (a) Rifle company. The
    communication sergeant assists the company commander in
    observation and control. He supervises all visual signals,
    assists in organizing observation over the company front,
    and supervises the installation and operation of other
    technical signaling equipment made available to the company.
    He receives and dispatches the messengers and agents
    who are with the company commander, and performs
    such other duties as the latter may direct.
     
  17. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    In a 1944 US Marine Rifle Company HQ you had two Corporals; one a Signal Corporal and the other a Corporal Clerk.
    In a 1944 US Army Rifle Company HQ you had a Communications Sergeant plus an Orderly and a bugler.
    The US Paratroop’s also had a Communications Sergeant plus an Orderly and a bugler at Company level (almost completed the US Glider Rifle Company 1944 TO&E, just need the Company HQ).

    So when the Company was in the field, could any of the above carry the Radio’s?

    Yan.
     
  18. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Remember the Marine Corps rifle company also had two Buglers/Field Musics. But the answer to your question is maybe. Corporal Clerks (as well as cobblers) were specifically mentioned as being consolidated at the battalion in an admin (shoe repair) section. My best guess would be that the Captain would assign any Marine/Soldier that showed the required intelligence and ability. Probably taken from the extra duty privates and overseen by the Comm Sgt/Cpl. The Comm NCO would most likely insure that those humping the radio had enough training to operate the equipment. The NCO would assign the radio watch shifts (they had to switch on and off to maintain a 24 hour watch), troubleshoot and PM the equipment and generally oversee all company comms.
     
  19. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Hello Price, yes that sounds right to me, just because a PFC is down as being a Cobbler doesn’t mean he can sit on his ass in between his shoe repair work.

    Yan.
     
  20. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    We are probably talking past each other but FWIW....

    Given the nature of the SCR-536 "handie-talkie", I think it becomes a toss-up between the company CO carrying it himself or handing it back and forth with another soldier. That is, some did and some did not. And what seemed necessary in the hedgerows may not have when they got to the open Lorraine. And I mean carry and use, not in the manner of 'texting' to a teenager. The company net in action is not going to have a lot of housekeeping messages and can be command oriented.

    If the SCR-300 is not dual-channel one set can't monitor both the company and battalion net. It also seems doubtful one guy would be burdened with another radio. Previous experience might influence whether the CO depended on his orderly for security or whether he could be re-purposed to monitor the SCR-536. And while a headquarters can grow, there is a limit to the number of people the CO wants in his immediate location.

    Even if the SCR-300 is a dual-channel radio there is some advantage to be able to leave the SCR-300 in a safer location and still be able to communicate with the platoons via the SCR-536. The SCR-300 is the company life-line to additional resources such as reinforcement and fire support. Securing that connection should have had some priority.

    Again, a lot depends on their command style. Some CO's demanded a lot of contact from their subordinates and some didn't. Plus the nature of platoon leadership was changing. Some units, mostly green, continued to follow the Field Manual where the PL led the platoon right behind the scouts. In more experienced units, the PL tended to be in the center of the platoon formation and there the company CO might expect more radio contact. And if he makes those demands, he also ties himself to his radio.

    Given that many company grade officers did not consider a military career before December 7, 1941 and technology was changing fast, these are the same debates that occurred from the Pentagon (how many radios do we authorize?) to the front line (what's our SOP?).


    Again, that FM appears to be early (June 2, 1942) when it was not known if there would be enough radios for each battalion element. Therefore the description of the Communication Sergeant duties is rather thin about wireless communication. I am a bit surprised the memoir I read had the Comms Sergeant carrying the SCR-300 but that was only one company.

    214. RELATION OF BATTALION COMMUNICATION SYSTEM.-a.
    In attack, communication between the battalion command
    post and the rifle companies is by messenger. When sufficient
    means are available, the battalion commander may
    allot sound-powered telephone equipment or portable radiotelephones
    to front-line companies for communication with
    the battalion command post.
     

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