Military


Platoon

The primary mission of a Marine Rifle Platoon is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or to repel his assault by fire and close combat. The rifle platoon is the basic maneuver element of the rifle company. Its characteristics are essentially those of the rifle company.

The rifle platoon usually fights as part of the rifle company. When circumstances, it can be appropriately reinforced to operate independently for limited periods. In the attack the platoon's rifle squads, assisted by organic and/or external supporting fires, maneuver to positions from which they can close with and destroy the enemy. n the defense the rifle platoon defends as part of the rifle company. Assisted by non-organic planned fires, it organizes to deny the enemy access to terrain by use of organic fires and close combat.

The rifle platoon has a triangular structure composed of three rifle squads. Each squad is a balanced group consisting of three fire teams; one rifleman within each fire team will be assigned to carry the M16/203 grenade launcher system. Rifle squads within the rifle platoon may provide the suppressive fires (base of fire) for the maneuver of one or more squads.

The headquarters element of a rifle platoon consists of a platoon commander, platoon sergeant, Hospital Corpsman and a radio operator. Platoon Commander is responsible to the company commander for the training, combat efficiency, discipline, administration, and welfare of his platoon. Everything the platoon does or fails to do in garrison or in combat is the platoon commander's responsibility. He is also responsible for the first echelon maintenance, safeguarding, and economical use of all equipment on charge to the platoon and its individual members. Platoon Sergeant, as second in command, performs the duties assigned by the platoon commander. He assumes command in the absence of the platoon commander. He assists in all aspects of supervision and control of the platoon.

Individual training consists of a Marine's MOS related and basic skill training. During this period, platoon commanders focus on increasing their Marines' technical and tactical proficiency in all areas. These areas include land navigation, marksmanship, communications, first aid, NBC defense, and survival techniques. Marines conduct most of this training through the Marine Battle Skills Test (MBST) and annual training requirements. Intensive training may be required in certain areas to ensure Marines meet the standards before deploying.

Marines conduct mission-specific training during the unit training period. Unit level training includes all units, from the fire team to the Battalion Landing Team. This period begins with general skills, and progressively becomes more specialized as the unit masters a skill. Units hone the skills needed to accomplish the diverse missions specific to amphibious operations such as amphibious raids, humanitarian relief operations, non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO), and cold weather operations. The objective of this period is preparing the unit to operate as a cohesive force on the battlefield, capable of accomplishing any assigned mission. The platoon commander, with guidance from the company commander, determines what training to conduct while underway and identifies the gear and training aids necessary for embarkation. Experienced Marines in the unit know what type of training the platoon can accomplish while underway.

While embarked, training requires initiative and ingenuity by the small unit leader. During long monotonous periods of time at sea, a regular training program is essential to retaining technical competence and preventing boredom. The platoon can conduct classes, PT and weapons firing after some coordination with the Navy. Often it is possible to increase individual proficiency, due to the absence of outside distractions which increases your time available to train. If not actively employed, Marines will spend most of their time in the only personal space allotted to them - the rack. Keeping them physically and mentally active is the only way to remain effective. Break up the routine with fun activities as well as time off. The steel decks and the rocking of the ship are also very conducive to laziness which will need to be battled the entire deployment.

Weapons platoons are often thought of as the muscle of the infantry company. The crew-served armament assets are often the focal point of company offensive and defensive operations planning, as effective employment is critical to mission accomplishment. The weapons platoon of the rifle company contains 60 mm mortars, 7.62 mm machine guns, and SMAWs. These are organized into a mortar section of three mortars, a machine gun section of six guns and an assault section with six SMAWs. The weapons platoon can employ 60 mm mortars to provide suppressive and obscuration fires and machine guns to 5 provide suppressive fires (base of fire) in support of maneuvering elements conducting offensive, and defensive operations. It can employ SMAWS to provide effective assault fires against enemy fortified targets, and obstacles or motorized vehicles.

The 81MM MORTAR PLATOON in the WEAPONS COMPANY employs the BLT's heavy mortars. They are the BLT Commander's "hip pocket artillery" and are widely regarded as the most responsive and accurate indirect fire support agency available to the BLT. The mortars can range over three miles and can lob high explosive or incendiary shells on the enemy. In addition, the platoon also has light and medium machineguns, shotguns, and grenade launchers. The mortar platoon also serves as a TRAP (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel) Force available to the MEU Commander. If a friendly pilot is shot down, the 81mm Mortar Platoon goes in to recover him, bring him home, and, if necessary, tuck him into his nice, warm bed. This versatile platoon is also trained to reinforce the Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) if their mission requires heavier assets or just meaner Marines. The 81mm Mortar platoon is the largest fighting platoon in the MEU.

The HEAVY WEAPONS PLATOON in the WEAPONS COMPANY is comprised of hardback Humvee-mounted heavy machineguns, automatic grenade launchers, and heavy anti-tank missiles. The platoon also maintains shotguns and light machine guns for close-in defense. This platoon's primary mission is to attack and destroy the enemy's heavy and light armor assets. Because of its mobility, the Heavy Weapons Platoon occasionally combines with the Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Platoon for specific missions like raids. In addition, the Heavy Weapons Platoon provides direct fire support to the rifle companies by using the long-range capabilities of the heavy machineguns and heavy anti-tank missiles. The platoon can operate in its entirety or break down into smaller Combined Anti-Armor Teams (CAAT). CAAT's are led by highly proficient and unbearably cocky Corporals, and consist of a heavy machinegun vehicle paired with a heavy anti-tank missile vehicle. The Heavy Weapons Platoon is fast, responsive, and brings an impressive amount of firepower to the battlefield.

Like the Heavy Weapons Platoon, the JAVELIN PLATOON in the WEAPONS COMPANY is also an anti-armor asset, but these Marines have a different primary weapon. This platoon is built around the Javelin weapons system, which fires a missile that attacks armored vehicles much like an angry seagull: from the top down. The Javelin is the "state of the art" anti-tank weapon system in the Department of Defense. It is designed to defeat any armored vehicle known to man. In addition to the Javelin, the platoon has automatic grenade launchers and light and medium machineguns. The Javelin Platoon is also vehicle mounted with the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV), which replaced the aging "Jeep". This vehicle and its crew can be internally loaded into the heavy helicopters in the MEU, and deployed to the battlefield in the same fashion as the Helo Company. The Javelin platoon's primary mission is to attack and destroy armor assets on the battlefield.

The Battalion Landing Team's Scout Sniper Platoon is tasked with providing the battalion with precision rifle fire. It has a secondary mission of being the battalion's organic reconnaissance and surveillance asset. Some Scout Sniper Platoons are also been trained as the Maritime Special Purpose Force Recon & Surveillance Platoon. In this role the Scout Snipers developed Urban R&S skills, long-range communications, airborne platform shooting and day/night precision fires in support of direct action missions. The primary weapon the Scout Sniper Platoon uses is the M40A1 sniper rifle. This rifle is capable of hitting targets out to 1,000 yards, with an accuracy of within a 10-inch circle at that range. A secondary weapon employed by the platoon is the M82A3 Barrett .50 Special Application Scoped Rifle. This weapon is capable of destroying vehicles and material in excess of 2,000 yards. The Scout Sniper Platoon is manned by extremely well trained Marines who combine good shooting with many other infantry and reconnaissance skills. Independent in thought, these Marines operate in small teams well forward of the main body of friendly forces. Using camouflage and stealthy movement they are capable of reporting on, using indirect fires or aviation, or engaging with their own sniper rifles enemy forces where they least expect it.

The Battalion Landing Team's tank platoon, with four M1A1 tanks, provides combat power to the Battalion Landing Team or supported units in the amphibious assault and subsequent operations ashore, utilizing maneuver, armor protected firepower, and shock action in order to close with and destroy the enemy. The Marine Corps' main battle tank is the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. It is the most powerful and survivable tank in the world. Equipped with a stabilized 120mm main gun, thermal sights, and a gas turbine engine, it can make first round kills against enemy armor at 3000 meter ranges when traveling in excess of 30 mph, a capability that is not degraded by darkness or battlefield haze. As tanks cannot operate safely or effectively in the absence of infantry support, the Battalion Landing Team uses the tanks supported by infantry to punch holes in the enemy defenses, allowing rapid penetrations deep behind enemy lines.

The mission of the Amphbious Assault [AA] platoon is to land the surface assault element of the landing force and their equipment in a single lift from assault shipping by amphibious operations to inland objectives, and to conduct mechanized operations and related combat support in subsequent operations ashore. The AA platoon consists of 12 AAVP7A1 and is organized into four (4) sections of three vehicles. The platoon is lead by the AA platoon commander who directly advises the infantry company commander on AAV employment.

The AA platoon commander works directly for the supported infantry company commander. When he is the senior AAV officer assigned to an infantry battalion, he also serves as a special staff officer to the infantry battalion commander. The primary duty of the AA platoon commander is to advise the infantry company commander on the use of AAVs in support of the assigned mission. The AA platoon commander occupies the turret of the AAV utilized by the infantry company commander as his command vehicle. The AA platoon commander directs the movement of his platoon in accordance with the intent of the infantry company commander.

The mission of Mine Countermeasure (MCM) platoon is to provide breaching capability to the breach commander. The AA MCM platoon is composed of 24 AAVP7A1/RAM RSs with crews, with 12 MK154 LMC Mod O Kits organized into four sections. The MCM platoon is lead by the platoon commander who supports the breach commander.

The Sensor Control and Management Platoon (SCAMP) mission is to plan, control, and manage the employment of unattended ground remote sensor equipment in support of MAGTFs or other commands as directed. Tasks include: Plan for the employment of unattended ground remote sensors. Operate, monitor, and maintain unattended ground remote equipment. Report items of military significance in response to designated priority intelligence requirements (PIRs) and other intelligence tasks. Train personnel (e.g., infantry Marines, ground reconnaissance Marines, aircrews) to implant unattended ground remote sensor equipment. Implant air-delivered remote sensor equipment by using rotary-wing aviation assets. Provide liaison teams for remote sensor air delivery by fixed-wing aircraft. When operating in support of the MEF, the SCAMP will generally be employed as a platoon. SCAMP employment in support of MEF subordinate units or MAGTFs smaller than a MEF will generally be task organized around either a sensor employment squad or a sensor employment team. A MEU (SOC) typically has no organic SCAMP element; instead, the parent MEF maintains a CONUS-based sensor employment team ready to deploy on 24-hours notice if a MEU(SOC) requires support.

The topographic platoon's mission is to provide tailored geospatial information and services to MAGTFs and other commands as directed. Topographic Platoon is capable of simultaneously supporting three MEUs/SPMAGTFs in addition to a MEF. Generally, support to a MEU or a SPMAGTF will be provided by a terrain analysis team, and support to a MEF will be provided by the entire topographic platoon.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list