Find a Security Clearance Job!




The smoke platoon, mechanized or motorized, is the basic unit capable of generating large-area smoke screens. The smoke platoon can support ground maneuver forces or operate in the rear area providing support to fixed facilities. Mechanized smoke platoons can expect to operate in the forward combat area. They can expect rapid and frequent movements. Contact with enemy forces is probable. Motorized smoke units, depending on the type of unit they are supporting, also can operate in the forward combat area. However, motorized smoke will require more security from the supported unit when operating in the forward combat area. The smoke platoon also must operate in a manner that makes maximum use of its capability to generate large-area smoke screens.



The heavy division smoke platoons are organized with a platoon headquarters, two smoke squads, and a support squad (figure 2-1).

Each smoke squad has three M1059 mechanized smoke carriers. The platoon headquarters consists of the platoon leader and platoon sergeant and one M1059. The platoon leader operates out of the headquarter's M1059. The platoon sergeant operates from one of the squad's M1059. The support squad has two 5-ton cargo trucks with tank and pump units mounted on them.



The smoke platoon in a corps mechanized smoke company is organized identically to the heavy division smoke platoon.


The corps motorized smoke platoon is organized with a platoon headquarters and three smoke squads (figure 2-2). There are no support assets organic to the platoon; a separate support platoon is organized at company level. Each smoke squad is equipped with M157 smoke generators mounted on M1037 high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV).


The corps motorized smoke company's support platoon is organized with a platoon headquarters and three support squads (figure 2-3). Each support squad is equipped with one 5-ton cargo truck with tank-and-pump units. Each platoon can haul 3,600-gallons of bulk petroleum product (fog oil, diesel, or MOGAS (motor gasoline) based on the commander's guidance). Each support squad is typically task-organized to a smoke platoon when the smoke platoons operate independently of the company.



The platoon leader is responsible to the commander for the overall discipline and training of his platoon and the maintenance of its equipment. He is responsible to the company commander or the supported unit for planning and executing successful tactical operations. He also must serve as an effective vehicle commander.


The platoon sergeant is second in command and is responsible to the platoon leader for maintenance, sustainment operations, and discipline. He also serves as a vehicle commander.


The squad leader has overall responsibility for the squad. While conducting smoke operations, the squad leader directs the movement of his squad, selects vehicle positions, and selects routes of movement. He also designates targets and issues fire commands. The squad leader communicates with the platoon leader and reacts to the platoon leader's commands. The squad leader coordinates and supervises the preparation of the squad to conduct operations.


The vehicle commander is responsible to the squad leader for the discipline and training of the crew, the maintenance of assigned equipment, the reporting of logistical needs, and the tactical employment of his vehicle. He is responsible for the mounted security of his vehicle. He briefs his crew, directs the movement of his vehicle, submits all reports, and supervises initial first aid and evacuation of wounded crew members. He is responsible for the generation of smoke and the firing of all weapons.


The smoke generator operator is responsible for the operation of the vehicles' smoke generator systems. He supervises the refueling of the fog oil tanks and the MOGAS cans on the vehicle. Additionally, he ensures that all equipment is tied down on the vehicle. He is also responsible for the maintenance on the smoke systems and assists the driver in maintaining the vehicle.


The driver is responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle and accountability of any vehicle equipment, to include commo systems. He drives the vehicle under the vehicle commander's control, using cover and concealment in accordance with the designated movement formation and technique. The driver assists the vehicle commander with maintaining mounted security.



The M1059 mechanized smoke carrier consists of an M113A2 armored personnel carrier with an M157 smoke generator set. The M157 is mounted on the carrier and cannot be dismounted. The M157 smoke generator set consists of two M54 smoke generator assemblies, a fog oil tank, air compressor assembly, fog oil pump assembly, and a control panel assembly. The M54 smoke generator assembly is a gasoline-operated pulse jet engine that vaporizes fog oil. The fog oil tank, mounted inside the carrier, holds up to 120 gallons of fog oil. The tank also acts as the mount for the fog oil pump assembly. This assembly contains two in-line fog oil pumps. The fog oil is drawn from the fog oil tank and is pumped to the smoke generators. The air compressor assembly uses a pressure tank to store the compressed air needed for starting and purging the pulse jet engine. The control panel assembly contains the necessary switches, controls, and indicators for operating and monitoring each smoke generator, fog oil pump, and the air compressor.

The M1059 has a crew of three: vehicle commander, driver, and smoke generator operator. The vehicle commander also acts as the gunner for the M2 machinegun or MK19 40mm grenade machinegun. The M1059 has smoke grenade launchers which can provide self protective obscuration to enhance survivability.


The M157 motorized smoke carrier consists of the same components as the M1059, except they are mounted on an M1037 HMMWV chassis. The motorized smoke carrier has a typical crew of two and is normally equipped with an M60 machinegun. As with the M1059, the M157 smoke generator sets cannot be dismounted from the vehicle.


The M3A4 pulse jet mechanical smoke generator is designed to generate large-area smoke screens using fog oil. The M3A4 operates on the same principle as the M54 smoke generator, except that the M3A4 can be dismounted. The M3A4 has nine assemblies; the engine, adjustable float, engine head, air pump, magneto-air pump, M4 fog oil pump, fuel tank, tool box, and frame. The engine is started by either a manually operated magneto-air pump or by releasing accumulated air. The engine is started by a manually operated air pump. The M3A4 can be carried by two soldiers. Fog oil is drawn from its own container by a fog oil pump mounted on the engine assembly. The M3A4 can only be operated when stationary.


This section provides capabilities charts for mobile and stationary smoke and a planning guide for spacing/march intervals for controlling smoke effectiveness.

Mobile Smoke Capabilities

Table 2-1 provides the estimated ranges of smoke coverage for mobile smoke units. The assumptions used to calculate this data is:

  • Smoke produced by 6 vehicle (12 generators).
  • Smoke generators were M157.
  • Vehicle are spaced 100 meters apart.
  • Vehicles traveling one behind another at 15 km/hr.
  • Platoon uses the racetrack technique with two different size orbits (500 and 1000 meters). The different orbits are shown under the column titled Platoon's Major Axis.
  • Fog oil clouds only with a screening of the optical spectrum from 0.7 to 1.2 microns.

The range varies from low figures based on unstable weather and high wind speeds to high figures based on stable weather with moderate wind speeds. Use this table as a planning guide when assigning potential smoke targets to smoke platoons.

Stationary Smoke Capabilities

Table 2-2 provides the estimated ranges of smoke coverage for stationary smoke units. Use this table as a planning guide when assigning potential smoke targets to smoke platoons. The assumptions used to calculate this data is:

  • Smoke produced by 6 vehicle (12 generators).
  • Smoke generators were M157.
  • Fog oil clouds only with a screening of the optical spectrum from 0.7 to 1.2 microns.

The range varies from low figures based on unstable weather and high wind speeds to high figures based on stable weather with moderate wind speeds.

Smoke Generator Calculations

Step 1. Determine wind speed, air stability, and type terrain. Determine visibility requirement. Reading left to right, determine the smoke generator position spacing.

Step 2. Determine desired smoke line length. Divide the smoke line length by the spacing requirement. Add one. This figure represents the number of smoke positions needed.

Step 3. Reading left to right, determine the distance in meters smoke line from target area.

Smoke Generator Class III Consumption Tables

Use Tables 2-4 and 2-5 to determine fog oil and MOGAS consumption for smoke generators. These tables are based on normal consumption of a smoke generator platoon running all generators simultaneously. When a crew operates a single M3A4 or M157 smoke generator, multiply the planning figure by 0.5.

Smoke Pot Planning Tables

Table 2-6 is the spacing guide for smoke pots. When using Table 2-6 to determine actual spacing requirements, round up all answers (decimals) to the next larger whole number. To use this table, you must know the length of the target area in meters and the spacing between pots in meters, plus how long the target must be smoked. Enter the table from the left-smoke time. Locate the spacing between pots at the top of the table. Under the spacing, find your target length. The cell where this column and the smoke time row intersect contains the number of pots needed.

Join the mailing list