The platoon is the basic combat unit capable of maneuvering in the conduct of combat operations. The platoon can fight as part of a pure mechanized infantry company or as part of a company team, task-organized with tank platoons and mechanized infantry platoons. On the battlefield, the platoon can expect rapid and frequent movement. It must be prepared to fight in a variety of situations (mounted and dismounted) to include attacking, defending, delaying, and moving, and during conditions when nuclear and chemical weapons have been used. The platoon operates to make maximum use of both the mounted and dismounted elements. The decision to fight mounted or dismounted and on how both elements will be used are made at platoon level. Once dismounted, the usual relationship is for all four BFVs, under the platoon sergeant's control, to support the squads. This aligns dismounted and mounted tasks, and facilitates command and control.
A-1. MOUNTED ELEMENT
The mechanized infantry platoon is equipped with four BFVs. The mounted element includes two sections (A and B) with two vehicles each--the section leader's vehicle and his wingman. One section may serve as the base of fire while the other section moves. Personnel seating is based on the principles that leadership and area suppression weapons should be dismounted as early as possible (Figure A-1). 1st Squad, when mounted, rides in Section A BFVs, and 2d Squad rides in Section B BFVs (Figure A-2).
a. The platoon leader, his forward observer, and his assistant gunner ride in the platoon headquarters vehicle (BFV 1) in Section A. The platoon sergeant, aidman, and FO RATELO ride in the platoon sergeant's vehicle (BFV 4) in Section B. The platoon RATELO rides in BFV 2.
b. Team A, 1st Squad rides in BFV 1. Team B, 1st Squad and squad leader ride in the platoon leader's wingman vehicle (BFV 2). The BC of BFV 2 is the platoon master gunner. His vehicle orients on the platoon leader's BFV. When the platoon leader dismounts, BFV 2 remains the wingman of BFV 1.
c. The platoon sergeant is usually mounted and controls the mounted element. He may take control of the dismount element as needed. Team B, 2d Squad and squad leader ride in BFV 3. Team A, 2d Squad rides with platoon sergeant (BFV 4).
A-2. DISMOUNT ELEMENT
The dismount element consists of two squads of nine soldiers each including a squad leader and two team leaders. The leader of the dismount element is usually the platoon leader. The platoon sergeant may lead the dismount element when the mounted fight is the main effort and the situation dictates that the platoon leader remain mounted. The BFVs serve as the base of fire for the dismount element. The squads have the capability of setting up a base of fire to fire and move. A squad can also provide its own overwatch element and conduct independent fire and maneuver when required.
a. The senior gunner in the platoon leader's vehicle becomes the BC when the leader dismounts. Upon dismounting, the platoon leader's assistant gunner moves to the gunner's seat. Should the platoon sergeant dismount, the senior gunner becomes the BC. The platoon sergeant must have a trained gunner designated from the fire team in his vehicle. This position should be resourced, and the individual qualified as part of an alternate crew with the senior gunner as the BC.
b. If a dismount is executed in response to an unexpected, life-threatening situation where speed is essential, then only the squads dismount. The BFVs immediately suppress and obscure the enemy while moving to covered dismount points. A quick estimate is made to determine if and when the platoon leader joins the dismount element. Until that time, the senior squad leader controls the dismount element to develop the situation, to provide local security, or to reconnoiter. When the platoon leader dismounts, the senior squad leader performs platoon sergeant duties as designated by the platoon leader.
c. The ability of the squads to fight independently from the BFVs offers the platoon leader and company commander numerous employment options. Because the BFVs can fight effectively when the fire teams dismount, the platoon can fight as two separate elements. The distinct characteristics and advantages provided by the separate elements are simultaneously reinforcing and complementary to one another.
A-3. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The BFV requires a fully trained crew. It carries a fire team whose primary role is to dismount and fight on the ground. The leadership of the BFV-equipped platoon is balanced between the fighting vehicles and the two squads. Leader's roles are complex to accommodate this powerful and flexible capability. Each member of the platoon must be trained and prepared to perform his duties. The organization provides for career progression and depth. There is a mounted and dismounted function and job position for each skill level throughout the platoon. It provides for well-rounded soldiers who can fill voids created by personnel losses in combat or personnel turbulence (changes) or shortfalls in peacetime.
a. Platoon Leader. He is responsible for all that the platoon does or fails to do. This includes the tactical employment, collective training, administration, personnel management, and logistics of his platoon. He must know his soldiers and how to employ the platoon's weapons. He is personally responsible for positioning and employing all assigned or attached weapons. He must also know how to employ supporting weapons. The platoon leader--
(1) Serves as BC and section leader when mounted.
(2) Normally dismounts when the situation causes the platoon to dismount.
(3) Sets the example and the standards.
(4) Leads the platoon to support the company and battalion missions. He bases his actions on the mission the company commander assigns him, the concepts of the company and battalion commanders, and his own estimate of the situation.
(5) Informs his commander of his actions when operating without orders.
(6) Plans with the help of the platoon sergeant, squad leaders, and other key personnel (FO, leaders of attachments, and so on).
(7) Stays abreast of the situation and goes where he is needed to supervise, issue FRAGOs, and accomplish the mission.
(8) Requests more support for his platoon from the company commander to perform its mission, if needed.
(9) Assists the platoon sergeant in planning and coordinating the platoon's CSS effort.
(10) During planning, receives on-hand status reports from the platoon sergeant, squad leader, or both.
(11) Reviews platoon requirements based on the tactical plan.
(12) Develops a casualty evacuation plan.
(13) During execution, checks the work of the platoon sergeant and squad leaders.
b. Platoon Sergeant. He is the senior NCO in the platoon and second in succession of command. He helps and advises the platoon leader, and leads the platoon in the platoon leader's absence. He supervises the platoon's administration, logistics, and maintenance. He may prepare and issue paragraph 4 of the platoon OPORD. The platoon sergeant is responsible for individual training. He must ensure that soldiers can perform their individual MOS tasks. He advises the platoon leader on appointments, promotions and reductions, assignments, and discipline of NCOs and enlisted soldiers in the platoon. The platoon sergeant--
(1) Serves as BC and section leader when mounted.
(2) In some instances, commands and controls the dismount element.
(3) Controls the mounted element when the platoon leader dismounts.
(4) Receives Bradley commanders, squad leaders' administrative, logistical, and maintenance reports and requests for rations, water, fuel, and ammunition. He works with the company's first sergeant or XO to request resupply. He also directs the routing of supplies and mail.
(5) Directs the platoon aidman and platoon aid and litter teams in moving casualties to the rear.
(7) Monitors the morale, discipline, and health of platoon members.
(8) Takes charge of task-organized elements in the platoon during tactical operations. This can include, but is not limited to, the following.
- Quartering parties.
- Security forces in withdrawals.
- Support elements in raids or attacks.
- Security patrols in night attacks.
(9) Coordinates and supervises company-directed platoon resupply operations.
(10) Ensures that supplies are distributed IAW the platoon leader's guidance and direction.
(11) Ensures that ammunition and supplies are properly and evenly distributed (a critical task during consolidation and reorganization).
(12) Ensures that the casualty evacuation plan is complete and executed properly.
c. Bradley Commander. The BC remains mounted and is responsible for commanding the vehicle in relation to the section and platoon. He is responsible for acquiring targets, issuing fire commands, laying the gun for deflection, and controlling vehicle fires to include firing port weapons. The BC is primarily responsible for the overall maintenance of the BFV's weapons systems and the automotive and turret portion of the vehicle. He is also responsible for the weapons training and welfare of the crew. The BCs on BFVs 2 and 3 are responsible for the training, health, and welfare of the crews of the two BFVs in their sections.
d. Squad Leader. There are two squads each led by a staff sergeant. Their squads are habitually associated with a vehicle section. The senior dismounted squad leader is also responsible for the employment of the dismount element until the platoon leader or PSG arrives. He is responsible for all that the squad does or fails to do. He is a tactical leader and, as such, leads by example. The squad leader--
(1) Assists the BC in maintaining the BFVs.
(2) Controls the maneuver of his squad and its rate and distribution of fire. To do this, he controls two fire teams in the offense; selects each fighting position in the defense; and gives the proper commands, codes, and signals to start, stop, and shift fires.
(3) Trains his squad on the individual and collective tasks required to sustain combat effectiveness.
(4) Manages the logistical and administrative needs of his squad. He requests and issues ammunition, water, rations, and special equipment.
(5) Maintains accountability of his soldiers and equipment.
(6) Completes casualty feeder reports and reviews the casualty reports completed by squad members.
(7) Submits requests for awards and decorations.
(8) Directs the maintenance of the squad's weapons and equipment.
(9) Inspects the condition of soldier's weapons, clothing, and equipment.
(10) Ensures that material and supplies are distributed to the soldier in the squad.
(11) Keeps the platoon leader and platoon sergeant informed on squad supply status and squad requirements.
(12) Ensures supplies and equipment are internally cross-leveled within the squad.
e. Platoon Master Gunner. The platoon master gunner is the BC for BFV 2 and the platoon leader's wingman. He is the platoon leader's technical expert on gunnery and turret weapons systems. During combat or field exercises, he advises the platoon leader and PSG on BFV weapons effects, capabilities, and safety. He advises on fire control measures and preparation. He is the key technical trainer of the mounted element under routine supervision of the platoon sergeant. He helps the platoon leader establish the gunnery task for training.
f. Team Leader. Two fire team leaders are in each squad. They perform the same functions as team leaders in all infantry rifle squads and are habitually associated with a specific BFV. They assist the squad leader in the tactical control of the squad. They lead by example. They control the movement and fires of the fire teams. They must keep the soldiers in the troop compartment well informed and alert. They assist the squad leader in training team members on the individual and collective tasks and battle drills. Team members provide the necessary local security and maintenance support for the BFV. They are responsible for the welfare of their teams.
g. Gunner. The gunner observes the battlefield to detect enemy targets. He operates the turret weapons as directed by the BC. The gunner is responsible for verifying the identification of targets before engaging. He serves as gunner and, in rare cases, as BC when only two men are in the BFV He is responsible for operator maintenance of the turret and its weapons. The gunners for the platoon leader and platoon sergeant are often required to assist in navigation and operation of radios.
h. Driver. The driver drives the vehicle under the BC's control. He follows terrain-driving procedures and tries to select hull-down positions. He also aids in detecting targets and observing rounds fired. He assists in navigation by monitoring odometer readings and observing terrain. The driver is primarily responsible for operator maintenance of vehicle automotive systems. (Other squad members help the driver as directed by the platoon leader or platoon sergeant.)
i. Antiarmor Specialist. The antiarmor specialist's primary weapon is the M16A2 rifle. He is also the designated gunner for the Dragon and AT4.
j. Grenadier. The grenadier's primary weapon is the M16A2 rifle equipped with the M203 grenade launcher.
k. Automatic Rifleman. The automatic rifleman's primary weapon is the M249 machine gun. The Bradley squad has three automatic riflemen.
l. Platoon Aidman. The platoon aidman helps the platoon sergeant direct aid and litter teams; he monitors the health and hygiene of the platoon. The platoon aidman--
(1) Treats casualties and assists in their evacuation under the control of the platoon sergeant.
(2) Aids the platoon leader or sergeant in field hygiene matters, and personally checks the health and physical condition of platoon members.
(3) Requests Class VIII (medical) supplies through the platoon sergeant.
(4) Provides technical expertise and supervision of the combat lifesavers.
(5) Carries out other tasks assigned by the platoon leader and platoon sergeant.
m. Platoon Radiotelephone Operator. The platoon RATELO must know the use and care of the radio to include waterproofing and presetting frequencies, the use of the SOI, and how to construct and erect field-expedient antennas.
n. Fire Support Team. The company has a fire support team attached from the DS FA battalion. This team provides each platoon with a two-soldier FO party--an FO and his RATELO.
(1) Forward observer. The FO acts as the eyes of the FA and mortars. He works for the platoon leader. The FO's main responsibilities are to locate targets and to call for and adjust indirect fire support. The FO must be familiar with the terrain that the platoon is operating in and the tactical situation. He must know the mission, the concept, and the platoon's scheme of maneuver and priority of fires. The FO must--
- Inform the FIST headquarters of platoon activities and the fire support situation.
- Prepare and use situation maps, overlays, and terrain sketches.
- Call for and adjust fire support.
- Operate as a team with the RATELO.
- Select targets to support the platoon's mission based on the company OPORD, platoon leader's guidance, and an analysis of METT-T factors.
- Select OPs and movement routes to and from them.
- Maintain communications as prescribed by the FSO.
- Operate the digital message device.
- Maintain the six-digit grid coordinates of his location.
(2) Radiotelephone operator. The RATELO's main duties are to set up, operate, and maintain the FO party's communication equipment. At times, he must also perform the duties of the FO for the platoon.
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