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Singapore Army

The combat units of the army were organized into infantry and armored brigades and antiaircraft artillery battalions. Although there was one division headquarters for the regular army and two division headquarters for the reserves, these arrangements undoubtedly were established for administrative purposes. Because of the scarcity of open land in Singapore, most unit training was conducted at the battalion and lower levels. Combat support was provided by engineer, signal, transportation, maintenance, and medical units.

In 1989 there were three infantry brigades in the regular army and six infantry brigades in the reserves comprising approximately thirty infantry battalions. Three of these battalions were trained in airmobile operations for rapid deployment to trouble spots and two others for commando operations. The primary offensive mission assigned to the infantry included moving into populated and rural areas occupied by an enemy force and retaking territory. Defensive missions included deployment to strategic points on the main island and surrounding islands to protect areas inaccessible to armored and artillery units; protection of tank and artillery units during enemy assaults; and movement behind enemy lines to harass combat units, interdict lines of communication and supply, and collect intelligence.

Each infantry battalion was organized into a headquarters company, four rifle companies, and a support company. Most rifle companies were equipped with indigenously produced SAR80 assault rifles and Ultimax-100 machine guns. The support company included a reconnaissance platoon, 81mm mortar platoon, 106mm recoilless gun platoon, engineer platoon, and a sniper section. Unit training emphasized conventional and unconventional tactics for urban and jungle warfare, marksmanship, marching, concealment, and survival techniques. The three airmobile battalions and two commando battalions were given airborne and ranger training in addition to their infantry training.

The army had one active-duty armored brigade and an additional armored brigade in the reserves. Each brigade comprised one tank battalion and two mechanized infantry battalions. The Frenchproduced AMX-13 light tank was used by both tank brigades. Mechanized infantry units used either M-113, V-150 or V-200 armored personnel carriers. In wartime, armored units would have the mission of assaulting and defending against heavily armed enemy units. Unit training focused on combined arms operations, assaults on fortified and soft targets, and tactics for countering enemy antitank guns and missiles.

There were seventeen field artillery, mortar, and antiaircraft artillery battalions in the army. Two battalions were equipped with American-produced and Israeli-produced 155mm guns. Each gun was operated by a twelve-man crew and could be used in wartime for long-range (ten to twenty kilometers) artillery support for infantry and armored units. The equivalent of twelve battalions of mortar-equipped troops provided direct support to infantry units during assaults on enemy positions. Most of these units were equipped with indigenously produced 120mm mortars that could be towed into combat on a light two-wheeled trailer attached to a jeep. Some mortar units also had M-113 armored personnel carriers that were modified to serve as the firing platform for 120mm mortars. In offensive operations, these units would follow closely behind armored forces to provide counterfire against enemy artillery and tanks. There were also the equivalent of three battalions of antiaircraft artillery in the army. Most of these units were equipped with either the Swedish-produced singlebarrelled 40mm automatic gun or the Swiss-produced Oerlikon twinbarrelled 35mm automatic gun.

Responsibility for various types of combat support was delegated to several army commands, which were responsible for providing engineer, signal, transportation, and other services. The army had the equivalent of eleven battalions of combat engineers, five in the regular army and six reserve units. Engineer companies and platoons were attached to the combat units and during wartime would be responsible for clearing minefields, breaching obstacles, building bridges, supporting amphibious operations, and preparing defensive positions. There were the equivalent of four signal battalions. Signal units also were attached to the combat units, probably down to company level.

Most transportation units were deployed to army bases located throughout the country and supported both regular and reserve units assigned to that base. In wartime, the army's Transportation Headquarters would quickly acquire civilian vehicles through its civil resources mobilization center. Weapons and military material that required maintenance usually were delivered to designated stations where they were exchanged or repaired. Each army base had a hospital and medical units that were deployed with combat units during military exercises. During wartime, the medical units would establish field hospitals to accommodate personnel wounded in battle until they could be transported to military or civilian hospitals.

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Page last modified: 27-10-2018 18:35:34 ZULU