Early British Platoon Video

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john de terre neuve
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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by john de terre neuve » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:29 pm

Hilarious but really most enjoyable and instructive.

Thanks for posting,

John

andysyk
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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by andysyk » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:29 pm

I just noted on the other thread it was crossing as well. :)

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Arlequín
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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by Arlequín » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:42 am

I notice there is reference in Section Leading 1938, to Infantry Training, Training & War 1937, which offers organisation patterns that are totally out of line to what was happening by September 1939.

The infantry platoon remains the same, but the brigade and divisional support elements are largely held at battalion level and there are three battalion types. The carrier platoon is noticeable by its absence too.

It does note that for both infantry and mg battalions though, that the section is the smallest unit of movement in the army; bearing in mind that there were two Vickers Gun teams in a section.

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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by jdg » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:36 am

"Likewise we ignore that the idea of a ten-man section was to have eight for actual battle. It was the same for the Americans, but their target was nine.'

Not the same with the Americans, all members of a squad participated in fights. No left outs of battles.


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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by Arlequín » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:52 am

But they got wounded, sick and went on leave? Plenty of U.S. studies attest to the typical squad running with c. 75% strength in the field.

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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by gebhk » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:07 am

While we can't be certain, the idea behind the huge Polish sections was likely at least in part similar. Given the weak and vulnerable transport situation of the armed forces, it was believed (quite correctly as it turns out!) that it would be difficult to replace casualties in the field. The large squad enabled heavy casualties to be sustained over time without dropping below the 9-man mark, which was thought essential for a squad to be able to function in combat.

Also, and perhaps, pax, jdg you are missing this point, during combat it was necessary to take men out of the squads to serve as runners, liaison persons, form communication chains, serve as guards/observers, fetch food and ammunition, peel potatoes, take back wounded and prisoners, load magazines and so on and so forth on behalf of squad, platoon and company.

Also, while it was much less of a problem for late-war British and American infantrymen who were transported to the battlefield on trucks, in armies that relied on foot-mobility, many men dropped out simply due to shear exhaustion, before they even got to the battle. In an army, like the Polish, which was struggling to outpace a more mobile enemy and often effectively reduced to night-time movement only by enemy air superiority, the level of these 'march' casualties could reach catastrophic proportions despite the large starting numbers.

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Last edited by gebhk on Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Arlequín
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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by Arlequín » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:07 pm

The reason for the change to a three section platoon in the British Army in 1937, wasn't anything to do with combat science or efficiency. It was simply because they were not getting enough men into the Army at that time to support the four section platoon they had used up to that point. Some 'platoons' were not even up to section strength.

Going to three LMG per platoon instead of two, was seen to more than compensate for the loss of eight men from the platoon. Some commentators valued the weapon at 20 riflemen, but I think that's an exaggeration. Eight to ten men seems reasonable.

I thought Rich was a bit harsh on Leslie Hore-Belisha, he did a lot of good in the Army as regards welfare and conditions, which had changed little since the Cardwell Reforms. The Munich Crisis was an eye-opener for him and it was he who fought for and secured large funding for army equipment in February 1939 and against opposition from within the Government and Army, recommended the TA be doubled in size in March and pushed throughthe Military Training Act in May; the first time conscription had occurred in Britain before a war began.

Nearly twenty years of poor funding and military conservatism was the reason for the state of the Army in 1939, not a guy who only became responsible for it in 1937. Basil Liddel-Hart supported him and Oswald Mosley publically described him as a Jewish warmonger, hardly the lable for a guy who was supposedly responsible for the state of the Army in 1940.

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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by andysyk » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:41 am

jdg wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:36 am
"Likewise we ignore that the idea of a ten-man section was to have eight for actual battle. It was the same for the Americans, but their target was nine.'

Not the same with the Americans, all members of a squad participated in fights. No left outs of battles.


jd
Ive got to agree with jd here. Although the US Army may have realised that in action 9 men was a more realistic number that they could count on but the actual Manual Fighting Strength was 12 men.

The British also realised that 8 wasn't going to be achievable, the reason for upping it to 11 men, so that they would have a Fighting Strength of 8 utilising LOB. But later on dropping to 10, that became the Fighting Strength, even though that wasn't a realistic figure either and there is a minimum per section laid down.

After a bit of experience most units in all armies used some form of LOB official or not, hard experience had taught the absolute necessity of keeping some men "safe" so that you could rebuild the unit. And you kept your "best" men out.

Sometimes these had a tactical role, the Germans often kept all the "best" men formed into a sort of Final reserve, Battalions would have such a group drawn from all its components. and these were only put into combat as a last resort, often as a kind of Fire Brigade, several accounts especially on the Eastern Front saying that they "Saved The Day"

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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by andysyk » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:47 am

Arlequín wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:42 am
Infantry Training, Training & War 1937, which offers organisation patterns that are totally out of line to what was happening by September 1939.

The infantry platoon remains the same, but the brigade and divisional support elements are largely held at battalion level and there are three battalion types. The carrier platoon is noticeable by its absence too.

It does note that for both infantry and mg battalions though, that the section is the smallest unit of movement in the army; bearing in mind that there were two Vickers Gun teams in a section.
Yes I saw that reference and was just searching for Infantry Training. What a nightmare the BEF must have been in terms of what all ranks considered the practical and official methods! Of course those two varying wildly. No wonder Battle Drill met such resistance. Many experienced soldiers would have been convinced they knew better.

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Arlequín
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Re: Early British Platoon Video

Post by Arlequín » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:57 am

Other than basic training, all training was conducted within regiment, so apart from the manuals, each training cadre would only provide training in line with how up to speed it was as a collective and ultimately limited by the imagination of the NCOs delivering it.

You can imagine battalions returning from four to six years in India certainly did things differently to the newly mobilised TA and the newly conscripted 'militia' units.

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