Mad Mike (mikechoi@pacbell.net)
Sat, 22 Jul 2000 14:01:27 -0700


-Z- wrote:
>
> I was going through some of my references the other day when I happened on an
> item by a Marine colonel who'd commanded some 3,500 Marines in Vietnam. This
> item also noted that the Marines were organized into 114 platoons.

        Sounds about right for a Marine infantry regiment. A Marine artillery
regiment are organized diferently because of its need to provide fire
support
for maneuver elements.
        Marines generally view the infantry, the rifleman as their means to
close
on the enemy, engage him and destroy him with force arms.

 
> That reminded me of discussions we'd had here on the size of platoons and such,
> so I read further. It seems that a Vietnam era Marine platoon was 30 to 35
> troopers and consisted of two squads of 15 troopers each. (The extra 1 to 5
> troopers, when present, were command officers or specialized personnel) Each
> squad was then divided into teams of 3 to 5 troopers.

        Generally Marines are a lot larger than army type divisions because
their organization calls for more infantry amongst other things and
aviation
component always subordinate to the senio ground forces commander. The
United States Marines in its nature is su generis- for it has a very
unique
mission. Amphibious assault; take any beachfrront property, send the
lowly
PFC or LCPL 0300 rifleman and take that ground and raise the stars and
stripes
for the world to see.
        As such- the need for lots of infantry and men who are motivated and
equipped to perform these feats a Marine rifle squad is thirteen men-
three
four man fire teams and a squad leader. Four of these squads along
with a
platoon commander, platoon NCO, a radioman, a hospital corpsman (a
sailor),
and possibly a fire support/forward observer team or NCO usually round
out
the command and support structure. Granted it is a rare thing when a
unit has
its full number of men and equipment because war after all is an
exercise in
shortages and the side that has more than the other wins for the most
part.

 
> By this reckoning, the 08th MS Team is indeed a Team, not a Platoon, although it
> and the other MS teams (presumably 07 through 12, six 5-trooper teams, in two
> squads of three teams, 07 through 09 and 10 through 12) were part of the 2nd MS
> Platoon. The 1st MS Platoon is implied by the numbering, since it would consist
> of Teams 01 through 06.

        Teams are combined arms but usually anything lower than platoon
level there's a fundamental problem. Principles of war include mass
and
one never has enough troops to his liking although leaders will agree
getting the McClellan like case of the "slows" warrants the local
NKVD having said officer shot for incompetence (as well as
chlorinating
the human gene pool). Below company level there's not enough numbers
to
provide adequate coverage of the ground even if there is adequate fire
support for the elements within this platoon type outfit.
        Incidnetally I'm using the US Army "teams" as a model. Within
divisional brigades where battalions are permanently assigned to there
is a tendency if not doctrine that mechanized infantry and armor trade
one company each to form up either infantry or armor task forces
(usually labelled as TF as the number and regiment of these units).
And in these task forces there's platoon swap where the battalion
CO- those are teams and usually called Team and the company letter-
ie Team Alpha, Team Bravo, Team Charlie.
        08th MS Team is organized more along the lines of a classic tank
platoon
but with three mobile suits it strikes me as Brititsh and Russian
style where
the emphasis is on centralized command and control and not American
and German
who believe in a four tank platoon generally divided intoa command
and trailing/
platoon NCO element which covers more ground and very useful in
overwatch.
        Seeing how there is dearth of canon information regarding Fed or even
Jion TOE- what kind of structure they possess, and whether these
forces are Army or Navy type (read Japanese military history to find
out
that fundamental clash between the Kaigun and the Japanese Army of the
War in China and Second World War)
        Second looking at the command organization that "Team" is very NCO
heavy (but again war time experience the old Japanese army didn't have
the
same respected or developed NCO cadre that the US and Britain tried to
maintain) but commanded by a very green junior company grade officer.
By
this very command structure 08th or 8th MS Team is a platoon type
command;
a billet for a junior officer to taste battle.

> That gives us two MS platoons on Earth. We know from Gundam 0083 that Burning,
> Monsha, Bait and Adel were part of the "Immortal 4th Platoon" but we don't know
> if that was a Terrestrial or a Space unit. If it was the latter, we can posit
> four MS Platoons, two on Earth and two in Space.

        Or could they be the perogaitve of the translators? Could they be
viewed as flights?
        Remember there is real problem trying to translate military and
naval ranks because for teh msot part the titles are the same. There
are no seperate words for seaman versus private for teh most part or
ensign versus 2nd lieutenant (or leftenant if you have a thing for the
Queen)

 
> So, if Gundam follows the Marine pattern, we have an MS Team of five troopers,
> with three MS to be piloted and a hovertruck with a crew of two. Three such
> Teams make a squad with nine MS and three hovertrucks, six a Platoon with 18 MS
> and six hovertrucks. Two such Platoons is a force of 36 MS and 12 hovertrucks.

        Which probably makes this more of a trangular Briitsh or French
armor/cavalry regiment commanded by either a major slotted for better
things
or light colonel rather than a captain or a newly promoted major.
Judging
by the old fart that the boot brown bar meets up with i'd say that
commanding
officer is a field grade officer if I've seen one and expects his
leaders if
not to act like Young Turks then to die gloriously (or at least not
get in
the way). Course that is my innate cyncism speaking.

                                                                Mad Mike
 

-- 

Spike--"We like to talk big... vampires do. "I'm going to destroy the world." That's just tough-guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I _like_ this world. You've got...dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Good-bye, Picadilly. Farewell Leicester-bloody-Square."

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