ATP 3-21.8 - ORGANIZATION

ORGANIZATION

1-35. The Infantry rifle platoon and its squads can be task-organized alone or as a combined arms force based upon METT-TC. (See figure 1-1.) Its effectiveness increases through the synergy of combined arms including tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles (BFVs) and Stryker Infantry carrier vehicles (ICVs), engineers, and other support elements. The Infantry rifle platoon and squad as a combined arms force can capitalize on the strengths of the team’s elements while minimizing their limitations.

Infantry rifle platoon chart

Figure 1-1. Infantry platoon or squad

1-36. Infantry units can operate in all terrain and weather conditions. They might be the dominant force because of rapid strategic deployment. In such cases, they can take and gain the initiative early, seize and hold ground, and mass fires to stop the enemy. Infantry units are particularly effective in urban terrain, where they can infiltrate and move rapidly to the rear of enemy positions. The leader can enhance their mobility by using helicopters and airlift.

1-37. The fundamental considerations for employing Infantry units result from the missions, types, equipment, capabilities, limitations, and organization of units. Other capabilities result from a unit's training program, leadership, morale, personnel strengths, and many other factors. These other capabilities constantly change based on the current situation.

 

INFANTRY SQUAD FIRE TEAM

1-38. The Infantry squad fire team is designed to fight as a team and is the fighting element within the Infantry platoon. Infantry platoons and squads succeed or fail based on the actions of their fire teams.

1-39. The Infantry squad fire team is designed as a self-contained team. (See figure 1-2.) The automatic rifleman provides an internal base of fire with the ability to deliver sustained suppressive small arms fire on area targets. The rifleman provides accurate, lethal direct fire for point targets. The rifleman may be issued an SLM. The grenadier provides high explosive (HE) indirect fires for both point and area targets. A team leader leads his team by example.

Infantry fire team

Figure 1-2. Infantry fire team

 

INFANTRY SQUAD

1-40. Currently, there is only one type of Infantry squad and its primary role is a maneuver or base-of-fire element. (See figure 1-3). While the platoon’s task organization may change, the Infantry squad’s organization generally remains standard.

1-41. The Infantry squad is a model for all tactical task organizations. It is comprised of two fire teams and a squad leader. It can establish a base of fire, providing security for another element, or conducting fire and movement with one team providing a base of fire, while the other team moves to the next position of advantage or onto an objective. The squad leader has two subordinate leaders to lead the two teams, freeing him to control the entire squad.

Note. The combat load for an SLM is two per rifle squad. Either two M72-series light antitank weapon (AT), M136-series antitank (AT4), M141 bunker defeat munitions (BDMs) or a combination thereof are normally issued to the rifleman.

Infantry squad

Figure 1-3. Infantry squad

 

INFANTRY WEAPONS SQUAD

1-42. The Infantry weapons squad provides the primary base of fire for the platoon’s maneuver. It is comprised of two medium machine gun teams, two medium CCMS teams, and a weapons squad leader. (See figure 1-4.)

Infantry weapons squad

Figure 1-4. Infantry weapons squad

 

MEDIUM MACHINE GUN TEAM

1-43. The two-man medium machine gun team is comprised of a gunner and an assistant gunner. The weapon squad has two medium machine gun teams. These teams provide the platoon with medium-range area suppression at ranges up to 1100 meters during day, night, and adverse weather conditions.

Note.When referring to the medium machine gun in this manual, it refers to the M240-series machine gun. There are several variants of the M240. They are the M240, M240B, M240C, M240D, M240E, M240G, M240H and M240L, each supporting their specific platform. The M240B is the standard Infantry medium machine gun of the U.S. Army. The M240L machine gun is the next generation medium machine gun, currently being fielded to replace the M240B.

 

CLOSE COMBAT MISSILE TEAM

1-44. The two-man close combat missile team is comprised of a gunner and an ammunition handler. Currently, the team uses the Javelin missile system. The weapon squad has two close combat missile system teams. This system provides the platoon with an extremely lethal fire-and-forget, man-portable, direct- and top-attack capability to defeat enemy armored vehicles and destroy fortified positions at ranges up to 2000 meters. The Javelin has proven effective during day, night, and adverse weather conditions.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1-45. This section describes the duties and responsibilities of personnel and habitual attachments in the Infantry rifle platoon and squad.

PLATOON LEADER

1-46. The platoon leader leads his Soldiers by personal example and is responsible for all the platoon does or fails to do, having complete authority over his subordinates. This centralized authority enables him to maintain unit discipline, unity, and to act decisively. He must be prepared to exercise initiative within his company commander’s intent and without specific guidance for every situation. The platoon leader knows his Soldiers, how to employ the platoon, its weapons, and its systems. Relying on the expertise of the platoon sergeant, the platoon leader regularly consults with him on all platoon matters. During operations, the platoon leader

  • Leads the platoon in supporting the higher headquarters missions. He bases his actions on his assigned mission and intent and concept of his higher commanders.
  • Conducts troop leading procedures.
  • Maneuvers squads and fighting elements. Synchronizes the efforts of squads.
  • Looks ahead to the next “move” of the platoon.
  • Requests, controls, and synchronizes supporting assets.
  • Employs mission command systems available to the squads and platoon.
  • Checks with squad leaders ensuring 360-degree, three-dimensional security is maintained.
  • Checks with weapons squad leader controlling the emplacement of key weapon systems.
  • Issues accurate and timely reports.
  • Places himself where he is most needed to accomplish the mission.
  • Assigns clear tasks and purposes to the squads.
  • Understands the mission and commanders intent two levels up (company and battalion).
  • Receives on-hand status reports from the platoon sergeant and squad leaders during planning.
  • Coordinates and assists in the development of the obstacle plan.
  • Oversees and is responsible for property management.

1-47. The platoon leader works to develop and maintain situational understanding. This is a product of four elements. First, the platoon leader attempts to know what is happening in present terms of friendly, enemy, neutral, and terrain situations. Second, he knows the end state representing mission accomplishment. Third, he determines the critical actions and events occurring to move his unit from the present to the end state. Finally, he assesses the risk throughout.

PLATOON SERGEANT

1-48. The platoon sergeant is the platoon's most experienced NCO and second-in-charge, accountable to the platoon leader for leadership, discipline, training, and welfare of the platoon's Soldiers. He sets the example in everything. He assists the platoon leader by upholding standards and platoon discipline. His expertise includes tactical maneuver, employment of weapons and systems, sustainment, administration, security, accountability, protection warfighting functions, and Soldier care. As the second-in-charge, the platoon sergeant assumes no formal duties except those prescribed by the platoon leader. However, the platoon sergeant traditionally

  • Ensures the platoon is prepared to accomplish its mission, which includes supervising precombat checks and inspections.
  • Updates platoon leader on appropriate reports and forwards reports needed by higher headquarters.
  • Prepares to assume the role and responsibilities of the platoon leader.
  • Takes charge of task-organized elements in the platoon during tactical operations,which may include but is not limited to, quartering parties, support elements in raids or attacks, and security patrols.
  • Monitors the morale, discipline, and health of the platoon.
  • Positions where best needed to help the engagement (either in the base of fire or with the assault element).
  • Receives squad leaders administrative, logistical, and maintenance reports, and requests rations, water, fuel, and ammunition.
  • Requests logistical support from the higher headquarters, and usually coordinates with the company’s first sergeant or executive officer.
  • Ensures Soldiers maintain all equipment.
  • Ensures ammunition and supplies are properly and evenly distributed after the platoon consolidates on the objective and while the platoon reorganizes.
  • Manages the unit’s combat load prior to operations, and monitors logistical status during operations.
  • Establishes and operates the unit’s casualty collection point (CCP). This includes directing the platoon medic and aid/litter teams in moving casualties, maintains platoon strength level information, consolidates and forwards the platoon’s casualty reports, and receives and orients replacements.
  • Employs the available digital mission command systems to the squads and platoon.
  • Ensures Soldiers distribute supplies according to the platoon leader’s guidance and direction.
  • Accounts for Soldiers, equipment, and supplies.
  • Coaches, counsels, and mentors Soldiers.
  • Upholds standards and platoon discipline.
  • Understands the mission and commanders intent two levels up (company and battalion).

WEAPONS SQUAD LEADER

1-49. The weapons squad leader leads his teams by personal example. He has complete authority over his subordinates and overall responsibility for those subordinates’ actions. This centralized authority enables him to act decisively while maintaining troop discipline and unity. Under the fluid conditions of modern warfare, he accomplishes assigned missions using disciplined initiative without needing constant guidance from higher headquarters. 1-50. The weapons squad leader is usually the senior squad leader, second only to the platoon sergeant, and performs all the duties of the rifle squad leader. In addition, the weapons squad leader

  • Controls fires and establishes fire control measures.
  • Recommends medium machine gun employment to the platoon leader.
  • Coordinates directly with the platoon leader for medium machine gun base-of-fire effect, and plans accordingly.
  • Monitors ammunition expenditure.
  • Coordinates directly with the platoon leader in placement of the Javelin-CCMS to best cover armored avenues of approach in the defense and overwatch positions in the attack.
  • Employs mission command systems available to the squad and platoon.
  • Performs the role of the platoon sergeant as required.
  • Conducts troop leading procedures.
  • Understands the mission two levels up (platoon and company).

SQUAD LEADER

1-51. The squad leader directs team leaders and leads by personal example. He has authority over his subordinates and overall responsibility of those subordinates’ actions. Centralized authority enables him to act decisively while maintaining troop discipline and unity. Under the fluid conditions of close combat, the squad leader accomplishes assigned missions without constant guidance from higher headquarters.

1-52. The squad leader is the senior Infantry Soldier in the squad and is responsible for everything the squad does or fails to do. He is responsible for the care of the squad’s Soldiers, weapons, and equipment, and leads the squad through two team leaders. During operations, the squad leader

  • Is the subject matter expert on all battle and individual drills.
  • Is the subject matter expert for the squad’s organic weapons employment, and employment of supporting assets.
  • Knows weapon effects, surface danger zones, and risk estimate distances for all munitions.
  • Uses control measures for direct fire, indirect fire, and tactical movement effectively.
  • Controls the movement of the squad and its rate and distribution of fire (including call for and adjust fire).
  • Fights the close fight by fire and movement with two fire teams and available supporting weapons.
  • Selects the fire team’s general location and temporary sector of fires in the defense.
  • Communicates timely and accurate situation reports (SITREPs) and status reports including
    • Size, activity, location, unit, time, and equipment (SALUTE) spot reports(SPOTREPs).
    • Status to the platoon leader (including squad location and progress, enemy situation, enemy killed in action [KIA], and security posture).
    • Status of ammunition, casualties, and equipment to the platoon sergeant.
  • Employs digital mission command systems available to the squad and platoon.
  • Operates in all environments to include the urban environment.
  • Conducts troop leading procedures.
  • Assumes duties as the platoon sergeant or platoon leader as required.
  • Understands the mission and commander’s intent two levels up (platoon and company).

TEAM LEADER

1-53. The team leader leads his team members by personal example and has authority over his subordinates and overall responsibility of their actions. Centralized authority enables him to maintain troop discipline and unity and to act decisively. Under the fluid conditions of close combat, he accomplishes assigned missions using initiative without needing constant guidance from higher headquarters.

1-54. The team leader’s position on the battlefield requires immediacy and accuracy in all of his actions and is a fighting leader who leads by example. He is responsible for all his team does or fails to do, and is responsible for caring of the team’s Soldiers, weapons, and equipment. During operations, the team leader

  • Is the subject matter expert for all the team’s weapons and duty positions and all squad battle drills.
  • Leads his team in fire and movement.
  • Controls the movement of his team and its rate and distribution of fire.
  • Employs digital mission command systems available to the squad and platoon.
  • Ensures security of the team’s area of operations.
  • Assists the squad leader as required.
  • Is prepared to assume the duties of squad leader and platoon sergeant.
  • Enforces field discipline and preventive medicine measures.
  • Determines his team’s combat load and manages its available classes of supply as required.
  • Understands the mission two levels up (squad and platoon).

1-55. When maneuvering the team, the team fights using one of three techniques. This includes: Individual movement techniques. This is the lowest level of movement.

  • Buddy team fire and movement.
  • Fire team fire and movement (maneuver).

1-56. Determining a suitable technique is based on the effectiveness of the enemy’s fire and available cover and concealment. The more effective the enemy’s fire, the lower the level of movement. Because the team leader leads his team, he is able to make this assessment firsthand. Other leaders must be sensitive to his decision on movement.

GRENADIER

1-57. The grenadier currently is equipped with an M203/M320 weapon system consisting of an M16-series or M4-series rifle/carbine and an attached 40-mm grenade launcher. He provides the fire team with a high trajectory and an HE capability out to 350 meters. His fire enables the fire team to achieve complementary effects with high trajectory, HE munitions, and flat trajectory ball ammunition from the team’s weapons. The grenade launcher allows the grenadier to perform three functions: suppress and destroy enemy Infantry and lightly armored vehicles with HE or high explosive dual purpose (HEDP); provide obscurants to screen and cover his squad’s fire and movement; and employ illumination rounds to increase his squad’s visibility and mark enemy positions. The grenadier

  • Accomplishes all tasks of the rifleman.
  • Engages targets with appropriate type of rounds both day and night.
  • Identifies 40-mm rounds by shape and color. He must know how to employ each type of round and know its minimum safety constraints.
  • Knows the maximum ranges for each type of target of the grenade launcher.
  • Knows the leaf sight increments without seeing the markings.
  • Knows how to make an adjustment from the first round fired so a second-round hit can be attained.
  • Loads the grenade launcher quickly in all firing positions and while running.
  • Is prepared to assume the duties of the automatic rifleman and team leader.
  • Understands the mission two levels up (squad and platoon).

AUTOMATIC RIFLEMAN

1-58. The automatic rifleman’s primary weapon is currently the 5.56-mm M249 light machine gun. The automatic rifleman provides the unit with a high volume of sustained suppressive direct fires of area targets. The automatic rifleman employs his weapon system to suppress enemy Infantry and bunkers, destroy enemy automatic rifle and AT teams, and enable the movement of other teams and squads. He is normally the senior Soldier of the fire team and must

  • Be able to accomplish all tasks of the rifleman and grenadier.
  • Be prepared to assume the duties of team leader and squad leader.
  • Be able to engage groups of enemy personnel, thin-skinned vehicles, bunker doors or apertures, and suspected enemy locations with automatic fire.
  • Be able to provide suppressive fire on these targets so his teammates can close with and destroy the enemy.
  • Be familiar with field expedient firing aids to enhance the effectiveness of his weapon: an example is aiming stakes.
  • Be able to engage targets from the prone, kneeling, and standing positions with and without night observation devices, and understands the mission two levels up(squad and platoon).

RIFLEMAN

1-59. The rifleman provides the baseline standard for all Infantry Soldiers and is an integral part of the fire team. The rifleman is an expert in handling and employing the weapon and placing well-aimed fire on the enemy. Additionally, the rifleman must

  • Be an expert on his weapon system, his rifle, its optics, and its laser-aiming device,and is effective with this weapon system day or night.
  • Be capable of engaging all targets with well-aimed shots.
  • Employ all weapons of the squad, as well as common munitions.
  • Construct and occupy a hasty firing position and know how to fire from it. He must know how to occupy covered and concealed positions in all environments and what protection they provide from direct fire weapons, and is competent in the performance of these tasks while using night vision devices.
  • Fight as part of his unit, which includes proficiency in his individual tasks and drills. Know the duties of his teammates and is prepared to fill in with their weapons, if needed.
  • Contribute as a member of special teams, including detainee search, aid/litter,demolitions and. wire/mine breach teams.
  • Inform his team leader of everything he hears and sees when in a tactical situation.
  • Perform individual preventive medical measures. Administer buddy aid as required.
  • Manage his food, water, and ammunition during operations. Be prepared to assume the duties of the automatic rifleman and team leader.
  • Understand the mission two levels up (squad and platoon).

 

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