Those who know, know. Part III.
Oh, and it’s NEVER Black Flag out there. When I say never, I mean ALWAYS. ‘Cept when it’s freezing-ass cold.
So, in our post about the Marines catching some flack for choosing a wheeled amphibious combat vehicle, jjak had a decent question:
So how will a 10-man vehicle hold a 13 man squad? Based on this http://xbradtc.com/2015/01/13/the-rifle-squad/ discussion the 13-man squad is superior. Any idea if the Marines will choose to cut down the squad size or split into multiple vehicles while waiting for the gen 2 vehicle with more seats? If they ever come.
Once the gen 2 vehicles arrive what happens to the 10 seat version? I’d make them engineering vehicles or mortar carriers or some other specialist vehicle, but maybe someone has a line on the official plan.
The answer is, as always, the Marines are weird.
Actually, not so much weird, as they do mechanized/mounted operations a little differently than the Army does, and because of that, the lack of squad integrity in the vehicle is not quite an insurmountable challenge. It’s not ideal, no, but it’s not the end of the world.
As we’ve mentioned, the Marine rifle squad is 13 men, a Squad Leader, and three four man fire teams. A Marine Rifle platoon consists of a four man headquarters, and three rifle squads. That’s 43 men. Obviously, that means four ACVs, with a capacity of 10 each is insufficient lift for one platoon. Of course, units are almost always understrength, so there’s a good chance everyone present for duty would find a seat.
Except, each Marine Rifle Company, in addition to its headquarters and three rifle platoons, also has a weapons platoon, with 60mm mortar teams, SMAW assault weapon teams, and six medium machine gun teams. The weapons platoon is not normally deployed as a single tactical unit. Rather, its teams, particularly the SMAW and machine gun teams, are attached to the rifle platoons to augment their firepower. Add in the Navy Corpsman that routinely accompanies a platoon, any other attachments such as Forward Observers or Scout Snipers, and pretty soon, you’ve got 50 or more men that need to travel with the platoon.
One major difference between Army mounted infantry, and Marine mounted infantry is that in the Army, the vehicles are organic to the unit, all the way down to the platoon level. That is, every mech or Stryker infantry platoon owns its four vehicles.
But in the Marines, the infantry platoon doesn’t own any vehicles. The Amphibious Assault Vehicles (and presumably the ACVs in the future) belong to the division, and are shared out as needed to support various units.
Further, the size of Marine amphibious vehicles has never been keyed to any particular tactical unit. Instead, space restrictions on amphibious assault shipping argued instead for larger vehicles carrying as many Marines as reasonably possible.
Because of this, the Marines are far less concerned with squad integrity when mounted. Provided unit integrity can be maintained at the platoon, or at least the company level, they’ll improvise, adapt, and overcome.
Four days after the bloody struggle to come ashore on Iwo Jima’s fire-swept black volcanic sand beaches, a patrol from 28th Marines was ordered to the top of the sullen volcanic lump that dominated the six square miles of sulphur and rock. The seven-man patrol under the Executive Officer of Easy Company, 28th Marines raised a small flag. The flag, difficult to see from the beach, was replaced by a larger one retrieved from one of the LSTs offshore supporting the landing. Five Marines and one Navy Corpsman labored under fire to plant the larger colors into the rocky ground. The raising of the second, larger flag was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and became the most iconic and reproduced image in the history of photography.
Many commonly believe that the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi signaled the end of the fight for Iwo Jima. In reality, twenty-two more days of relentless and ferocious savagery lay ahead. It was not until 26 March 1945 that Iwo Jima was declared secured. Of the six men who raised the flag on Suribachi, three, Sgt Mike Strank, Cpl Harlan Block, and PFC Franklin Sousley, would die on the island, along with more than 6,800 others, mostly Marines. A fourth flag raiser, Second Class Hospital Corpsman John Bradley, was among the more than 19,000 wounded. The man who took the motion picture footage from the same vantage as Rosenthal, Marine Combat Cameraman Bill Genaust, was later killed in one of Suribachi’s hundreds of caves.
Bradley received a Navy Cross for his actions in combat on 21 February, and Strank a Bronze Star. Bill Genaust also received a Bronze Star.
The above movie is the approximately 20 minute production called “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”. Well worth the time, as it is a grim and unvarnished look at the titanic struggle for Iwo. Seldom have the words of a senior officer been so accurate, or heartfelt, as when Admiral Chester Nimitz described the fight for the island.
Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue
I’ll leave it to URR to write the history of one of the most vicious battles of the war, a battle that still serves as a touchstone to the Marines today. He has several weeks to address it. That tiny island you see in the photo below would take six weeks to secure.
Uncommon valor was a common virtue- Nimitz
The Washington Free Beacon, via Fox News:
Shame on everyone that voted for this empty-suit charlatan. Especially the second time, when it was clear what he was.
For those that are interested in this sort of thing. Personally, I think the differences with an Army Infantry Regiment are minor, but intriguing.
…before Jackass Cat finishes it. He is already almost out of catnip. Little doper.
Another excellent Christmas gift from our gracious host. I have been remiss in not posting this earlier. Thanks, XBRAD. Your gift will let me stay warm inside when the wind chill is -30 (like today), or when forced to contemplate our invertebrate Chief Executive, or our eroding liberties, or our lemming-like voter base….