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"British mechanized section during the Cold War" Topic

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378 hits since 11 Jan 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

nikolas93ts11 Jan 2018 4:53 p.m. PST

This started as a reply on the different thread, but as it devolved off-topic I created a new one.

I am aware British Warrior section nominally included 3 crew and 7 dismounts, but in operation vehicle (and section) commander would dismount too, making for two fire teams totalling for 8 men.

In the 1990s, the basic infantry platoon (Warrior or Saxon-mounted) still had basic five men at platoon headquarters (mechanized and light battalions could have additional support section of one or two GPMG as well or snipers carried in platoon vehicles) and three sections of eight men each. I gather that in case of Saxon, there should be a driver and eventually an MG operator which would again make 10 men per section.

That 10 men British section seems consistent since World War Two, and I assume Section Fire and Manoeuvre part 1&2 training videos available on Youtube (showing a 3-man LMG group and a 7-man rifle assault element) likely indicated those reinforcement infantry units that were supposed to be deployed by lorries and later Saxons and not FV432 units.

I have also seen Saracen APC diagram (but take that with a grain of salt, as the same source claim 2 + 10 men in FV432) showing 9-men dismount section, commander in the turret and other 2 crewmembers (driver and radio operator). Given the contemporary British doctrine of APC as battle-taxis, that would still make 10-men dismounted section. Or, that diagram is wrong, and there were 8 dismounts and 2 "permanent" crewmembers?

An only exception seems to be FV432, which several sources (including people here on TMP) indicate as having 9 men section, including the driver, as you couldn't cram more than 7 dismounts in passenger bay. Yet again applying contemporary doctrine would still give 8 men dismount group. (although there is another training video "Troop Platoon Tactics Pt 2." indicating a vehicle MG gunner supporting the attack, however dismounting scenes cut when 5th or 6th soldiers jumps out of the door, so I cannot see the total)

So, any suggestions for solving this conundrum? Was infantry section standard 10 men, which in mechanized units translate to 8 dismounts? The only partial exception is FV432?

Best Regards,

Martin Rapier11 Jan 2018 11:12 p.m. PST

Given that all sections were under strength, I'd go with 8 men.

Even the 1944 Infantry field craft and tactics manual confuses this, describing a ten man section in the text but showing an eight man section in the diagrams….

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