The organisation of the players and assets in a mission allows the Mission Leader to control his assets and deploy them as per his battle plan, and then react to the enemy’s movements quickly and effectively by distributing commands down the chains. In this section we shall talk about the typical organisation of an Infantry Platoon, and how various supporting assets can be attached and used effectively. The majority of this section will use the typical modern combat organisation of an infantry platoon, and will then go into details about other typical organisation of other similar formations and how they work differently compared to the typical organisation. We use a platoon for this but in reality it can be scaled up to Company and above levels.
The Standard Infantry Platoon Organisation & Command Chain
Most military formations including the standard platoon, can be broken down at each level to two or three elements. This is following a rule of thumb, that no one leader should have to be directly responsible for more than three elements (this is of course a loose rule). An element in this case can be a squad, FireTeam or single soldier. By following the rule, leaders don't have to be overwhelmed by juggling too many assets in a combat situation which usually calls for snap decisions and reactions to the enemy.
- The Standard Infantry platoon is broken down into the Headquarters Element and a number of Squads (or Sections). This number can be operational and doctrine dependent, but usually numbers no more than three plus any supporting elements
- In a standard platoon, squads will be formed from two or sometimes three FireTeams, and lead by a Squad Leader.
- Each FireTeam usually consists of a Team Leader, An Autorifleman, the Autorifleman's assistant, and Rifleman carrying a Light Anti-Tank weapon.
- From the ground up, the Team leader is responsible for his team. He will carry out the orders of his Squad Leader with his FireTeam and pass intel up the chain of command to his direct commander, the Squad Leader.
- The Squad Leader is responsible to his FireTeam Leaders. He will give orders to his FireTeam Leaders as per the Platoon Leader's orders, and will pass intel up the chain of command to the Platoon Leader.
- The Platoon leader is responsible to his Squad Leaders. In most Beowulf Sessions, he will be the commander of the mission and will have no superior during the Mission. In reality, he would be responsible to his Company Commander and so on.
- The Mission Commander is in command of the mission. It is their responsibility to read and understand the mission briefing. They must then develop a battle plan, brief it to the entire platoon and execute it.
Each soldier in the platoon has a specific role. Each role is important in its own way. From the lowly Rifleman, to the Platoon Leader.
Platoon Leader – The Platoon Leader is responsible for commanding the platoon. In most Beowulf Sessions these will be the mission leaders.
2iC – The Platoon 2iC (sometimes a Platoon Sergeant) is responsible for assisting the Platoon leader in the execution of their battle plan. They will take command in the event of the Platoon Leader becoming incapacitated.
Medic – In Beowulf Sessions, the Platoon Medic is responsible for casualty clearance. They will carry extra medical supplies, and will be responsible to the Platoon Commander, to setup Casualty Clearing Stations to treat the wounded and keep the platoon fighting fit.
Squad Leader – Squad Leaders are responsible for commanding their fireteams on a tactical level. They will receive orders from their Platoon Leader and will then put their orders into action through their fireteams. It is the Squad leader who will need to report intel and situation reports up the chain of command to the Platoon Commander so they can make decisions on the platoon scale. In the event that the Platoon Leader and the 2iC are incapacitated. The 1st Squad Leader will take over command of the platoon, followed by the 2nd Squad leader, etc. They should retrieve any radios if possible.
Team Leaders – The Team Leader is responsible for his fireteam. He will receive orders from his Squad Leader, and execute them with his fireteam. It’s the fireteam leaders job to report any intel or situation changes to his Squad Leader. In the event the Squad Leader is incapacitated, the Alpha Team Leader will take over command of the squad followed by the Bravo Team Leader, etc. They should retrieve any radios if possible.
Autorifleman – The Autorifleman carries a support weapon. This will usually be a Light Machine Gun or Automatic Rifle such as a M249 or RPK. This could also be a Medium Machinegun such as an M60 or PKM. The Autorifleman is therefore the main firepower of the Fireteam. Its his job to bring the weapon to bare on the enemy and suppress them with bursts of automatic fire as per the fireteam leader’s instructions. In the event the Team Leader is incapacitated, the Autorifleman takes over as the FireTeam leader. They should retrieve any radios required.
Autorifleman Assistant – The Auto Asst. is responsible for assisting the Autorifleman. They will carry additional ammunition and any spare barrels for the Autorifleman as well as assisting them with target acquisition. In the event the Autorifleman is incapacitated, the assistant should retrieve the support weapon and become the Autorifleman.
Rifleman (LAT) – The Rifleman is the responsible for being the security of the team. When on manoeuvres, he should continuously be checking the rear and flanks and be ready to react. He will usually carry some additional rifle ammunition which can be distributed if required. He will also be responsible for being the first man in room clearance. Finally, the Rifleman carries will carry a Light Anti-Tank weapon if available. These can be used to engage enemy light armour and vehicles, or fortified structures.