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Formations of the WWII U.S. Army Infantry Rifle Platoon


“We moved rapidly in the early morning across
open, rolling country in pursuit of the enemy. I looked back at my platoon minutes after
going over a rise. The squads, in diamond formation, were dispersed,
as were the men within the squads. The dispersed formation seemed larger than
a platoon. They looked like veterans and I was proud
of them.” Formations and movement techniques are not
the sexiest topics, but they are important, and I find them interesting. I wish directors also found them interesting,
then maybe we would avoid stuff like this: This platoon is in what I assume was called
the “Purple Heart Formation.” This kind of bunching was generally frowned
upon in extended order drill. If you watched my squad formations video,
some of the following formations will look familiar, but others were unique to the platoon. As was true for the squad, the platoon’s easiest traveling and speediest formation was the COLUMN. “‘Platoon column’ is vulnerable to fire
from the front, and requires a change in disposition to employ the weapons toward the front; however, it is easily controlled and maneuvered. It is especially suitable for narrow, covered
routes of advance, for maneuvering through gaps between areas receiving hostile artillery fire, and for moving through woods, and in fog, smoke, or darkness. The depth of a platoon column averages 150
to 200 yards.” To be clear, the distances and intervals depicted
in this video are not necessarily to scale, and unless otherwise indicated, the platoon’s direction of advance will be toward the top of the screen. As you may have noticed, platoon headquarters personnel did not advance as a group within any combat formations. The platoon leader ordinarily led from front where he could use the old M-1 Eyeball see what was going on up ahead. Close by his side would be a platoon messenger
carrying the radio and ready to act a runner if need be. The position of the platoon sergeant was not fixed, he took post where he could best help control the platoon’s orderly advance, but he maintained enough separation with the platoon leader so that he could assume control of the platoon in the event the officer became pinned down. The platoon guide was Tail-End Charlie. He prevented straggling and observed the situation
to the flanks and rear. A platoon in column could deliver a large
volume of fire to the flank, but a strong attack from the flank could pin down the entire platoon at the same time. Next we’ll look at the platoon’s line
formation, called LINE OF SQUADS. This came in two main variants;
LINE OF SQUAD COLUMNS (illustrated here), and the complete deployment:
Line of squads with squads AS SKIRMISHERS (seen here). “‘Line of squads’ enables the platoon
leader to develop the maximum fire power to the front in the shortest time. It is more difficult to control, and lacks
maneuverability; but it is less vulnerable to fire from the front. It is suitable for rapidly crossing an area
exposed to hostile long-range machine-gun or artillery fire which cannot be avoided.” Unless otherwise directed, squads tried to
maintain 75 yard intervals, though proximity between them naturally changed depending on their formation. For example it was prescribed that squads
deployed as skirmishers maintain a 20 yard gap, with at least 50 yards between squads
in line of columns. This permitted minor maneuvers without intruding
on a sister squad’s zone of advance. For a hard smash against definite enemy positions, a line formation committed every riflemen in the platoon for an all-out frontal assault, but as with the column, strong resistance from a single direction could stymie the advance in an instant. While line of squads provided the most striking
power, it put all of a platoon’s cards on the table. The following formations preserved or reserve
element, or as it was called, a SUPPORT SQUAD, that was kept out of initial enemy contact and could try and outflank hostile resistance holding up the leading elements. When the location of the enemy was uncertain, a formation with ONE SQUAD FORWARD, TWO SQUADS BACK (also known as the PLATOON WEDGE) was used to protect the front or either flank. When the general location of the enemy was known, the platoon used a formation manuals such as the wartime editions of FM 7-10 and FM 22-5 called simply: TWO SQUADS FORWARD, ONE SQUAD BACK, but was also referred to elsewhere as a “V.” (In certain parts of the army it was known as the “inverted wedge.” As defined by the January 1944 edition of
TM 20-205, Dictionary of United States Army Terms: “Inverted wedge formation: formation resembling an inverted triangle, in which two units advance abreast of each other and a third unit follows in the rear.” Well, that’s a perfect description of it, but I do not recall any infantry manuals ever using that terminology to describe a dismounted formation. The 1942 training film on the subject, TF 7-228, did use the term “platoon wedge”: “I call this next formation the platoon
wedge. You’ve done a good job on it in your extended
order drill.” But never “platoon inverted wedge.” In fact, there it was referred to as: “The platoon in squad columns with the center squad back. This is one of our most useful and widely
used formations.” Whatever they were called, these two formations utilized one or two assault elements with one or two in support. “Two squads forward, one squad back” and “one
squad forward, two squads back” are formations which provide security to both front and flanks, favor maneuver and control, and also provide flexibility in meeting new tactical situations. The factors usually determining which of these
formations is to be employed are the terrain, the frontage which the platoon must cover,
and the proximity and actions of the enemy. The platoon wedge was a formation of readiness
to be used when the situation was unclear. As such, it was an important formation for a platoon that found itself isolated and acting alone. It could fight in all directions and provided
maximum flexibility by preserving most of the platoon’s combat power. The platoon “V,” which had most of its
firepower up front while still providing the platoon leader with a maneuvering force, was an extremely common formation used in the final stages of an approach march. The final formation we’ll discuss here is
the platoon ECHELON. “A formation with squads echeloned to the
right or left rear may be used to protect an exposed flank and permits maximum fire
to be delivered promptly toward that flank.” Squads were thought of as being echeloned
toward the rear. So this platoon was said to have its squads
echeloned to the left, and this platoon has squads echeloned right. A platoon echeloned to the right like this
may have had the rest of its company on the left, but no contact with friendly forces
on its right and could readily meet an attack to the front or right of its zone of advance. This formation had sufficient depth to keep
a squad or squads out of initial enemy contact, allowing them to maneuver against hostile
resistance in either direction; from the front, or flank. Within any given platoon formation, each squad
maintained its own squad formation. (These squad formations were discussed in
a previous video.) “The initial (first) formation may be prescribed
by the platoon leader; thereafter a squad leader changes the disposition
of his squad to meet changes in the situation and terrain.” So while the platoon leader may have dictated
which formation the squads would use to cross the line of departure, squad formations were primarily altered on the squad leader’s initiative. The squad on the left filing through tight
terrain in a closed squad column; the squad on the right assuming a diamond
formation for all-around protection in open terrain. The same held true for platoon formations: “The initial dispositions of the platoon may be prescribed by the company commander; ordinarily, however, he allows the platoon leader to determine which formation best suits the ground and the hostile situation.” There were arm-and-hand signals to indicate
“squad” or “platoon,” and the 1943 edition of Infantry Drill Regulations specifically
instructs their use before signaling column, but according to that manuals immediate post-war
update, the first to reflect the Able, Baker, Charley squads: (Which, full disclosure, was my source for these arm-and-hand signal illustrations because the previous set was from the 1930’s and didn’t much reflect the look of a WWII G.I.) “The arm-and-hand signal PLATOON need not
precede arm-and-hand signals for the platoon, it being assumed that signals given by the
platoon leader are intended for the platoon unless preceded by the signal SQUAD.” Keep in mind, precision was not the goal of
these formations; they were modified to conform to the existing
terrain and available space. “During an approach no attempt is made to maintain accurate alignments, trace, intervals or distances, in fact regularity is to be avoided. However, the proper direction and a reasonably
uniform rate of advance should be maintained.” Within each platoon formation, one squad was
designated the BASE SQUAD. The remaining squads regulated their movement
on that of the base squad. They guided on the base to maintain their
direction, rate of advance, and relative position in the platoon formation. The base squad was automatically the center,
leading, or right-leading squad depending on the formation, unless of course another squad was designated the base by the platoon leader. So, in a platoon column or echelon the base
squad was always out front. If the platoon was in a line or wedge formation,
the center squads was the base. With one squad back, the right-leading squad
was the standard base squad. There were of course prescribed ways to transition
between each formation, too many to illustrate all of them here, but most were designed to keep base duty with the same squad where possible. As an example: Switching from a platoon column
to a platoon wedge, and then to a line of squads. In this sequence the same squad remained the
base squad. Other transitions necessitated that base duty
change hands. This happened once the new formation was fully
assumed. For example, in switching from two squads
back to two squads forward, the flank squads advanced beyond the base. The center squad remained the base squad until
the “V” was fully formed, at which point the duty of base shifted to the right leading squad. Again, it could just as easily be the left
leading squad if designated by the platoon leader to better meet the terrain or situation,
but the right leading squad was to assume that responsibly in absence of orders to the
contrary. Squads that needed to move to gain a new position
in a formation did so by moving forward or laterally, they would only move toward the
rear if it was necessary. No matter its formation, which by their very
nature provided a degree of security, a platoon sent out additional small security elements. “A commander may be excused for being defeated
but never for being surprised. It is the duty of all units, in all situations
of campaign and combat to provide at all times for their own security. This responsibility exists whenever measures
may be taken by higher commanders. Effective measures of security insure freedom
of action to the commander.” The platoon’s advance was screened both
by scouts and flank security (and rear security if needed.) “The platoon leader varies the size and
disposition of security elements according to the enemy situation and the ground. Security patrols watch the leader of the nearest
squad for signals.” If a platoon’s flank was covered by friendly units, these security elements acted as CONNECTING GROUPS, ensuring contact between the them. This platoon was known as an INTERIOR platoon. If a platoon was out of contact with a unit
on its flank, or that flank was not covered by fire of another unit, it was said to be EXPOSED, and may have been required to furnish a larger security patrol. “If a flank is very exposed it should be
covered by a flank protection group of 4 to 6 men (for a platoon). The group moves abreast or a little in rear
of the front of the platoon at an interval appropriate to the terrain and the situation, from as little as 40 or 50 yards in a dense wood or in a fog, to as much as 400 yards in open terrain and good light. It gives warning of and fires upon any enemy
who approaches the flank. Connecting groups or flank protection groups
may march parallel to the flank, or proceed by bounds from one observation position to
another.” If the flank of the company was very exposed and a larger squad-sized flank combat patrol was required, it would to be supplied by a support platoon so as not to cannibalize the assaulting echelon too much. Some training material assigned specific squads
in a formation designated flanks to secure; others recommended pulling all security elements
from the same support squad. This allowed the platoon to maintain the integrity
of two squads, while leaving the platoon leader at least a half-squad to use as a maneuvering element. Security was just as essential to the individual
rifle squads. By World War II standards U.S. platoons were
lavishly supplied with radios, in that they all had one, but there were no radios at the squad level, so the maintenance of visual contact within the platoon was stressed. Taking another look at that squad on the left
that filed through cover in a closed squad column, it needed to send out its own security; both on the left, in this instance to maintain contact with the platoon’s flank security, and on the right, to maintain contact with the base squad. Before passing through any danger areas this
squad would have been preceded by its scouts. “As your unit moves forward to the attack,
scouts precede it and keep the proper direction for it to follow; they investigate danger areas before the unit crosses them, and select locations where it
will be protected from enemy fire. Scouts usually work in pairs, with each scout having the utmost confidence in the ability of his fellow scout. Train with your partner and make a buddy of him so that each of you know what the other will do under any circumstances.” The rifle squad’s scouts, or Able teams as they were known in the late-war Able/Baker/Charley system, were the platoon’s standard forward
security elements. “The platoon leader employs one or more of the scout pairs of his platoon as a covering detachment or advance guard in front of the
platoon. They operate under his immediate control,
each pair working as a team. Their function is that of an advance guard,
in an exposed situation, to provide for the safe, and as far as possible, uninterrupted
advance of the platoon.” The number of scouts out depended on the situation
and terrain, the frontage the platoon was to cover. A leading platoon in a daylight approach march
could have been given a ZONE OF RECONNAISSANCE 300 yards or more in width. Sometimes two scouts furnished by the base
squad were sufficient, other times the platoon was preceded by all six of its scouts. “The platoon leader controls his scouts
and the scouts communicate with him by arm-and-hand signals as far as possible. The signals commonly used by the scouts are:
HALT, meaning the platoon should not advance beyond this point until we have reconnoitered; FORWARD, meaning it is safe to proceed; DOUBLE TIME, meaning dangerous ground, to
be crossed rapidly (pointing to the danger spot); ENEMY IN SIGHT; etc.” Speaking of DANGER AREAS: “Such places are localities combining a good field of fire at suitable range, with good observation and concealment or protection, or both; such as edges of woods, ridges, knolls, thickets, hedges, buildings. If the locality affords opportunity for oblique
or flanking fire it is particularly dangerous. And even a very little cover may conceal a
machine gun, capable of delivering effective fire at greater ranges than rifle troops. The platoon should not approach within effective
range of such points until they are reconnoitered by the scouts. If because of its distance or for other reason
the scouts are unable to reconnoiter a danger point, they signal DOUBLE TIME, and point
to the locality in question.” There were standard procedures for scouting
various types of danger areas; for example, scouts leaving and approaching a wood line: “Scouts do not advance beyond the edge of a woods until they receive orders to from their leader. The leader comes up near the edge of the trees,
looks over the situation, and then gives orders assigning the direction of march to the scouts. In leaving a woods, scouts should reconnoiter
the next potential danger area in the zone of advance, before the squad advances from
the cover of the trees. The first scout moves into the open while
the second scout covers his advance from a firing position in the edge of the woods. If the leading scout finds no sign of the
enemy and does not draw hostile fire, the second scout follows him at a distance.” “When scouts reach woods, one scout of each
pair reconnoiters within the woods for a short distance while the other covers his movement. As soon as the leading scout determines that
the edge of the woods is free of the enemy he returns within view and signals “forward.” The second scout repeats this signal to the
platoon leader. Both scouts then enter the woods and maintain
observation toward the enemy until the platoon comes up.” Just as the scouts kept their squad and platoon
leaders out of trouble, it was up to those leaders to carefully observe the area to be scouted before marching their POINT MEN straight into an enemy killing zone: “One day my platoon leader and I were searching a woods about fifty yards across an open field for a moment before sending out scouts when we noticed a Jerry moving around. The platoon leader fired at him and within
a few minutes a fierce fire fight was in progress. What had looked like just another wooded area proved to be a line of Kraut machine guns and riflemen. Our observation had undoubtedly saved the
lives of two scouts.” When the platoon advanced with its scouts
out, it utilized various movement techniques: “This movement may be regulated in three
different ways, depending upon the imminence of contact with the enemy.” “The platoon leader may direct the platoon
scouts to precede the platoon at midrange (400 to 600 yards) while he follows behind
the scouts. This method permits the platoon to advance rapidly without being exposed to enemy small-arms fire within midrange, and is appropriate for an advance over terrain lacking suitable march objectives, for example, over level, open terrain.” So, in this fastest method, the entire platoon
traveled at the same rate, but with the scouts some distance ahead. “The distance of the scouts in front of
the platoon is regulated by the platoon leader. It varies continually according to the terrain
and the enemy situation. At one moment they may be 500 yards or even
more in advance, a little later they may be with their respective squads. They must never be so far ahead as to be out
of communication with and beyond the control of the platoon leader. The screen of scouts covers the front of the
platoon at wide and irregular intervals. As each pair works as a team they should generally
be within easy speaking distance, and always within sight of each other. Except when one scout goes forward while the
other remains behind the distance between them will vary from about 10 to 30 yards.” Many US units had their baptism of fire in the cramped quarters of the hedgerows of Normandy. The heavy compartmentalization of the Norman
bocage necessitated a crash-course in new tactics designed to overcome that unique operational
environment (that’ll be a whole other video); but once things opened up at the end of the summer during Operation Cobra, these rifle units had to re-learn some of the fundamentals of their original training for a more traditional approach march. “After fighting in the hedgerows our units,
back in open country, did not appreciate at first that the enemy could, by long range fire, catch the entire unit with one burst. Now it is necessary to have scouts and flankers
well out. In one action the Germans let the scouts get
within 50 yards before firing. As the platoon was too close it was pinned
down while still in column and could not develop enough fire power to engage the enemy. If we had not had tanks present the casualties
would have been heavy.” When contact was imminent, and there were intermediate MARCH OBJECTIVES that could be traversed in a series bounds: “The platoon leader may hold the platoon under cover and await the reconnaissance of
the assigned march objective by the platoon scouts. When the scouts signal ‘forward,’ the platoon leader advances the platoon to the line of scouts, and again sends the scouts
forward to the next objective. This method affords the best security but
is the slowest and ordinarily least desirable of the three methods.” In this way, the remainder of the platoon could cover the scouts as they searched each successive objective. (The support squad always a bound behind.) The third method was a fusion of the previous
two: “The platoon may be held under cover while
the scouts are sent forward to the next objective with the platoon leader following close behind. When the scouts have reconnoitered the objective,
the platoon leader by signal sends them forward to the next objective and signals the platoon
to come forward.” In this method, the platoon still moved by
bounds from one march objective to the next, but the scouts always maintained their distance
one march objective ahead. It was more secure than the first method,
and quicker than the moving by successive bounds in the most-cautious accordion (or
inch-worm) fashion. But the manual notes: “This method requires long and careful training to attain the desired speed and proficiency.” So, who were these scouts? Some gravitated toward the role because they
either had a talent for it, or they simply trusted themselves more than anyone else to keep their squad or platoon out of trouble. Or, their squad leader trusted them more
than anyone else. It may have been tempting for a squad leader
to put the new guys on point, but that could lead to disaster for the entire platoon when it was marched into an ambush by a green replacement who was nervous in the service. The Army’s preference was for the role to
be given to soldiers who specialized in scouting. The Soldier’s Handbook states: “The scout is a soldier whose duty it is to see what the enemy is doing without being seen, and to hear the enemy without being heard. The scout must be intelligent, have a strong
body, great endurance, keen eyesight, delicate hearing, and an excellent memory. A trained scout will be able to see and hear
things that the average soldier does not.” It was understood that most inductees hadn’t
entered the service as natural scouts. In 1943, the Infantry Journal produced a booklet
on scouting that began with the ever-inspirational forward: “Dan Boone and Buffalo Bill are dead. It would be comforting to say that we have
inherited their scouting skill. But all they left us is a legend. Long ago, America laid aside fringed buckskins
and Bowie knives for other, more indoor clothing. Neon signs blinded our eyes to darkness and
radio dulled our ears. Most of us are now more at home on paved streets
than on jungle trails. We’d rather stand up on our two feet than
flatten out on our bellies in the dirt. But never forget that a scout is not a man
with a book in his pocket. He is a soldier with steel in his muscles, rods in his eyes, brains in his head, and iron in his heart.” A couple of lieutenants who appreciated skilled
scouts, wrote in to the Infantry Journal in the summer of 1944 to advocate for a rating increase to the rifle platoon scouts, who were (and remained) privates or privates first class. “Any man who has seen even ten minutes of
combat doesn’t have to be reminded that his life and the combat efficiency of the platoon often rest upon the shoulders of the scout. Not every soldier by any means makes a good
scout. In fact, there are only a select few who qualify
as top men in this battle position. If the government can afford to give a rating
to a mail orderly (just for comparison), then they surely can afford this, too. Men’s lives are dependent upon the intelligence
and ability of the scouts to cope with the many combat situations as they arise.” A replacement in the 26th Infantry Division
recalled some G.I.s taking a liking to scouting because they were loners. “What Arch did was make Doug Kelleher, Bern
Keaton, and me the squad’s BAR team, the three-man Browning Automatic Rifle unit. This happened almost as soon as we detrained, just minutes after we had been assigned to the third platoon; and it did not thrill us. Roger Johnson and Paul Willis, relieved of
the BAR by Arch’s masterstroke, became our scouts. They both seemed comfortable in the job;
as scouts, they were always up front, a touch away from everybody else –
a job for the human-shy, which they both were. Johnson, in fact, was so taciturn that he
was often speechless, literally without words, a Green Mountain boy from Vermont who spoke
perhaps half a dozen sentences a day.” Francis Catanzaro, who served in 41st Infantry
Division, was taken aback by his own selection as a scout during the New Guinea campaign: “My new squad leader, a soft-spoken man from Bend, immediately informed me that I would be the second scout for the squad. This news surprised me because I remembered
being told during basic training that only the most experienced and most able men would
be chosen to be scouts. I did not think I met either qualification; nevertheless, I served as second scout during the remainder of the battle for Biak.” And for everyone in the comments asking about
submachine guns when I mention they were organizational weapons, Mr. Catanzaro remembered one solution
from his company: “Rifle platoons had three twelve-man squads. In addition to the squad leader and his assistant,
each squad was made up of two scouts, a BAR team, and five riflemen. The first scout was usually armed with a Tommy
Gun (Thompson submachine gun), a .45-caliber automatic weapon with a twenty-round magazine.” As scouts were liable to poke their heads
through some foliage and bump helmets with enemy troops,
its easy to see how some short-range full-auto could benefit to them more than the high-powered
accuracy of a rifle. Scouting was demanding work: “The scouts advance continuously and boldly, moving at a walk or by bounds at a run. They do not expose themselves unnecessarily, and they take advantage of the cover afforded by the terrain, so far as consistent with their mission of aggressive reconnaissance and rapid progress. But occasional glimpses of advancing scouts
will make the enemy uneasy and may cause him to open fire prematurely, thus possibly disclosing his positions. It is most desirable that the scouts should
draw enemy fire, which is the sure indication of his presence. They continue their advance until they find
the enemy in position, or are checked by his fire.” As you can imagine, given that part of his
job was being a bullet magnet, the role of scout was exceedingly dangerous. Well, some scouts felt it could actually be safer, hoping an enemy machine gunner would let them pass, choosing to hold the opening
burst for juicier targets to follow. But, most regarded lead scout as a particularly
hazardous job. A soldier in the 30th Infantry Division wrote about his transfer out of the frying pan and into the fire: “I was just as happy to have someone besides me have the BAR team assignment, because of that extra heavy ammunition to carry, but this time my assignment was one that was even
less sought after, in fact the least sought after. I was designated first scout. The problem with being first scout is what
its name implies. He goes first in the squad. He is the point man. His job is to locate the enemy, and the way
he finds them is by getting shot at.” There were efforts to spread the pain, as seen in this article on post-war U.S. Army changes from the Infantry School Quarterly: “In the past war, the practice of using the same two individuals as scouts day in and day out through thick and thin proved to be impractical. Leaders who tried to follow this concept soon
found these individuals became too cautious and were often much too slow in accomplishing
their mission. Eventually they became casualties or they became unreliable because of the constant mental strain. Meanwhile, other riflemen remained relatively
untrained in the duties of scouts. A take-your-turn policy was actually carried
out in combat. The experienced squad leader did not call
upon the regular scouts for repeated missions but tossed aside the theoretical solution
for a more practical one. He merely checked his riflemen to determine
who was next in line to act as the security element.” There may be a little bit of spin going on
here, though. As part of the 1947 reorganization, the army
downsized the rifle squad from 12 men to 9, and this organization eliminated dedicated
scouts, so that quote may be trying to sell soldiers on the new tables. As you’ve seen from my other quotes, many units who saw plenty of combat seemed to have done it by the book. In fact, one of those book warned: “Although all soldiers should be able to act as scouts, some are better suited than
others for this work. Men selected to be scouts should be reliable,
persevering, intelligent, patient, and should be able to read and write clearly. They should be physically and mentally hard,
have unimpaired vision and hearing, and be able to swim. Scouts must be resourceful and possess courage
and initiative. They must be good shots and good close in
fighters. Men with hay fever, night blindness, and impaired
sense of smell should not be given duty as scouts, for they will betray their own and
others presence.” But some units did rotate scouts in an equitable
fashion. For instance, I can tell you it was done in
1st Platoon, Love Company, 14th Infantry Regiment, of the 71st Infantry Division, because Captain
William B. White mentioned it while recounting his experience as a rifle platoon leader. (And as a bonus, he describes a classic platoon
“V,” thus reinforcing what we’ve already covered.) “Moving away from the river, the platoon gained enough depth to use the formation which it generally adopted during its pursuit operations across Germany. This formation was two squads on line with
each squad in a loose diamond. Each squad had its scouts out to the general
front as far as the situation dictated. It might be stated here that the squad leaders
rotated their personnel in the position of scouts. The platoon leader was between the two squads and usually on line with the head of the diamonds or farther up. The platoon runner who also operated the platoon leader’s SCR 536 was in the near vicinity of the platoon leader. The platoon sergeant was normally near the support squad where he could supervise the employment of that squad and where he would not be pinned down by the same fire directed on the leading personnel. The platoon guide and the attached aid man
followed the rear of the support squad.” So I can’t tell you exactly how your old
uncle Frank’s outfit did it; some units had dedicated scouts while other rotated the
duty. There were also units that found traditional
scout pairs inadequate, as they often lacked the firepower to neutralize resistance when encountered, and these units elected to screen their platoon’s advances with slightly larger
point security elements. A 2nd Lieutenant fighting with the 133rd Infantry
Regiment in Italy reported: “It has been my experience that in the type
of action encountered in the last phase, i.e., a delaying action by a small body or by a
lone sniper, that two scouts are not sufficient. I used from three to five men as an advance
patrol, picked for their coolness and aggressiveness, in practically every advance made by my platoon. If the customary 2 scouts had been used, it
would not have been possible to build up sufficient firepower without deploying the platoon and
losing valuable time.” This method of providing a point patrol with
a bit more punch was also adopted in the Pacific, as attested in a report from XXIV Corps on
Okinawa, which stated: “A prevalent system is sending out half
squads with a BAR as scouts.” Once scouts contacted the enemy, or were checked
by their fire, it was time for a new video, which means this video has reached the end.

Tony wyaad

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87 COMMENTS

  1. 95DarkFire Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    0:41 "Purple Heart Formation" LOL

    Great video, keep it up!

    Reply
  2. 89 Boy Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Nice video could u do a vidoe on the training of a ww2 gi

    Reply
  3. Christopher Moody Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    And here I was, just thinking I would enjoy seeing another of your videos. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  4. Armand Cossio Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Awesome stuff, glad u are still uploading

    Reply
  5. sick boy Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Im so glad you posted this! I love your videos. Keep up the good work. I just started working on a Korean war diorama. This will be just what i need to listen to while i paint!

    Reply
  6. Pete V Posted on February 1, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    These are fantastic. Please keep them coming.

    Reply
  7. martiaseques Posted on February 1, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Like before watching. Full confidence

    Reply
  8. JonMacFhearghuis Posted on February 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    So good. I would love to see you cover a WW2 British Section and/or Platoon.

    Reply
  9. C Cameron Catalina Posted on February 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing this awesome historical material in new presentation!

    Reply
  10. -- Posted on February 1, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Yes! I've been waiting for a new video, please put out more of this material (in your own time of course) it is SO informative and historically accurate there's no other youtuber who covers what you do and I love every video you put out! maybe one day you could cover modern US tactics and maneuver warfare in general.

    Reply
  11. Zev Love X Posted on February 1, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    my favorite channel! your vids are the best man keep up the good work- also in regards to the weapons platoon..was there a weapons platoon? i know there was a weapons company..but this video here says each us army rifle company had 1 50cal mg, 2, 30cal mgs, 3 mortars and 5 bazookas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZkutBVX2-I but how were the weapons dispersed!

    Reply
  12. willie johnson Posted on February 1, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    I haven't had a chance to watch this yet but I do enjoy these video so thank you for putting them out, even in modern days these tactics can be used do modern army or army that do not have the edge in technology

    Reply
  13. Filipe Amaral Posted on February 1, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    "Formations and movement techniques are not the sexiest of topics"

    Since when? What memo did I miss?

    Reply
  14. Ramon Ruijgt Posted on February 2, 2019 at 12:01 am

    how was the squad/ platoon camp place to sleep and eat orgonized?

    Reply
  15. Dylan Raymond Posted on February 2, 2019 at 1:55 am

    I found you barely a week ago, and am amazed in how this channel has had consistently great content! Keep it up!

    Reply
  16. Dylan Raymond Posted on February 2, 2019 at 2:21 am

    What are you going to do when you finish WWII?

    Reply
  17. United States Defense Militia Posted on February 2, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Was at work when you uploaded this. Day never went by so fast!! Thanks for another amazing video and as always looking forward to the next video!

    Reply
  18. Doc Opoßum Posted on February 2, 2019 at 5:33 am

    You've returned with more of this specific information, thank you.
    Ever consider making a Discord server?

    Reply
  19. Dermot Rooney Posted on February 2, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Lovely. Thanks again. 🖖

    Reply
  20. mike laster Posted on February 2, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Loving your content man, keep it up!

    Reply
  21. Mark Cotton Posted on February 3, 2019 at 4:05 am

    As always a brilliantly produced and researched video. They are always worth the wait. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  22. Dylan Kornberg Posted on February 4, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    I'm a simple man; I see a G.I. History Handbook video, I like it.

    Reply
  23. Rob Gurwell Posted on February 7, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Love your videos. Well done. I can't wait for the next one.

    Reply
  24. E Fig Posted on February 14, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Long wait but worth it.

    Reply
  25. Peter Harrison Posted on February 19, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    0 dislikes just as it should be, i dont think there is a justification to dislike such a video

    Reply
  26. haffoc Posted on February 28, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    like you said, it would be refreshing if Hollywood paid attention to stuff like this.

    Reply
  27. mastermaul345 Posted on March 14, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Your content is amazing – well illustrated, knowledgeable, thorough, with impressive original source cited to support even minute detail. I eagerly await whenever you choose to cover weapons platoons. I disagree with your concern that this subject matter isn't "sexy"; you're illustrating what few really have, the real and actual methods that fighting men moved and were organized.
    You really should consider a patreon page! Even if you worry about not being able to keep a consistent schedule, you could set it so that you are only paid by your patrons when you release a new video.

    Reply
  28. mat bra Posted on March 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    great job, keep it up buddy

    Reply
  29. Rob Gurwell Posted on March 31, 2019 at 4:42 am

    I was wondering if you or anyone following this channel might answer a question for me. I'm curious about life in garrison. That is, on a military base as it would be for, say, bomber pilots or even infantrymen before going into France on D-Day. Specifically, I'm curious about their daily routine and something has me a bit confused. The definition of reveille as I understand it, is the bugle call that tells a soldier it's time to wake up. However, I've discovered that it's actually used to signal when the flag is being raised at the beginning of the official working day. Can you shed some light on this? Did soldiers actually wake up when reveille was sounded? Or were they expected to wake up before that and be in formation by the time reveille was sounded? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  30. Chris Toda Posted on April 7, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Loved that bit at 0:41. Would love a short video roasting other movies like this. Love your work!

    Reply
  31. 1N73RC3P7OR Posted on June 11, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Have you thought of making such videos but on later (or earlier) conflicts or do you prefer sticking to WWII?

    Reply
  32. Bruno Zaccoli Posted on June 18, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Can you clarify on the Able, Baker, Charley subdivisions of the squad?
    In a previous video you mentioned that A,B,C were late war terms and probably not used in combat.

    In this video IIRC you quoted a soldier using those terms.

    Can you also tell when the manual that first used Able, Baker, Charley was written?

    I first read about them in Weigley's
    Eisenhower's Lieutenants.

    Reply
  33. Kelly Jones Posted on July 16, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Any chance you have a Power Point of this for use in teaching in the field?

    Reply
  34. Green guy 9512 Posted on July 23, 2019 at 9:57 am

    These videos are absolutely awesome, I really do hope you can do more in the future and maybe expand to the Marine Corp or jump the fence and discuss German platoon formations.

    Reply
  35. Ryan Phillips Posted on August 5, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    hey there I have a question for you. if able could you talk about unit makeup and formation of a us mechanized infantry platoon circa 1989/1990s . Ive been putting together a Twilight 2000 campaign and have been getting conflicting information on unit makeup and use of such units. if you have any insight or information on the subject please let me know

    Reply
  36. Ashley Palmer Posted on August 6, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Get this man a keg of beer!
    Loved the vids mate!

    P.s the advert to this video was the new remastered version of Apocalypse Now. Can it get any better?!?!? 🙂

    Reply
  37. Sir Arnie Posted on August 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    I don't care what formation you are in. Us combat engineers would put in an irregular outer edge minefield to ruin your day.

    Reply
  38. Wisky-56 Posted on August 6, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    You gunna do any more unit organization vids?

    Reply
  39. Smokingun Studios Posted on August 6, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Keep these coming man

    Reply
  40. Melanrick Posted on August 7, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Im late for the party but man, i hope you keep doing more videos. It does really help.

    Reply
  41. HERBERT STRICKLAND Posted on August 7, 2019 at 1:19 am

    In WWII combat Sept 1944 France, the CO of the 141st IR ordered that a Platoon of the 1st Bn be assigned to protect a Forward Observer establishing an OP overlooking the St Ame Valley. What would the composition of such a Platoon most likely look like? Fighting their way to the OP was considered a possibility in the Co's order
    .

    Reply
  42. wczapski Posted on August 7, 2019 at 7:35 am

    no wonder that your red army had to beat germans as folks mentioned in your video yet still tried to organized when russians reached berlin;

    Reply
  43. Awkward High Fives Posted on August 7, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    These are excellent videos. As a former WWII reenactor, these would have been helpful for people running field exercises as part of reenactment events. I hope you make more!

    Reply
  44. DeePsix Posted on August 7, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Your videos are great. I know they take a long time to do, but thanks for doing it. Keep them coming!

    Reply
  45. dave blemings Posted on August 7, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Would these formations been basic movements of both allies and german troops … in particular I would imagine that Canadian Troops would have followed many of these basic formations

    Reply
  46. Cliff Leverette Posted on August 7, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    For ww2 buffs like me, this is what I've looked for for decades and you have nailed it perfectly!!!!
    Hope you can keep up the interesting info.

    Reply
  47. Lee Sailer Posted on August 8, 2019 at 12:05 am

    This series is fascinating. Thanks.

    Reply
  48. Adam Smith Posted on August 8, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Wow it's already been 6 months since this video… When can we expect the next one?

    Reply
  49. tudyk21 Posted on August 9, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I've recently discovered your vids and have enjoyed them. More, if you please. 😉

    Reply
  50. Jeff Piper Posted on August 9, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Just stumbled on to your channel. Really well done. I love smart content.

    Reply
  51. Maine made Posted on August 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Scouts have the biggest balls they could be tracked very easy by the drag marks

    Reply
  52. Connor Miclette Posted on August 10, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Hey G.I! When are we gonna get the rifleman squad defensive tactics I’m dying for it ahaha

    Reply
  53. Anonymous Commenter22 Posted on August 10, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Sorry but you talk too fast. You don't pause between sentences so my brain never has a chance to catch with you. Try comparing your words per minute with The History Guy or Military History Visualized.

    Reply
  54. Glen Baker Posted on August 10, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Thxs for the info, I'm glad I'm to old to use it but I sure thank the ones who have and will in the future,, gb

    Reply
  55. D Wolfe Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    your information is seriously satisfying. I love learning these things from you- awesome videos !

    Reply
  56. John K Posted on August 10, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    This is why YouTube has pretty much displaced all of my TV viewing except the occasional Seinfeld episode. So much research and effort has gone into this, by just a normal "nobody" citizen and not a production house, with information you just can't get on TV. Well done! Subscribed.

    Reply
  57. Mycroftsbrother Posted on August 10, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    My Dad was a platoon scout in WWII, now I appreciate his bravery even more.

    Reply
  58. Chris King Posted on August 11, 2019 at 1:42 am

    you means there are formations for army infantry rifle platoon, perhaps that could have been in AIT at ft Jackson S.C. in 1967, well I guess no need, OJT in jungle of V.A. sgt King Co. B 1/22 4th div. central highland 1967-68, lost too many buddies from so called training.

    Reply
  59. Kilomikepapa Posted on August 11, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Hollywood camera angles don’t allow much room for realism, unfortunately.

    Reply
  60. josh007man Posted on August 11, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Keep theses videos coming please!!!

    Reply
  61. Ashaadi Fandzuri Adnan Posted on August 12, 2019 at 4:29 am

    Leadership and management

    Reply
  62. rpbajb Posted on August 12, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Good stuff. Combat wasn't like the movies. Did "Band of Brothers" come closest to reality? They showed Fire and Maneuver better than anything I've seen on screen.

    Reply
  63. Tim Armstrong Posted on August 12, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    AAhhh, the method to the madness. It's true, if you don't have a plan to kick a*s, be prepared to have your a*s kicked…I enjoy your videos.

    Reply
  64. Nicholas List Posted on August 12, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Excellent informational piece! Not going to lie up until the 10:30 I was sweating the platoon leaders position in the formation. I kept thinking: "Man, they must really hate their LT!"

    Reply
  65. Kanoshe Posted on August 12, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    i do love these videos and the graphics but i would like to see more of the old school footage in these videos

    Reply
  66. SpyClip Ink Posted on August 13, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Great video man! Really enjoyed it 👍

    Reply
  67. Dee Dubbs Posted on August 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I think the FM said inverted wedge

    Reply
  68. His Dudeness Posted on August 14, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Take a drink every time he says squad

    Reply
  69. Michael Casimer Posted on August 14, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Some new videos would be great. Love the content and you have a good voice for the work your doing.

    Reply
  70. Joe Doakes Posted on August 14, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    You really cannot stop making these, you do much to good of a job.

    Reply
  71. Bodyboarding Chronicles Posted on August 14, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Ika La.Hui!

    Reply
  72. abeer hasan Posted on August 15, 2019 at 2:48 am

    upload more god dame it
    ১৫/৮/১৯

    Reply
  73. 5ataner Posted on August 17, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Another great video, I'm enjoying these immensely.. Just one nitpick. Please provide distances in meters too, that would be excellent.

    Reply
  74. Joseph P. Posted on August 18, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Thanks for the videos. We are really hoping you'll be able to produce more.

    Reply
  75. Chimo Posted on August 19, 2019 at 12:56 am

    Where is the next video!!!

    Reply
  76. Jonathan Popham Posted on August 20, 2019 at 4:14 am

    make more videos

    Reply
  77. Gonçalo Rebello Posted on August 21, 2019 at 4:52 am

    please keep the amazing work! I have been looking for the details in these videos for a long time. Finaly I found them in a well manered material. Well done!

    Reply
  78. United States Defense Militia Posted on August 25, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    I know I comment on every video you have (hope I ain't annoying lol) but do you plan on doing, or know of any channel that does these organization videos for the navy? And hope you're planning on doing the army air corp organization vids. Okay tons of requests I know lol

    Reply
  79. SkeletalBassman Posted on August 27, 2019 at 12:26 am

    Yeah m8 hoping you're still putting more of these together, not just for this war but for others! Great content

    Reply
  80. Giacomo Lontra Posted on August 30, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    this is a brilliant channel. this is the type of documentary that teaches you something. thank you.

    Reply
  81. Coldfront15 Posted on September 4, 2019 at 3:30 am

    Another wonderfully put video. Is there any place we can privately contact you? I’d love to help contribute to research, editing, or funding if possible!

    I’m well acquainted with airborne related things, and so are a few friends I know that are in the history scene.

    Reply
  82. Dumitru Posted on September 10, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Keep it up dude. I love this videos. It teaches us a lot of things that we didn't know back then and is really neat to see all of those informations. Thank you for giving us a lot of details on how they used to fight the enemy back then and how the formations were utilized in WW2 by the USA.

    Reply
  83. Mark Johanson Posted on September 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Man, this made me really appreciate and think about the role of scouts.

    Reply
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