The Polar Bears

The Polar Bears
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Building my first company part 1a: So what's this?

Now my plan was to move on to the second post about what sorts of gear would be in the company and figuring out what minis I need... and this I found this:

I put a copy of this jpg below.

So what's this???  I know that the web has tons of 'clip art' that has been pulled from the original Colonial Marine Technical Manual but this is something new to say the least.  And it does detail the organization of a colonial marine company:  1 HQ squad and 3 Rifle Platoons for a total of 6 M577 apcs and 75 marines.  A lot more robust company than I've planned out.  But this organization seems more in tune with the current Marine Corps (which is triangular) than with what the Technical Manual suggests.

"The abandonment of the 'triangular' system of organization, and the adoption of a 'pair' or 'buddy' system was one of the most radical decisions Marine 70 (the doctrine used by the USCM- much like the old Army Air-Land battle doctrine) made.  Traditional doctrine was based on the principle of 'two up and one back', with two covering elements supported in attack or defense by a third element in reserve.  While such an approach was sound, it was incompatible with the need to increase the speed of operations.  Since two elements are more easily maneuvered than three, ti made common sense to organize this way on the new fast-track non-linear battlefield.  At every level of mobile operations, the 'buddy' system is far more flexible; the commander can operate 'one up, one back' both in the attack and defense; or he can operate 'two up', with one element over-watching the other, or both piling in together at the 'schwerpunkt'."

So to me a three platoon company seems to go against this 'buddy' doctrine.  But on the other hand the Marine MAU can have 2-4 companies as needed so having more elements than two isn't unheard of. Also a three platoon company is a much more robust formation that can take on larger missions and absorb more punishment and remain combat effective.

Another issue is the command 'squad'.  If this unit follows the USCM squad organization then we're taking about 4 men: the CO, XO, PS, and one add on.  So where do these guys ride?  With out their own vehicle they are forced to ride with one of the line platoons.  That would work, but it would force the company command element to be up front with a platoon.  While leading from the front is a good thing, it isn't always the best thing.  Sometimes the CO needs the ability to go where he needs to get things 'going', and in this case he would have to drag a full section, that's HALF of a platoon or 1/6th of his company's combat power, with him.  Not a very satisfactory state of affairs.

Well, I guess that's another thing to puzzle over.


  1. I'm straying a little bit from the official ORBAT with my colonial marines.

    In addition to the 2 APCs per platoon, each carrying 2 4 man squads, I'm adding a third APC for carrying the platoon HQ, along with extras like FOO team, Support weapon teams, power armour teams, etc that might be attached to the platoon.

    I'm sticking with just a platoon sized platoon sized force for my gaming, but if I did do a full company I think I would add an APC for the company HQ.

  2. I hear you.

    The whole binary thing sounds good in theory but it falls apart when you toss in necessary stuff like commmand/control, supporting teams, and so on. You just need that extra vehicle to keep that stuff from mucking up your line sections.

    It will probably be a while before I get to a full company too. So I'm doing the section/platoon thing for now as well.