The Polar Bears

The Polar Bears
4th Battalion, 31st Infantry

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Building my first company part 2a: Platoon TO&E

Okay, so here's the second part of my assembling my Colonial Marine Company thread.  My post from earlier today was a bit of a dry run using the Colonial Marine TO&E in a game and I was pretty pleased with how it went.  

However I'm still scratching about and thinking things over about how I want to organize this force.  So maybe I should start by looking at the movie itself. I've watched the movie several times and I was personally confused about how this group was organized.  I heard team and squad thrown around... which was weird.  To me a squad is a very small unit that is made up of teams.  However this small unit, a squad to me, seemed to have smaller teams and squads in it.  For a while I just assumed that it was Hollywierd and didn't give it much though.  The LEG products that I got seemed to confirm that suspicion.  That changed when I got the Colonial Marine Tech Manual.  More on that later.

Anyway, I've never taken the time to look closely at the movie but apparently others have.  And some of the things I've seen on-line are real eye openers.  The article below is one such gem that I've found very helpful in my mulling over building my USCMC company.  I didn't write the stuff below though.  I grabbed it off the web a while ago and I have no real clue where I found it.  I know it was on a board that was discussing the movie.  Anyway, this person has some great thoughts that I would like to share.  It definitely has me thinking about how a Marine section works.  So without any further ado...

"In the movie they weren’t at full capacity. They only had one section, maybe because the higher ups in the chain of command didn’t really believe Ripley’s story, so didn’t want to waste resources?

They were also down an APC driver for some reason, causing Bishop to fulfil that role.

As for the TO&E in the movie, I did a bit of research and came up with the following. (Though I haven’t studied the rank insignia on the marines uniforms yet, so some of these guesses might be a bit off. Also I’m not certain I put everyone in the correct squads so a little help would be appreciated here.)

Anyway in the movie the platoon basically looked like this:-

Platoon Commander
2Lt. Gorman. S.

Platoon Support and Non Military
Exo. Bishop (341-B) - Synthetic (non command role)
Burke. Carter J. - Company Advisor.
FltLt. Ripley. Ellen. - Mission Advisor. (Holds non military warrant officer rank)

Marine Aerospace Wing Attachment - MAW (Dropship Crew)
Cpl. Ferro. C. - Pilot
Pfc. Spunkmeyer. D. - Weapons Operator

Section Sergeant
Msg. Apone. A. - Platoon Sergeant / 1st squad's leader.

1st Squad
Pfc. Hudson. W. - Com-tech/Rifleman.
Pfc. Vasquez. J. - Smartgunner.
Pvt. Wierzbowski. T. - Rifleman.
Pvt. Crowe. T. - Rifleman.

2nd Squad
Cpl. Hicks. D - 2nd squad’s leader.
Cpl. Dietrich. S. - Medic/Rifleman
Pvt. Drake. M. - Smartgunner.
Pvt. Frost. R. - Rifleman.

In the movie, Hudson and Vasquez are one of the Gun Team, and I noticed Drake and Hicks forming a Gun Team as well after the "order and search by twos" command is given. And Hicks tells Dietrich and Frost "your up", so that's a rifle team, so that only leaves Wierzbowski and Crowe for the remaining Rifle team.

Fire Teams
Gun team 1 = Vasquez + Hudson
Rifle team 1 = Wierzbowski + Crowe
Gun team 2 = Hicks + Drake
Rifle team 2 = Dietrich + Frost

As for the rank & insignia I found out that the USCM is similar to the US army insignia. Though its not exact, there are differences in title and insignia. Also found out that most of the marines don't wear insignia on their BDU's, only Apone and Ferro on her flightsuit. Not sure about Spunkmeyer.

Ranks (Abbreviation)
2nd Lieutenant (2Lt)
Master Sergeant (Msg)
Corporal (Cpl)
Lance Corporal (Lcpl)
Private First Class (Pfc)
Private (Pvt)

Non Military Ranks
Executive Officer (Exo)
Flight Lieutenant (FltLt)"

Anyway, some pretty detailed stuff and a lot to chew on.  My next post will have my conclusions in this and information I've gleaned from other sources.

Semper Fi!  Carry on...


  1. Great composition! Which companies figures were you thinking of using for the models? I have an Aliens APC in 15mm scale which was a Konami Japanese Candy toy - you can still get them on ebay and I have a photo here for reference (second photo down) :

  2. Right now I'm using QRF's Deep Space Marines. Khurasan said that they're going to have something similar pretty similar coming out soon. I'll definitely be looking at them.

    Vehicle wise, I with you. The Konami APC is the best for 15mm. However Khurasan has an excellent wheeled APC too. It isn't a M577, but it's a great vehicle in its own right.