Small Unit Formations
The Infantry Battalion of World War Two consisted of a variety of subunits, each tasked with a specific mission. Commanders at this level were faced with a tremendously complex task unknown to their predecessors. Success depended on focussing the efforts of units as diverse as riflemen, mortars, machine guns and anti-tank assets into a single cohesive plan. That plan also had to fulfil the operational objectives of their Regimental or Brigade and Divisional superiors, which brought armour, artillery, engineers and even air support into the equation. It is a process that continually fascinates me, and so seems the perfect place to begin my attempted examination.
The paradox was that, while attempting to foster a doctrine of all arms cooperation, the various subunits of the Battalion still had to be able to conduct operations on their own. Within Infantry Battalions and the like, it was perhaps easier to achieve the correct balance, but some armies, the British in particular, experienced difficulties integrating foreign bodies such as armour into the mix. Combined arms operations will eventually be addressed, but this section is devoted to the elements of the typical foot slogging Infantry Battalion of the period.
The detailed organisation of the subunits of the formations fielded by the British, American, Russian and German armies is covered in the Example TOE section of the site, and also in the pages reached from the Index so will not be recounted here.
The Rifle Squad
The Rifle Platoon
The Rifle Company
The Weapons Company
The Infantry Battalion
Infantry Tactics of World War Two
Infantry Weapons of World War Two