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BAR teams, grog question


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BAR teams appear alot in films and seem to have been popular in Infantry support roles or even to hunt the odd sniper.

So I would say fairly common.

That's interesting. I suppose they must have existed or BFC would not have been moved to include them. However, in all my reading I've never come across them except as teams detached from their home squad to provide a base of support while the rest of the squad assaulted.

Michael

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Well, who knows how accuratte this is but found it with a google search

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_men_in_a_squad_in_World_War_2

US Army Infantry Squad - 12 men: Squad leader (Thompson submachine gun 'SMG', M1 carbine, or M1 Garand rifle), 10 rifleman (M1 Garand rifle), 1 automatic rifleman (BAR):). Organized as: Able Team (2 scouts); Baker Team (5 rifleman), Charlie Team (3 rifleman + BAR). One rifleman per platoon would generally carry a bazooka in addition to his personal weapon. There were 3 rifle squads per platoon in a rifle company.

US Airborne Infantry Squad - 12 men: same as infantry squad except that the BAR :)is replaced by a M1919A1 light machine gun (LMG). Same organization as the regular infantry squad. In practice the organization was flexible to the mission with one or more rifles often replaced by submachine guns and one man in the squad carrying a bazooka (generally one per platoon).

USMC Rifle Squad - 13 men (1944): The marine squad evolved throughout the war, adding additional firepower with each increment until settling on the 13-man configuration in mid 1944. Organized with a squad leader (Thompson SMG), and 3 x 4-man fire teams (3 rifles + 1 BAR each):). In addition to the assigned personal weapons, the company commander could allocate 1 demolition pack and 1 flame thrower per squad as well as 1 bazooka per platoon, depending on mission requirements. These weapons would be carried by one of the squad's rifleman in addition to a personal weapon (often an M1 carbine to lighten the load). Since marines were often engaged in close-in fighting, they would frequently scrounge Thompson SMG's to replace rifles when available.

I work with a lot of former marines and according to them the marines build there infantry around machine guns and the bar in ww2.

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And IIRC, armored infantry squads have 10 men only and I assume at least one of them has a BAR but I'm not sure.

Towards the end of the war it was common to have 2 BARs in a 12 infantry squad but I'm not sure if it was an official TOE change or not.

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On paper, armored rifle squads had rifles only throughout the war. I'm sure some BARs were scrounged here and there.

I'm making a scenario and wondered if it would be too far from the truth to add a BAR team to some of the armored squads. They seem puny with out the BAR and with two less men. Wonder whose bright idea, IRL, it was to short them the BAR. There is room in the halftrack for them.

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I'm making a scenario and wondered if it would be too far from the truth to add a BAR team to some of the armored squads. They seem puny with out the BAR and with two less men. Wonder whose bright idea, IRL, it was to short them the BAR. There is room in the halftrack for them.

ISTR someone suggesting that it was considered that the track's MG added firepower to replace the BAR. Though with the tin can armour of the transport that was evidently optimistic.

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I'm making a scenario and wondered if it would be too far from the truth to add a BAR team to some of the armored squads. They seem puny with out the BAR and with two less men. Wonder whose bright idea, IRL, it was to short them the BAR. There is room in the halftrack for them.

From all of my reading one thing seems pretty true across all armies - soldiers scrounged for extra firepower all the time and a ToE is simply a paper strength having about as much relevance as the documents on file for building permits as opposed to what folks actually do on their homes deciding to ignore the $600 cost to have to wake up some county inspector to come over to your house and say "yeah looks fine, but what about all this other stuff?" (the previous owners un permitted work done by a cheap ass contractor)

Just finishing up the 101st Airborne trilogy by George Koskimaki and there is frequent mention of additional MGs acquired by the troops including taking MGs off disabled 10th AD halftracks and even trying to use abandoned tanks. I tried to take some with a grain of salt as per usual every German tank it seems is a Tiger. Even the Panther picture in the book is a Tiger.

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Regarding U.S. Armored Infantry specifically:

One of the best free and online TOE resources I know of is bayonetstrength.150m.com. 1944 TOE for U.S. Armored infantry is here:

http://www.bayonetstrength.150m.com/UnitedStates/Armored/united_states_armored_infantry_battalion%201944%20to%201945.htm

In brief, there are no BARs organic to the U.S. Armored Infantry Battalion. At the platoon level, instead of BARs organic to the rifle squad as in the "straight leg" infantry, each rifle platoon has an MG squad with 2 x M1919 MGs. As previously noted, there are also additional .30 and .50 MGs mounted on the halftracks organic to the A.I. platoon that could presumably be dismounted and used on ground mounts if the platoon felt the need for more automatic weapons firepower. There as also an SMG alotted to each halftrack nominally assigned to the driver, but I'm sure the SMGs were often pulled out and carried by the infantry squads if they felt a close-range engagement was likely.

So in general, since the weapon is completely absent from their official TOE and supply chain, I would not expect "extra" BARs specifically to be very common amongst U.S. Armored Infantry formations. Not to say Armored Infantry wouldn't occasionally find a way of "acquiring" a few BARs, but in general they'd have much easier access to additional .30 M1919A4/A6, Thompson/M3 SMGs, and .50 M2 BMGs if they wanted to augment their firepower.

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ISTR someone suggesting that it was considered that the track's MG added firepower to replace the BAR. Though with the tin can armour of the transport that was evidently optimistic.

IIRC, they were intended to be dismounted, not fought from the vehicle.

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That's interesting. I suppose they must have existed or BFC would not have been moved to include them. However, in all my reading I've never come across them except as teams detached from their home squad to provide a base of support while the rest of the squad assaulted.

If I understand it correctly, none of the specialist teams available in the editor are strictly correct from a official TOE perspective so you're unlikely to come across them except in personal memoirs with entries like "and then we sent Smitty left flanking with the BAR we'd scrounged back in St Lo". I think the specialist teams - like the individual vehicles - are all there to allow players and editors to modify the official TOE to be almost anything they want.

This is a Good Thing™.

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YankeeDog,

Regarding the Bayonet Strength site, it explicitly lists the Armored Infantry squad as having 1 SMG and 9 rifles. I discussed this previously, but don't recall the thread.

YankeeDog & JonS,

You are correct in that Armored Infantry did, in fact, carry tripods for the vehicle mounted MGs. I believe this is directly stated in the ORDNANCE CATALOGUE, which lists what's in each vehicle. I think, though, a little digging will show numerous instances that the MGs were used while mounted. Otherwise, why go to the expense of installing a skate rail and the mounts to use it? Clearly, they wanted to be able to deliver fire from practically any point.

Anyone read this? http://www.amazon.com/World-Armored-Infantry-Tactics-Elite/dp/1846036925 It's well reviewed and would seem to have the information we need.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Or maybe we should just order the Armored Infantry Battalion manual we need from BFC and stop spinning our wheels.

http://www.battlefront.com/index.php?option=com_flippingbook&book_id=26

How about if we found the bloody thing online?

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:L7TRB0c1DfEJ:www.easy39th.com/files/FM_17-42_Armored_Infantry_Battalion_1944.pdf+us.+armored+infantry+manual&cd=29&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

Mind, this wasn't written until WAY after the Armored Infantry Battalions first entered combat.

"22. DISMOUNTED MARCHES.The armored infantry units march mounted until forced by the terrain, proximity of the enemy, orenemy fire, to dismount."

"23. BIVOUACS

(6) Enforcing fire control. All effective weaponsare used to fire against hostile low-flying airplanes.Carbines, pistols, and submachine guns are not considered effective. All troops charged with this duty are constantly prepared for immediate action, but will fire only upon order of an officer or 'responsible non-commissioned officer. No airplane will be fired uponunless it has been clearly recognized as hostile or ispositively identified as hostile, or attacks with bombsor gun fire. (See FM 100-5.)(7) Caliber .50 machine guns are manned. They may be removed from the vehicles and mounted on ground mounts."

CHAPTER 6 OFFENSIVE ACTION

Section I. GENERAL

29. GENERAL.a. MISSIONS. The armored infantry battalion inoffensive action is used as-(1) An assault element, attacking on a predetermined front to seize designated objectives.(2) A support element, supporting assaulting troops and consolidating gains of the front line units.(3) Reserves, providing depth for the attack and flank and rear protection for the attacking element. b. ATTACKING WITH TANKS (FM 17-36). The armored infantry normally is employed with tanks in offensive action. The infantry attack is coordinated with the tank attack to-(1) Protect tanks from enemy personnel executing antitank measures.(2) Seize ground from which tanks may attack.(3) Follow the tank attack closely, assisting by fire and seizing the objective, mopping up enemy resistance, and protecting the tank reorganization.(4) Form a base of fire for the tank attack.(5) Remove or destroy obstacles holding up tank attacks.c. TANK SUPPORT (FM 17-36). Tanks, conversely, assist infantry attacks by-(1) Supporting by fire.(2) Neutralizing hostile automatic weapons.(3) Neutralizing the objective until arrival of theinfantry.(4) Breaking up counterattacks. (5) Neutralizing or destroying hostile reserves, and destroying or disrupting command, communication,and supply installations.(6) Making paths through wire and other obstacles.d. For details on the employment of infantry and tanks, see FM 17-36.30.

Note well the following: (my note)

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ATTACK.

a. CHARACTERISTICS. The armored infantry battalion in the attack makes full use of its mobility, firepower, and light armor protection from small arms fire.b. MOBILITY. The armored infantry uses its transportation to move quickly to initial attack positions where the infantry dismounts and fights on foot.Vehicles, except those used for fire support, are then withdrawn to the best available concealed and protected positions. Here they are dispersed and local security established. The vehicles may be withdrawn by company or assembled as a battalion group. The reserve company or companies may remain with vehicles in concealed positions until committed to actionor required to change position. When the objective is taken, vehicles are moved forward to new positionsas necessary.c. FIRE POWER. In the attack the battalion utilize sall available weapons, including dismounted vehicular weapons when these are not needed for protection ofvehicles.d. ARMORED PROTECTION. The half-track personnel carriers provide protection for the troops against small-arms fire up to close ranges. The armor also gives protection against bomb and shell fragments.Troops are transported as far forward as possible in each situation; terrain, cover, and the type of weapons available to the. enemy governing the dismounting. The vehicular weapons are used to protect the attackingtroops against air attack. Armor on the half-track does not protect crews against antitank weapons and direct hits by assault guns and light artillery.

(My note) That the above passage isn't internally consistent is obvious, but it does indicate that under conditions of light resistance, as in a high speed exploitation, the Armored Infantry remains in the halftracks, which are expected to protect against the listed threats. Additionally, it's clear the Armored Infantry halftracks can, either with MGs mounted or dismounted, provide the base of fire for a tank attack. From other portions of the manual, not given here, multiple missions are listed in which the Armored Infantry stays in the halftracks. Doctrinally, the Armored Infantry is supposed to move at the same speed as the tanks it supports.

Regards,

John Kettler

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YankeeDog,

Regarding the Bayonet Strength site, it explicitly lists the Armored Infantry squad as having 1 SMG and 9 rifles. I discussed this previously, but don't recall the thread.

Yes. As I already said, Bayonet Strength also states that this SMG was supposedly the personal weapon of the HT driver (who is part of the squad). I don't doubt that this SMG left the HT frequently, though, if not with the driver, then with another squad member.

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akd - the reality is the armored infantry was the most automatic weapons heavy portion of the whole US infantry force. They had up to 2 MGs per track and routinely took one with them when they dismounted, usually a 30 cal browning. With a second, frequently 50 cal, left on the track to support from a distance. Some of the tracks would have single MGs, but again could dismount them.

Game treatments suffer from needing to make game designer decisions about vehicle vs foot use of their MGs, when the reality was more flexible. They tended to not fight the 'tracks, instead using them only to get to the position they'd engage from dismounted, and then they'd take what the mission required or allowed. A good solution is just to add 3 man MMG teams all over the place in scenarios with armored infantry forces, and some dismounted 50 cal teams in addition if they are in a static defense.

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akd - the reality is the armored infantry was the most automatic weapons heavy portion of the whole US infantry force. They had up to 2 MGs per track and routinely took one with them when they dismounted, usually a 30 cal browning. With a second, frequently 50 cal, left on the track to support from a distance. Some of the tracks would have single MGs, but again could dismount them.

Game treatments suffer from needing to make game designer decisions about vehicle vs foot use of their MGs, when the reality was more flexible. They tended to not fight the 'tracks, instead using them only to get to the position they'd engage from dismounted, and then they'd take what the mission required or allowed. A good solution is just to add 3 man MMG teams all over the place in scenarios with armored infantry forces, and some dismounted 50 cal teams in addition if they are in a static defense.

Sounds reasonable. That's what I'll do.

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Just remember that if you're adding MG teams to the OOB, those men need to come from somewhere. Depending on how many MG teams you're adding and the situation you're trying to depict, you may want to consider reducing some of the rifle squad headcounts to reflect men that have been pulled out of squad rifleman duties to support/carry the MGs.

There are a few other places additional manpower could come from in the Armored infantry Battalion other than the rifle squads -- In the TOEs as they are presented in CMBN, there's a few drivers etc. that could end up in MG teams, but this isn't that many. There are also some MG teams at the battalion level that could potentially be attached to any given Company.

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Just remember that if you're adding MG teams to the OOB, those men need to come from somewhere. Depending on how many MG teams you're adding and the situation you're trying to depict, you may want to consider reducing some of the rifle squad headcounts to reflect men that have been pulled out of squad rifleman duties to support/carry the MGs.

There are a few other places additional manpower could come from in the Armored infantry Battalion other than the rifle squads -- In the TOEs as they are presented in CMBN, there's a few drivers etc. that could end up in MG teams, but this isn't that many. There are also some MG teams at the battalion level that could potentially be attached to any given Company.

Good point. I can juggle the casualty level of the squad to reflect this. A side note. In the scenario that I am building, a huge one, there are ten or more trucks on the AI side, German, and AFAIK they are of no use to the defenders and are just targets for the attacker, so I recruited the drivers, each has an MP40, and put them in foxholes to fight along side the regular squad members. Seems like this would have been the normal thing to do when you need as many troops as you can get.

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...I recruited the drivers, each has an MP40, and put them in foxholes to fight along side the regular squad members. Seems like this would have been the normal thing to do when you need as many troops as you can get.

Hmmm, maybe. But I wonder how indispensable drivers were considered in the German army. They wouldn't have been as common among the general population as in the US, for instance.

Michael

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Hmmm, maybe. But I wonder how indispensable drivers were considered in the German army. They wouldn't have been as common among the general population as in the US, for instance.

Michael

Probably like any other skilled trooper they were valuable. What I'm portraying is that the Germans have their back against the wall and are scraping together a large enough force to repel the Americans who with their numbers and wealth of tanks are about to seize some very important objectives. The trucks have already served their purpose and are just targets. If we had triggers I could shift forces with them and put them to a good use. Trigger plug, trigger plug.

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