Military Organization > Australia > ​Australian Light Rifle Platoon (Current)

Australian Light Rifle Platoon (Current) 

By Brendan Matsuyama, Editor

The following is the current organization of the Rifle Platoon of the Australian Army when in the light role effective as of 2015. This organization followed the adoption of the EF88 in replacement of the F88 Austeyr. This is based upon consultation with Australian servicemembers.

The next level up is the Rifle Company, which consists of a Company HQ and 3 Rifle Platoons.

Contents:

  1. Organization

  2. Discussion

  3. Sources

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Organization

  • Type: Infantry Platoon

  • Origin: Australian Army (Australia)

  • Personnel: 1 Officer and 27 Enlisted

​→ Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer and 3 Enlisted)

  • 1× Platoon Commander, Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

  • 1× Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

  • 1× Signaller, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

  • 1× Combat Medic, Privates (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

​→ 3× Rifle Sections (8 Enlisted Each)

  • Alpha Brick

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

    • 1× LSW Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 F89 LSW Machine Gun*

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle and ML40AUS UBGL**

    • 1× Rifleman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

  • Bravo Brick

    • 1× Section Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

    • 1× LSW Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 F89 LSW Machine Gun*

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle and ML40AUS UBGL

    • 1× Rifleman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 EF88 Rifle

* Maximi  in 7.62x51mm NATO used in Afghanistan specifically

** M203 used in some units. The ML40 replaced the M203 as the first-choice

 

Discussion

The Australian Army Rifle Platoon currently consists of a 4-man platoon headquarters and 3 rifle sections. These are made up by 1 officer and 27 enlisted personnel.

The Platoon Headquarters contains the Platoon Commander, a Lieutenant who is armed with an EF88. The Platoon Sergeant assists the Platoon Commander as the platoon's second-in-command (2IC), handling administrative tasks, discipline, and advising the Platoon Commander. A Signaller (radio operator) and Combat Medic are also included in the Platoon HQ.

The Rifle Sections are the close-combat units of the platoon. Each consists of 8 enlisted personnel split evenly into 2 fire teams (bricks) of 4 men each. This system replaced the traditional rifle, gun and scout group set up in the late 1990s or early 2000s. This system has been noted to have a number of advantages, including the flexibility granted by having an identical amount of machine guns and grenade launchers. As noted by Lieutenant Colonel Greg Colton, "because of mirrored weapons systems, each fire team is able to assault or suppress depending on the situation. No more awkward rebalancing of groups by the section commander under contact because the rifle group happened to be in the ideal fire support position for his gun group."

 

Alpha Brick is commanded by the Section Commander, while the Bravo Brick is commanded by the Section 2IC. Like in most other Commonwealth countries, the SECO is a Corporal and the 2IC is a Lance Corporal. According to the Australian Army's website, it takes about 6-8 years to gain promotion to Corporal (roughly equivalent in time to a American Sergeant) and 3 years to gain promotion to Lance Corporal (roughly equivalent to an American Corporal).

 

Each fire teams' base of fire is the F89 Minimi chambered in 5.56x45mm. The Maximi and MAG58 saw use in Afghanistan at the section level due to the extended engagement distances in that theatre and the threat of being outranged by the Talibans' 7.62x54mm weapons. For the F89 Minimi, each section member carries a minimum of 200 rounds of 5.56x45mm in belts (800 rounds per gun), although more could be carried depending on the circumstance. The standard ammo load for  the EF88 is 6x 30-round magazines carried in the individual load carriage equipment.

In addition, a Grenadier serves an ML40AUS 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher attached to the EF88, which replaced the M203 following the replacement of the F88. The Rifleman—what used to be called a Marksman—is armed with an EF88. Typically this man and/or the Grenadier would be armed with 66mm M72 LAWs if available. The brick commanders and gunners are typically not armed with LAWs.

On paper, the light role Rifle Platoon should have an integral 12-man Manoeuvre Support Section, made up of 3 teams of 4 men each serving a MAG58 general-purpose machine gun. This was intended to be implemented under the Infantry 2012 changes as of 2008 and would theoretically give a light role platoon commander (not mechanized) 3 MAG58 machine guns and a mix of Carl Gustavs and more under-barrel grenade launchers. Each team would consist of 1 Team Leader (one of which is the Section Commander) with an EF88, 1 Gunner with a MAG58, 1 Grenadier with an EF88 and ML40 (and Carl Gustav recoilless rifle if the mission dictates) and 1 Sharpshooter with an HK417 designated marksman rifle. In reality however, these sections are a part of the DFSW (direct fire support weapon) Platoon of the infantry battalion's Support Company. They are tasked out to the Rifle Companies/Rifle Platoons at the battalion commander's discretion to bolster the strength of units expected to come into heavy contact.
 

Mechanised battalions are mounted in integral M113AS4 armored personnel carriers. Motorised battalions are mounted in Bushmaster PMV infantry mobility vehicles. Both are able to hold 1 section per vehicle. In mechanised platoons, each section would also have an integral M113 and 2 vehicle crewmen in addition to the 8-man sections. Light role infantry do not have integral vehicles and would be moved by MAN trucks. The following are the roles of the different Australian infantry battalions:

  • Full-Time Regulars

    • 1st Brigade

      • 5 RAR — Motorised​

      • 7 RAR — Mechanised

    • 3rd Brigade

      • 1 RAR — Motorised

      • 3 RAR — Mechanised

    • 7th Brigade

      • 6 RAR — Mechanised

      • 8/9 RAR — Motorised

    • 1st Division Amphibious Task Group

      • 2 RAR — Amphibious Light Role
         

  • Reserves​

    • 4th Brigade

      • 5/6 RVR (Victoria) — Light Role​

      • 8/7 RVR (Victoria) — Light Role

    • 5th Brigade

      • 1/19 RNSWR (New South Wales) — Light Role

      • 4/3 RNSWR (New South Wales) — Light Role

      • 2/17 RNSWR (New South Wales) — Light Role

      • 41 RNSWR (New South Wales) — Light Role

    • 9th Brigade

      • 10/27 RSAR (South Australia) — Light Role

      • 12/40 RTR (Tasmania) — Light Role

    • 11th Brigade

      • 9 RQR (Queensland) — Light Role

      • 25/49 RQR (Queensland) — Light Role

      • 31/42 RQR (Queensland) — Light Role

    • 13th Brigade

      • 11/28 RWAR (Western Australia) — Light Role

      • 16 RWAR (Western Australia) — Light Role

Sources

 

"The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious."

      - Marcus Aurelius

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