top of page

Military Organization > United Kingdom > British Army Rifle Platoon (Current)

British Army Rifle Platoon (Current) 

The following is the current organization of the British Army Rifle Platoon effective as of 2019. This organization followed the adoption of the L85A3 in 2018, as well as other organizational changes that are hot off the presses (such as the removal of the L110A2 or FN Minimi Para at the section level). This info is primarily based on feedback from servicemembers and from a source who is up to date on the British Army's doctrine development.


  1. Organization

  2. Discussion

Modern British Infantry Section-01.png


  • Type: Infantry Platoon

  • Origin: British Army (United Kingdom)

  • Personnel: 1 Officer and 29 Enlisted

​→ Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer and 4 Enlisted)

  • 1× Platoon Commander, Second Lieutenant/Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle

  • 1× Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle

  • 1× Signaller, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle

  • 2× Runners, Privates (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle each

​→ 3× Rifle Sections (8 Enlisted Each) [A]

  • Charlie Fire Team (4 men)

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and 1 Glock 17 pistol

    • 1× Rifleman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and 1 L123A2 under-barrel grenade launcher 

    • 1× Sharpshooter, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L129A1 rifle

  • Delta Fire Team (4 men)

    • 1× Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and 1 Glock 17 pistol

    • 1× Rifleman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and 1 L123A2 under-barrel grenade launcher 

    • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L7A2 general-purpose machine gun [B] or 1 L85A3 rifle

[A] One MATADOR recoilless rifle  and 1 NLAW disposable ATGM, or 2 NLAWs, are available to each rifle section, but not assigned to any specific section member. This replaced the AT4-CS, which was an interim replacement for the LAW 80.

[B] The L7A2 is an optional armament to be issued depending on the situation.


​→ Alternative Section Organization

  • Assault Group (5 men)

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and Glock 17 pistol

    • 2× Riflemen, Privates (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle each

    • 2× Grenadiers, Privates (OR-1), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and 1 L123A2 under-barrel grenade launcher each

  • Gun Group (3 men)

    • 1× Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 L85A3 rifle and Glock 17 pistol

    • 1× Sharpshooter, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L129A1 rifle

    • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 L7A2 general-purpose machine gun




The British Army rifle platoon consists of a platoon headquarters and 3 rifle sections. Although the basic platoon structure has remained the same since the maneuver support section was removed in 2001, the particulars of the section-level structure and equipment were updated in 2018 going into 2019.


The platoon headquarters consists of a platoon commander (second lieutenant or lieutenant), platoon sergeant (sergeant), signaller/radio operator (private), and 2 runners (privates).


Each rifle section is consists of 8 enlisted personnel. They are each commanded by a corporal assisted by a lance corporal acting as section second-in-command (2IC). The section is further subdivided into 2 fireteams. The section commander typically commands the Charlie Fire Team, while the 2IC commands the Delta Fire Team.


Each fire team consists of the fire team leader, rifleman, grenadier, and either a sharpshooter or machine gunner or additional rifleman. All members are privates with the exception of the section commander and section 2IC. The 8th man may either be a rifleman or, when the situation dictates, a general-purpose machine gunner (more about this will be addressed in the "Weapons" section). In armoured infantry sections mounted in Warrior IFVs, there are typically only 7 dismounts with a rifleman being dropped.

Although the platoon lacks any combat medics, with combat medical technicians (CMT) concentrated at the company level, every man in the sections receive some rudimentary combat life saver (CLS) training (MATT 3 BCD). Meanwhile, one member of the section receives more in-depth CLS training, called a "Team Medic."


Summary of Changes

  • The L85A2 IW was replaced by the L85A3 IW as the primary service rifle.

  • The 60mm mortarman and L7A2 machine gunner were removed from the platoon headquarters and replaced with 2 runners.

  • One L7A2 general-purpose machine gun (FN MAG 58) was made available to each rifle section.

  • One of the section’s 2 L129A1 designated marksman rifles was removed and replaced by a rifleman.

  • The section’s 2 L110A2 light machine guns (FN Minimi Para) were removed and replaced with rifleman, with the optional L7A2 providing sections with a belt-fed capability when needed.



The new primary service rifle of the British Army is the L85A3, which was introduced into service in 2018 to replace the L85A2. The A3 is essentially a modernized upgrade package for the A2, intended to extend the L85’s serviceability into the 2020s. The rifles are typically paired with the ELCAN SpecterOS 4× Lightweight Day Sight (LDS) with a mini-red dot sight (MRD) mounted on top. Each grenadier is also armed with a L123A1 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher - the British designation for the Heckler & Koch AG36, also known as the M320 in U.S. service. All infantry in the platoon, aside from the sharpshooters and machine gunners, are armed with the L85A3, although the L85A2 may still be in service with some units as it is phased out. Meanwhile the sharpshooter is armed with an L129A1 designated marksman rifle produced by LMT in the U.S.


After the removal of the L110A2 (FN Minimi Para) from the section, the L7A2 was pushed down from the platoon headquarters to the rifle sections and increased in number. The typical first line ammunition carriage for the L7A2 is 500 rounds for the gunner, 500 rounds for the section 2IC, and 1,000 rounds per section. The remainder is distributed as part of the Virtus load carriage system. No spare barrel is carried when employed at the section level. The gun is deployed from a bipod in this role. From a doctrine perspective, this shouldn’t be thought of as the L7A2 replacing the L110A2. Rather, when the decisions were made, it was sold as replacing volume with precision. The removal of the Minimis was justified by the capacity of the L85A3 and L129A1 to provide more precise fires over the Minimis, which would theoretically offset the decreased volume of fire in regard to suppression. The L7A2 is considered to be an optional armament at the sections’ disposal should they need the capability. For example, in armoured infantry sections, it has been observed that the section’s 7 dismounts may leave the L7A2 at home as they have the support of their vehicle’s cannon and machine guns. Alternatively, the section can be organized into a more traditional assault group and gun group organization, similar to the rifle group and gun group set up of old. In this situation, the 2IC would lead the gun group which also includes the L7A2 gunner and the sharpshooter with the remainder under the command of the section commander.


The section is also authorized 1 MATADOR recoilless rifle and 1 NLAW disposable ATGM. The prior gives the section an enhance anti-structure and anti-vehicle capability, while the latter can be thought of a more compact Javelin equivalent that gives the section a top-attack capability against main battle tanks and other vehicles. These weapons replaced the AT4-CS in British service, which itself was an interim solution replacing the LAW 80. In addition to the section’s primary weapons and anti-armor weapons, the section commanders and 2ICs are now typically also armed with Glock 17 semi-automatic pistols.



In terms of motorization and mechanization, there are four basic types of infantry battalions in the British Army:

  1. Armoured Infantry mounted in 4 FV510 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles per platoon (to be rerolled to Mechanised Infantry mounted in Boxer APCs in the 2020s)

  2. Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry mounted in 4 Mastiff PPV MRAP (also known as the Cougar) per platoon

  3. Light Protected Mobility Infantry mounted in 6 Foxhounds armored cars (Snatch Land Rover replacement) per platoon

  4. Light Role Infantry without integral vehicles.


In the British Army's "Army 2020" force structure, armoured infantry and heavy protected mobility infantry are concentrated in the 3rd Division. The division also includes an armoured regiment, consisting of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, and armoured cavalry mounted in Ajax. Meanwhile, light role and light protected mobility infantry are contained within the 1st Division. Additional unit types include light cavalry mounted in Jackals.


In addition to their duties as runners, the platoon headquarters' runners may also be tasked with operating the platoon headquarters’ quad bike and trailer. Each platoon is authorized 1 Yamaha 450 Grizzly Quad Bike.

bottom of page