Military Organization > France > ​​​French Armored Infantry Section (1999-2015)

French Armored Infantry Section (1999-2015) 

By Brendan Matsuyama, Editor

The following is the organization of the Armored Infantry Section (Section d'infanterie blindée) of the French Army as per the 1999 "Manuel d'emploi de la section d'infanterie". In French parlance, "section" is equivalent platoon, while "groupe" is equivalent to squad. Thus, the section d'infanterie is equivalent to a rifle platoon. This organization and equipment would have been standard until 2015, when there were minor changes made as part of the Infantry Regiment 2019, which included increasing the number of marksmen from 2 to 3 and moving them to the squad-level,

This article covers the infantry sections that are mounted in VBCI infantry fighting vehicles or VAB armored personnel carriers. The organization is identical.

 

The next level up is the Combat Company, which generally consisted of 1 Command Section, 3 Infantry Sections and 1 Support Section.

Contents:

  1. Organization

  2. Discussion

  3. Sources

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Organization

  • Type: Mechanized Infantry Platoon

  • Origin: French Army (France)

  • Vehicles: 4 VBCI Infantry Fighting Vehicles or 4 VAB Armored Personnel Carriers

  • Personnel: 1 Officer and 38 Enlisted

​→ 1× Command Team—Équipe de commandement (1 Officer and 4 Enlisted)

  • 1× Section Commander, Lieutenant (OF-1) or Adjudant-chef (OR-9) or Adjudant (OR-8), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • 1× Assistant Section Commander, Sergent-chef (OR-6), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • 1× Radio Operator, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • 2× Precision Shooters, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FR F2 Sniper Rifle each
     

​→ 3× Combat Groups—Groupe de combat (9 Enlisted each)

  • 1× Group Commander, Sergent (OR-5), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • 300m Team (Le Trinôme 300)

    • 1× Team Leader, Caporal (OR-3) or Caporal-chef (OR-4), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

    • 2× Anti-Tank Riflemen, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle and 1 AT4 Anti-Tank Weapon

  • 600m Team (Le Trinôme 600)

    • 1× Team Leader, Caporal (OR-3) or Caporal-chef (OR-4), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

    • 1× Machine Gunner, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FN Minimi Light Machine Gun

    • 1× Light Mortarman, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle and LGI Mle F1 51mm Mortar

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Vehicle Commander, Sergent (OR-5), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

    • 1× Driver, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

​→ 1× Anti-Tank Group—Groupe antichar (7 Enlisted)

  • 1× Group Commander, Sergent (OR-5), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • 2× Eryx Teams

    • 1× Gunner, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 ERYX Anti-Tank Guided Missile 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

    • 1× Assistant Gunner, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

  • Vehicle Crew

    • 1× Vehicle Commander, Sergent (OR-5), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

    • 1× Driver, Soldat (OR-1/2), armed with 1 FAMAS F1 Rifle

 

Discussion

The Infantry Section is the close combat element of the Combat Company in the French Army analogous to a rifle platoon. It consists of a Command Team, 3 Combat Groups and 1 Support Group, with 4 integral armored vehicles.

The Command Team (Équipe de commandement) is analogous to the Platoon Headquarters, with the Section Commander (Chef de section), the Deputy Section Commander (Sous-officier adjoint), a Radio Operator (L'operateur radiophoniste) and 2 Precision Shooters (Tireurs de precision). The Precision Shooters are armed with the FR F2 sniper rifle, which is a bolt-action rifle and essentially a modernized and accurized MAS-36 chambered in 7.62x51mm. These marksmen can be attached to the Combat Groups, subordinate to those groups' commanders, at the discretion of the Section Commander.

 

The Command Team does not have its own vehicle, with each of the 4 vehicles being integral to the Combat Groups or Support Group. Thus, the Command Team is crossloaded across vehicles. Generally, the Section Commander—a Lieutenant—will ride with the Radio Operator in a vehicle, while the Deputy Section Commander—a Sergent-chef, equivalent to an American Staff Sergeant—will ride with one of the snipers. The remaining sniper will ride in another vehicle.

The Combat Group (Groupe de combat) is the close combat element of the Infantry Section, consisting of 9 personnel split into 3 elements. The whole group is led by the Group Commander (Chef de groupe). They are the commander of the vehicle when mounted, but dismount from the vehicle with the rest of the group. The vehicle crews include the Driver (Pilote) and Vehicle Commander (Chef d'engin), who is an NCO but subordinate to the Group Commander. He doubles as the vehicle gunner and takes over command of the vehicle in the Group Commander's absence. The vehicle remains subordinate to the orders of the Group Commander when dismounted, including in the direction of fires.

The dismounted element is further split into 2 teams of 3 men each under the overall command of the Group Commander. One team is designated the 300 Meter Team, so named because its weapon systems are meant to engage targets out to 300 meters. This team is analogous to an assault team or maneuver element, and consists of the Team Leader (Chef du trinôme) and 2 Riflemen. All men are armed with the FAMAS F1 Rifle, with the 2 Riflemen carrying 1 AT-4 disposable anti-tank weapon each. Meanwhile, the 600 Meter Team consists of 1 Team Leader, 1 Light Machine Gunner, and 1 Lance-Grenadier. The Light Machine Gunner is armed with an FN Minimi Para belt-fed light machine gun, while the Lance-Grenadier is armed with a LGI Mle F1 51mm mortar in addition to his FAMAS. This team is the group's support element.

Into the 2010s, it appears that the French Army fields a number of different optics, seemingly most common being the SCROME J4 scope (4x magnification), Aimpoint C4 COMP (non-magnified) and Eotech Model 552 Holographic Sight (non-magnified). Given the jobs of the 300 Meter and 600 Meter Teams, it stands to reason that if SCROME J4s were available, they would go to the 600 Meter team while the 300 Meter team would be armed with the non-magnified optics (or go without optics). For the HK416F, it has been announced that the French will be going with an Aimpoint Red Dot Sight paired with magnifiers, although some  SCROME J4 optics will be retained.

Lastly, Support Group (Groupe appui) or Anti-Tank Group (Groupe antichar) is a supporting element within the Infantry Section, serving 2 ERYX SACLOS-based wire-guided anti-tank missiles. The group is led by a Group Commander, with 2 ERYX Teams and a vehicle crew (same as the Combat Groups). Each team consists of a Gunner (Tireur ACCP) with the ERYX and FAMAS and Assistant (Aide tireur) with the FAMAS. The Assistant is responsible for carrying reloads for the ERYX, as well as assisting in its operation, prepare the position, and replace the Gunner if necessary.

 

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

      - Marcus Aurelius

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