Military Organization > New Zealand > New Zealand Army Rifle Platoon (Current)

New Zealand Army Rifle Platoon (Current)

The following is the current organization of the New Zealand Army Rifle Platoon effective as of 2017. This organization followed the adoption of the LMT MARS-L, first issued in 2017. This is based upon consultation with multiple New Zealand servicemembers and the 2017 published RNZIR rifle platoon manual.

Contents:

  1. Organization

  2. Discussion

  3. Posters/Prints

  4. Sources

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Organization

  • Type: Infantry Platoon

  • Origin: New Zealand Army (New Zealand)

  • Personnel: 1 Officer and 33 Enlisted

​→ Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer and 3 Enlisted)

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

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

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

  • 1× Medic, Privates (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

​→ 3× Rifle Sections (10 Enlisted Each)

  • A Team (5 men)

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Marksman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 DMW (LMT 308 MWS) rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Rifleman or Signaller [A], Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Lead Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

  • B Team (5 men)

    • 1× Section Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Machine Gunner [A], Private (OR-1), armed with 1 Maximi LSW light machine gun and 1 Glock 17 PPW

    • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Cover Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

[A] The designation of a section signaller (radio operator) is at the discretion of the section commander, as detailed in the TO&E. In practice, the signaller is usually replaced by a rifleman due to impracticality of a section-level signaller.

[B] The FN MAG 58 is sometimes used as a section-level machine gun in low readiness units.

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​→ Alternative Section Organization (Breach and Clear)

  • A Team (Clearance) (6 men)

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Marksman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 DMW (LMT 308 MWS) rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Rifleman or Signaller, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Lead Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Cover Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

  • B Team (Overwatch) (4 men)

    • 1× Section Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 Maximi LSW light machine gun and 1 Glock 17 PPW

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Marksman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 DMW (LMT 308 MWS) rifle

​→ Alternative Section Organization (Tactical Vehicle Movement)

  • A Team (4 men)

    • 1× Section Commander, Corporal (OR-4), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Marksman, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 DMW (LMT 308 MWS) rifle

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Rifleman or Signaller, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

  • B Team (3 men)

    • 1× Section Second-in-Command, Lance Corporal (OR-3), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 Maximi LSW light machine gun and 1 Glock 17 PPW

    • 1× Assistant Machine Gunner, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

  • C Team (3 men) [B]

    • 1× Grenadier, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle and M203PI grenade launcher

    • 1× Lead Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

    • 1× Cover Scout, Private (OR-1), armed with 1 MARS-L rifle

[B] If there are more than two teams formed, the third team will be commanded by a Private designated by the section commander. 

 

Discussion

Overview

The New Zealand Army rifle platoon consists of a platoon headquarters and 3 rifle sections. These are made up by 1 officer and 33 enlisted personnel.

The platoon headquarters consists of the platoon commander (Second Lieutenant/Lieutenant), platoon sergeant (Sergeant), signaller/radio operator (Private), and medic (Private). All are armed with MARS-L rifles. The platoon commander and platoon sergeant may be optionally armed with M203 grenade launchers depending on the situation and availability.

The section consists of 2 equally fire teams as laid out in the rifle platoon manual, although a more traditionally Commonwealth rifle and gun group set up is also used in practice and laid out in the manual as an alternative section organization. Each team is commanded by a non-commissioned officer. A Team is commanded by the section commander (Corporal) and B Team is commanded by the section second-in-command (Lance Corporal). When a rifle/gun group set up is used, one team contains the machine gunner, assistant machine gunner, and marksman commanded by the section 2IC (overwatch team or gun group) while the remainder of the section is in the rifle group/clearance team/maneuver team.

In the "by-the-book" organization of equally sized fire teams, the A Team consists of the section commander, marksman, grenadier, rifleman/signaller, and lead scout. The B Team consists of the section 2IC, machine gunner, assistant machine gunner, grenadier, and cover scout. All personnel other than the section commander and section 2IC are privates. This layout is further subdivided into 2-man buddy teams for maneuver (e.g. a 2-man scout group, 2-man machine gun team, etc.). This section layout is doctrinally flexible, as multiple alternative section layouts are available in the manual depending on the situation. Thus, some details, such as where the section machine gun (a 7.62mm Maximi) and marksman go, may change depending on the situation and manpower.

It should be noted that although a section-level signaller (radio operator), although designated in the manual, is not typically used in practice. In the manual, they are a rifleman first with the possibility of a section signaller to be designated. In reality, shorter range radios are used to communicate within the section and to the platoon signaller, who is typically the platoon's only signaller.

 

Weapons

The standard service rifle of the New Zealand Army is the LMT Modular Assault Rifle System-Light (MARS-L) assault rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO—a variant of the LMT CQB16. The MARS-L is an AR-15 variant with a traditional layout and pseudo direct gas impingement operation. This rifle was selected by New Zealand to replace a modified variant of the Australian F88 Austeyr (itself a variant of the Steyr AUG) in 2015. The 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) was first issued the new rifle in 2017. All members of the rifle platoon, with the exception of the machine gunners and marksmen, are armed with the MARS-L. It is used in conjunction the M203PI 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher by grenadiers.

The machine gunners are armed with FN Maximi light machine guns, variants of the Minimi chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. A similar weapon is in U.S. service as the Mk. 48. The Maximi replaced the Minimi chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO in 2013. It seems that prior to the replacement of the Minimi, there were 2 machine guns per section. As per the 2017 rifle platoon manual, each section now has 1 Maximi with a gunner and assistant gunner. The machine gunner is also armed with a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol for self defense.

Each rifle section is also equipped with 1 Designated Marksman Weapon (DMW), a variant of the LMT 308 MWS. This weapon is also in service in the British Army as the L129A1. The DMW chambers 7.62x51mm NATO and is used with a Leupold variable 4.5-14× optic and canted iron sights. Meanwhile, the MARS-Ls and Maximis are equipped with Trijicon 4x32 ACOG optics with a small Ruggedized Miniature Reflex (RMR) optic mounted on top.

In terms of anti-tank capability, sections may be armed with 1-2 M72 LAW disposable 66mm anti-tank weapons or 1 M3 Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless rifle depending on the situation. M72 LAWs are generally issued to the scouts or grenadiers, although this is unit-dependent, and are used in close country (read: forest) or urban environments for anti-structure and anti-light vehicle duties. Meanwhile, the Carl Gustaf is used in open country in mechanized assaults or in urban environments. Although the New Zealand Army has a limited amount of FGM-148 Javelin ATGMs in inventory, these are not readily available to regular infantry.

 

Vehicles

New Zealand infantry are generally mounted in MAN HX-series trucks, designated Medium and Heavy Operational Vehicles (MHOV). These vehicles are integral to the rifle companies. Two MHOVs can generally transport 1 rifle platoon. Unimog trucks are also used, but they are being phased out in favor of the MHOV. The New Zealand Army is also equipped with Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles (LOV), although these are generally limited to short-distance transport in the infantry and are more commonly used by supporting troops.

The 1 RNZIR used to be equipped with NZLAVs until 2012 when it was redesignated a light infantry battalion. Its complement of NZLAVs were transferred to the Queen Alexandra Mounted Rifles (QAMR). QAMR is an armored recce outfit and was increased in size from a squadron (company-sized) to a regiment more resembling a battalion in size (3 maneuver squadrons and 1 support squadron). However, even though the vehicles are not integral to the battalion, 1 RNZIR troopers are trained to deploy from NSLAVs and can operate as mechanized infantry in conjunction with QAMR vehicles. However, as the NZLAV (a variant of the LAV III) is only capable of carrying 7 troops by design (8 troops in practice) in addition to the crew members integral to QAMR, rifle sections operating as mechanized infantry would likely shuffle the rifle platoon organization or crossload to fit (assuming it is at full strength). Although certain skills, such as air assault and fast roping, are trained occassionally, there are no regular infantry units specializing in this skillset (which would be equivalent to the U.S. Army 101st Airborne).

 
 
 
 

Available Prints:

Sources

 

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

      - Marcus Aurelius

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