Swiss Infantry Platoon (2019-Present)

Military Organization > Switzerland > Swiss Infantry Platoon (2019-Present)

Swiss Rifle Platoon Organization with Piranha 2C

Part of: Infantry Company of the Infantry Battalion (Territorial Division)

Type: Motorized Infantry

Time Frame: 2019-Present (Modern)

Personnel: 1-2 Officers, 42-43 Other Ranks


The following is the organization of the Swiss Army Infantry Platoon as it applies to its Territorial Division Infantry Battalions. These are motorized infantry, mounted in either a variant of the MOWAG Piranha IIC (APC-93) or the MOWAG Duro IIIP (GMTF 11 Pl/2t 6x6 gl). The vehicles are more or less interchangeable with the same personnel and equipment for both types of vehicles, but vary in application depending on environment.


Generally, each Infantry Company has four Infantry Platoons (this), while each Infantry Battalion has a Staff Company, three Infantry Companies, and a Combat Support Company with 81mm mortars and snipers. This information broadly applies to units in Infantry Battalions, Mountain Battalions (Gebirgsinfanterie and Gebirgsschützen), and the Carbiniers Battalion. Territorial Divisions generally have four to five of such battalions, in addition to a Divisional Staff Battalion, Engineer Battalion, and Search & Rescue Battalion. This makes the regionally-based Territorial Divisions the size of large brigades or very small divisions.


↓ Organization

Vehicle One (APC-93 or GMTF 11 Pl/2t 6x6 gl)

Vehicle Crew

1× Platoon Leader, Leutnant or Oberleutnant, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Vehicle Machine Gunner, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Driver, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with a 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

Troop Bravo (of Infantry Group)

1× Group Leader, Wachtmeister, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle (optionally with Kern Aarau 4x24 scope)

1× Machine Gunner, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 LMg 05 Light Machine Gun

1× Anti-Tank Rifleman, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle (with GwA 97 Grenade Launcher) and Panzerfaust 3 or MATADOR

1× Rifleman, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

Troop Alpha (of Infantry Group)

1× Troop Leader, Wachtmeister, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle (optionally with Kern Aarau 4x24 scope)

1× Machine Gunner, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 LMg 05 Light Machine Gun

1× Anti-Tank Rifleman, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle (with GwA 97 Grenade Launcher) and Panzerfaust 3 or MATADOR

1× Rifleman/Breacher, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle


Vehicle Three (APC-93 or GMTF 11 Pl/2t 6x6 gl)

Vehicle Crew

1× Deputy Platoon Leader, Oberwachtmeister/Leutnant, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Vehicle Machine Gunner, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Driver, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with a 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

(same Dismounted Group as Vehicle One)


Vehicle Two & Four (APC-93 or GMTF 11 Pl/2t 6x6 gl)

Vehicle Crew

1× Vehicle Commander, Wachtmeister, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Vehicle Machine Gunner, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

1× Driver, Soldat/Gefreiter, armed with a 1 Stgw 90 Rifle

(same Dismounted Group as Vehicle One)

↓ Discussion

​The Swiss Army Infantry Platoon is a motorized infantry formation and one of the fundamental close combat elements of Switzerland's Territorial Infantry Battalions. These battalions are part of one of four Territorial Divisions, which are tied to Territorial Regions for the purposes of regional defense and coordinating civilian-military operations in a given area. These divisions are in addition to the Army (Heer), which consists of three Mechanized Brigades composed principally of Panzer and Mechanized Battalions (each with two Panzer Companies with Leopard 2A4s and two Panzergrenadier Companies with CV9030s) and Reconnaissance Battalions (with three Recce Companies mounted in MOWAG Eagles).

The platoon itself consists of four vehicles and four dismounted Infantry Groups (Infanterie Gruppe in German and Groupe de combat d’Infanterie in French). These may be a mix of APC-93s (a variant of the MOWAG Piranha IIC 8x8 armored personnel carrier) or the GMTF 11 Pl/2t 6x6 gl (a variant of the MOWAG DURO IIIP 6x6). Both are armed with M2HB 12.7mm heavy machine guns (designated Mg 64 in Swiss service) and vehicle crews are trained to operate both. Generally speaking, the Piranha seems to be preferred for operations in the countryside while the DURO is preferred for urban operations, although this may not be entirely prescriptive. These vehicles are split into two sections, whose structure is mirrored on the dismount. The first section is led by the Platoon Leader, who is typically a Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant) or Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant) while the second section is led by the Deputy Platoon Leader, typically an Oberwachtmeister (Sergeant First Class) or Leutnant. Both act as vehicle commanders. When the platoon dismounts, either could remain mounted to command the vehicles depending on the orders of the Platoon Leader. However, if both dismount, command of the mounted element passes over to the senior-most Vehicle Commander. Vehicle Commanders are equivalent in rank and status to Group Leaders, both being Wachtmeister (Sergeant). As such, neither is superior to the other, although when mounted the Vehicle Commanders are the ones taking orders from platoon leadership. Further, on the dismount, the vehicles generally act as a separate entity from the dismounts under platoon orders rather than group orders. The vehicles are further crewed by a Machine Gunner (who mans the remote machine gun on both vehicles) and a Driver.

Equipment of the Swiss Infantry Squad

Each dismount Infantry Group meanwhile consists of eight personnel. They are split into two troops or teams (équipe in French and trupp in German) each under a leader. There appears to be some variation in how things are organized and who is equipped with what as several Swiss servicemembers have given conflicting reports of what their units do, so we are reporting what seems to be the most generally true. Troop Bravo is under the command of the Group Leader, who typically ranks Wachtmeister. He is the only non-commissioned officer in the group. Troop Alpha is under the Troop Leader, who is typically a Gefreiter (junior enlisted with some time in service). The troops are designated as such because typically the Troop Leader's takes the lead position in movements and when breaching buildings, while the Group Leader's troop follows and supports. However, in some units, the naming convention may be reversed, with the Group Leader in Alpha and the Troop Leader in Bravo. Either way, each troop further consists of a Light Machine Gunner, Anti-Tank Rifleman, and Rifleman.

The Group Leader and Troop Leader are armed with Stgw 90 rifles. Generally speaking, these two (or at least the Troop Leader depending on the unit) will also be equipped as designated marksmen with a Kern Aarau 4x24 optic. While there are practical advantages to giving leaders optics over other soldiers (enhancing their target acquisition capabilities), this change was mainly to cope with the limited time the Swiss Army has to train conscripts. Swiss DMR doctrine places an emphasis on rapid target acquisition with carefully aimed first shots and rapid follow-on shots to increase hit probability if a mistake was made or at least suppress the target in a very short period of time. Given the Troop Leader and Group Leader are generally the most experienced soldiers in the group (or at least the most competent) logic follows that they can make the most out of the added capability. However, as stated previously, there is variation as to who actually gets the DMR(s), so in some circumstances the Group and Troop Leader won't be the ones with it. In some instances, it could just be the soldier in the group who is most skilled at marksmanship.

The Machine Gunners meanwhile are equipped with the LMg 05, a short-barreled variant of the FN Minimi belt-fed light achine gun chambered in 5.56x45mm. They appear to usually be equipped with EOTech Holographic sights as well. Next up, the Anti-Tank Riflemen may be armed with a variety of weapon systems. Since 2019, they have been at least armed with Stgw 90 rifles and GwA 97 under-barrel grenade launchers (these used to be issued to the Riflemen). However—again with unit variation—sometimes a grenade launcher goes to a Rifleman instead. AT Riflemen may further be equipped with either a Panzerfaust 3 or MATADOR in the future. The MATADOR may provide specificity for operations in urban environments with its HESH/HEAT rounds, but we are unsure if they will be replacing the Pzf 3 eventually in the motorized infantry. Each AT Rifleman carries only one munition.

Rounding out the dismount groups are two Riflemen, one per troop. Both are armed with Stgw 90 rifles, but may be assigned other specialty functions. For example, there is usually one breacher/demolitions specialists in the group who is responsible for explosives and operating breaching kits. Another Rifleman could operate a 60mm mortar for signalling at night as well.


↓ Main Sources

  • Consultation with multiple Swiss Army servicemembers

Article written by Brendan Matsuyama

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