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U.S. Army Rifle Squad (1918-2020)

Updated: Dec 14, 2019


This video chronicles every major change to the U.S. Army Rifle Squad's organization and equipment from World War I to the present day.


You can find a written summary of each organization from 1918 to today here:


1918—World War I (Sayen 2001)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with a Rifle*

  • 3 Riflemen, Private First Class, armed with Rifles*

  • 5 Riflemen, Private, armed with Rifles*

*Rifles were mostly M1917 Enfield. M1903 Springfield were more common at the beginning of the engagement and back home. Model 1892-99 Krags were used by National Guard and rear echelon units.


1920—Interwar (Table 28P)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 1 BAR Man, Private*, armed with an M1918 BAR and M1911 Pistol

  • 1 Grenadier, Private, armed with an M1903 Rifle and VB Grenade Launcher

  • 5 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1903 Rifles

*Two of 8 BAR Men per Rifle Company were authorized as Private First Class


1927—Interwar (Table 28W)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 1 BAR Man, Private*, armed with an M1918 BAR

  • 1 Grenadier, Private, armed with an M1903 Rifle and VB Grenade Launcher

  • 5 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1903 Rifles

*Six of 18 BAR Men per Rifle Company were authorized as Private First Class


1938—Interwar (T/O&E 7-17, 6 Dec. 1938)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 10 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1 Rifles

1938—Alternate Interwar (Sayen 2001)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 1 BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1918 BAR and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 1 Assistant BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 1 Ammo Man, Private, armed with an M1903 Rifle

  • 7 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1903 Rifles

1942—World War II (T/O&E 7-17, 1 April 1942)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1918A2 BAR

  • 1 Assistant BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Private, armed with an M1903 Rifle and M1 Grenade Launcher

  • 5 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1 Rifles

  • 2 Riflemen (Scouts), Private, armed with M1 Rifles

1943—World War II (T/O&E 7-17, 15 July 1943)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Corporal, armed with an M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1918A2 BAR

  • 1 Assistant BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Ammo Bearer, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 2 Grenadiers, Private, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

  • 2 Riflemen (Scouts), Private, armed with M1 Rifles

  • 3 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1 Rifles

1944—World War II (T/O&E 7-17, 26 Feb. 1944)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1918A2 BAR*

  • 1 Assistant BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Ammo Bearer, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 2 Grenadiers, Private, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

  • 2 Riflemen (Scouts), Private, armed with M1 Rifles

  • 3 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1 Rifles

*After June 1944, 6 spare BARs were made available in the Rifle Company weapons pool. Six of 9 rifle squads in the company could be armed with 2 BARs ad hoc.


1945—World War II (T/O&E 7-17, 1 June 1945)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 BAR Man, Corporal, armed with an M1918A2 BAR*

  • 1 Assistant BAR Man, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Ammo Bearer, Private, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 2 Grenadiers, Private, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

  • 2 Riflemen (Scouts), Private, armed with M1 Rifles

  • 3 Riflemen, Private, armed with M1 Rifles

*After June 1944, 6 spare BARs were made available in the Rifle Company weapons pool. Six of 9 rifle squads in the company could be armed with 2 BARs ad hoc.


1948—Korean War (T/O&E 7-17N, 21 April 1948)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Gunner, Corporal, armed with an M1918A2 BAR* and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 1 Assistant Gunner, Private First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Sniper, Private First Class, armed with an M1C/D Sniper Rifle

  • 4 Riflemen, Private First Class, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

*Six spare BARs were made available in the Rifle Company weapons pool. Six of 9 rifle squads in the company could be armed with 2 BARs ad hoc.


1950—Korean War (T/O&E 7-17N, 15 Nov. 1950)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Gunner, Corporal, armed with an M1918A2 BAR* and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 1 Assistant Gunner, Private First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Sniper, Corporal, armed with an M1C/D Sniper Rifle

  • 2 Riflemen, Corporal, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

  • 2 Riflemen, Private First Class, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

*Six spare BARs were made available in the Rifle Company weapons pool. Six of 9 rifle squads in the company could be armed with 2 BARs ad hoc.


1952—Korean War (T/O&E 7-17N, 15 May 1952)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Assistant Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Gunner, Corporal, armed with an M1918A2 BAR*

  • 1 Assistant Gunner, Private First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Sniper, Corporal, armed with an M1C/D Sniper Rifle

  • 2 Riflemen, Corporal, armed with M1 Rifles and M7 Grenade Launchers

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

*Six spare BARs were made available in the Rifle Company weapons pool. Six of 9 rifle squads in the company could be armed with 2 BARs ad hoc.


1956—Cold War (T/O&E 7-17T, 30 Dec. 1956)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Sergeant First Class, armed with an M1 Rifle

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M1 Rifle

  • 1 Gunner, Corporal, armed with an M1918A2 BAR

  • 3 Riflemen, Corporal/Private First Class*, armed with an M1 Rifle**

*Three Riflemen per squad were Corporals, 3 were Privates. Corporals were Senior Riflemen.

**One Rifleman was armed with an M1D Sniper Rifle. Two could be armed with M7 Grenade Launchers.


1960—Cold War (T/O&E 7-17D, 1 Feb. 1960)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M14 Rifle

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M14 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M14(M) Automatic Rifle

  • 1 Senior Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M14 Rifle

  • 2 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with M14 Rifles

1963—Vietnam War (T/O&E 7-17E, 15 July 1963)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M14 Rifle

Alpha Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M14 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M14E2 Automatic Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M79 Grenade Launcher and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M14 Rifle

Bravo Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M14 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M14E2 Automatic Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M79 Grenade Launcher and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 2 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with M14 Rifles


1967—Vietnam War

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

Alpha Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M79 Grenade Launcher and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

Bravo Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M79 Grenade Launcher and M1911A1 Pistol

  • 2 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with M16A1 Rifle


1970—Vietnam War (T/O&E 7-18H, 30 Nov. 1970)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

Alpha Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle and M203 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

Bravo Fire Team:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle and M203 Grenade Launcher

  • 2 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with M16A1 Rifle


1975—Cold War (T/O&E 7-18H, 30 Nov. 1970)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle and M203 Grenade Launcher

  • 2 Riflemen, Private First Class, armed with M16A1 Rifles


1984—Cold War (T/O&E 7-18H, 30 Nov. 1970)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist 4, armed with an M249 SAW or M16A1 Rifle*

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist 4, armed with an M16A1 Rifle and M203 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M16A1 Rifle

*The M249 SAW was not widely available to most infantry until the early 1990s.


1986—Cold War

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M16A2 Rifle

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M16A2 Rifle

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist, armed with an M249 SAW or M16A2 Rifle*

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist, armed with an M16A2 Rifle and M203 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M16A2 Rifle

*The M249 SAW was not widely available to most infantry until the early 1990s.


2005—GWOT (FM 3-21.8, March 2007)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M4 Carbine

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M4 Carbine

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist, armed with an M249 Light Machine Gun

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist, armed with an M4 Carbine and M203A2 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M4 Carbine and AT-4


2015—GWOT (ATP 3-21.8, April 2016)

  • 1 Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with an M4A1 Carbine

2 Fire Teams of:

  • 1 Fire Team Leader, Sergeant, armed with an M4A1 Carbine

  • 1 Automatic Rifleman, Specialist, armed with an M249 Light Machine Gun

  • 1 Grenadier, Specialist, armed with an M4A1 Carbine and M320 Grenade Launcher

  • 1 Rifleman, Private First Class, armed with an M4A1 Carbine and AT-4

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

      - Marcus Aurelius

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