U.S. Army Rifle Company (1944-45)

Military Organization > United States > U.S. Army Rifle Company (1944-45)

West Germany Panzergrenadier Company in 1966

Part of: Infantry Battalion, Infantry Regiment

Type: Light Infantry

Time Frame: Feb 1944-June 1945

Personnel: 6 Officers, 187 Other Ranks


These were the U.S. Army's light infantry companies during the North West Europe Campaign and action in the Pacific through late 1944 and early 1945. This is what would have been active for Operation Overlord (the invasion of Normandy). The Rifle Company was part of the Infantry Regiment's Infantry Battalion. Each battalion consisted of 1 Battalion Headquarters, 1 Headquarters Company, 3 Rifle Companies (this) and 1 Weapons Company.


↓ Organization

Company Headquarters (2 OF, 33 OR)*

Command Group

1× Company Commander, Captain, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Company Executive Officer, First Lieutenant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Company First Sergeant, First Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Communications Sergeant, Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

1× Bugler, Private/Private First Class**, armed with 1 M1 Carbine and M8 Grenade Launcher

3× Messengers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine each

Administrative Group

1× Supply Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Company Clerk, Corporal, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

1× Armorer-Artificer, Technician 5th Grade, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

17× Basic Duty Privates, Technician 5th Grade, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each


1× Mess Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, armed with M1 Carbine

2× Cooks, Technician 4th Grade, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

2× Cooks, Technician 5th Grade, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

2× Cook's Helpers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

*The Company HQ was allotted five Bazookas for issue at the company commander's discretion (enough for local tank defense of the HQ and each platoon). Six M1918A2 BAR automatic rifles and six M1A1 Thompson submachine guns were added to this weapons pool on 30 June 1944.

*Six SCR-536 "handie-talkie" radios were allotted to the Company HQ. One was issued to each Platoon Headquarters to keep them in contact with the Company Commander. These could only talk to other handie-talkies within the company.

**104 of 150 Privates (including Technicians) in the Rifle Company were meant to be Privates First Class.


3× Rifle Platoons (1 OF, 40 OR each)*

Platoon Headquarters

1× Platoon Leader, Second Lieutenant/First Lieutenant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Platoon Sergeant, Technical Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

1× Platoon Guide, Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

2× Messengers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

3× Rifle Squads

1× Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

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

1× Automatic Rifleman, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle

1× Assistant Automatic Rifleman, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

1× Ammo Bearer, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

2× Rifle Grenadiers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher each

2× Scouts, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

3× Riflemen, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Rifle each

*The Rifle Platoon had one M1903A4 Springfield sniper rifle available to issue to one soldier in the platoon.


Weapons Platoon (1 OF, 34 OR)

Platoon Headquarters*

1× Platoon Leader, Second Lieutenant/First Lieutenant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

1× Platoon Sergeant, Technical Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

2× Light Truck Drivers, Technician 5th Grade, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher each

2× Messengers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine each

*Platoon HQ mounted in two 1/2-ton trucks (Jeeps) with trailers acting as weapons/ammunition carriers. One was armed with an M2HB heavy machine gun for local anti-air defense.

*Contained three Bazookas for local anti-tank defense until 30 June 1944 when they were shifted to the company weapons pool.

Mortar Section

Section Headquarters

1× Section Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

1× Messenger, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

3× Mortar Squads

1× Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle

1× Gunner, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M2 60mm Mortar and M1911A1 Pistol

1× Assistant Gunner, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1911A1 Pistol

2× Ammo Bearers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine each

Light Machine Gun Section

Section Headquarters

1× Section Leader, Staff Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

1× Messenger, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine

2× Light Machine Gun Squads

1× Squad Leader, Sergeant, armed with 1 M1 Rifle and M7 Grenade Launcher

1× Gunner, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1919A4 Medium Machine Gun and M1911A1 Pistol

1× Assistant Gunner, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1911A1 Pistol

2× Ammo Bearers, Private/Private First Class, armed with 1 M1 Carbine each


↓ Discussion

The Rifle Company was the close combat element of the U.S. Army Infantry Battalion during World War II. It consisted of a Company Headquarters, three Rifle Platoons and a Weapons Platoon, with a maximum strength of six officers and 187 non-commissioned officers and junior enlisted. The macro-structure of the company remained constant during the war, but minute changes were made to its internal structure almost every year of the war.