Military Organization > United States > ​U.S. Army Mechanized Infantry Platoon (Current)

U.S. Army Mechanized Infantry Platoon (Current)

This is the current organization of the U.S. Army Mechanized Infantry Rifle Platoon when mounted in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. This is based upon ATP 3-21.8 "Infantry Platoon and Squad" published April 2016 and FM 3-21.71 "Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad (Bradley)" published August 2002. Although the basic structure of the BFV platoon has not changed since 2002, the primary weapons listed herein represents what is in service as of 2019. Any changes to equipment since 2002 are listed in the "Summary of Changes" section.

  1. Organization

  2. Mounted Configuration

  3. Discussion

  4. Sources

  5. Seating & Formation Graphics

  6. Posters/Prints

Modern Bradley Infantry Rifle Platoon-01
 

Organization

  • Type: Mechanized Infantry Platoon

  • Origin: U.S. Army (United States)

  • Personnel: 1 Officers and 39 Enlisted

  • Vehicles: 4 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFV)

Mounted Element

​→ Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer and 1 Enlisted + 3 Attachments)

  • 1× Platoon Leader, Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant (OF-1), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

  • 1× Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant First Class (OR-7), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

  • 1× Radiotelephone Operator (RTO) [A], Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Combat Medic [A], Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Forward Observer [A], Sergeant (OR-5), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

​→ Vehicle Crews (11 Enlisted)

  • 2× Bradley Commanders, Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 4× Gunners, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 1× Alternate Gunner, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

  • 4× Drivers, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 Carbine

Dismounted Element

​→ 3× Rifle Squads (9 Enlisted Each)

  • 1× Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant (OR-6), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

  • Alpha Team (4 men)

    • 1× Team Leader, Sergeant (OR-5) [C], armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

    • 1× Automatic Rifleman, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M249 light machine gun

    • 1× Grenadier, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine and 1 M320 40mm grenade launcher

    • 1× Rifleman [B], Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

  • Bravo Team (4 men)

    • 1× Team Leader, Sergeant (OR-5) [C], armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

    • 1× Automatic Rifleman, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M249 light machine gun

    • 1× Grenadier, Specialist (OR-4), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine and 1 M320 40mm grenade launcher

    • 1× Rifleman [B], Private First Class (OR-3), armed with 1 M4A1 carbine

  • Additional Mission-Dependent Weapons: 

    • 1 FGM-148 "Javelin" top-attack anti-tank guided missile CLU and 2-3 reloads per rifle squad

    • 1 M240L general-purpose machine gun per rifle squad

    • 2 disposable shoulder-launched munitions (typically AT-4s) per rifle squad

[A] Combat medics, forward observers, and RTOs are attached from outside the platoon. In the paper organization, there is no room for these attachments in the platoons vehicles. As platoons are often under-strength, these attachments typically ride with the platoon as normal. Often the role of RTO will be task assigned to one of the platoon's riflemen, meaning it is  often not an attachment but an integral part of the platoon. 

[B] If a rifleman receives the proper training and is skilled enough, there is the opportunity to be designated a squad designated marksman. They may be armed with a M4A1 Carbine with a high power optic, Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR), M110 SASS, or newer M110A1 CSASS (as of 2018-9). However, the usage of designated marksmen at the squad level varies. One rifleman serves as an anti-tank specialist.

[C] Officially, Team Leaders are billeted as Sergeants. However, due to personnel limitations, senior Specialists often fill the Team Leader role in practice.

Mounted Configuration

Section A

BFV-1 (Platoon Leader)

Mounted Personnel:

  • 1× Platoon Leader (Bradley Commander), acts as Section A commander when mounted.

  • 1× Gunner, takes over for the Platoon Leader when they dismount

  • 1× Alternate Gunner, takes over for the Gunner when the Platoon Leader dismounts

  • 1× Driver

Dismounted Personnel:

  • 1× Team Leader, 1st Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman, 1st Squad (B Team)
     

  • 1× Team Leader, 2nd Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman, 2nd Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 2nd Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 2nd Squad (A Team)

BFV-2 (Wingman)

Mounted Personnel:

  • 1× Bradley Commander (Platoon Master Gunner), acts as Section A commander when Platoon Leader dismounts. Platoon's gunnery expert

  • 1× Gunner

  • 1× Driver

Dismounted Personnel:

  • 1× Squad Leader, 1st Squad

  • 1× Team Leader, 1st Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman,1st Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 1st Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 1st Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 1st Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 1st Squad (B Team)

 

Section B

​→ BFV-4 (Platoon Sergeant)

  • 1× Platoon Sergeant (Bradley Commander), acts as Section B commander when mounted.

  • 1× Gunner, takes over as vehicle commander if Platoon Sergeant dismounts

  • 1× Driver

Dismounted Personnel:

  • 1× Squad Leader, 2nd Squad

  • 1× Team Leader, 2nd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman, 2nd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 2nd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 2nd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 3rd Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 3rd Squad (A Team)
     

BFV-3 (Wingman)

Mounted Personnel:

  • 1× Bradley Commander (Platoon Master Gunner), acts as Section B commander if the Platoon Sergeant dismounts dismounts.

  • 1× Gunner

  • 1× Driver

Dismounted Personnel:

  • 1× Squad Leader, 3rd Squad
     

  • 1× Team Leader, 3rd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman, 3rd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Grenadier, 3rd Squad (B Team)

  • 1× Rifleman, 3rd Squad (B Team)
     

  • 1× Team Leader, 3rd Squad (A Team)

  • 1× Automatic Rifleman, 3rd Squad (A Team)

Discussion

Overview

The Mechanized Infantry Rifle Platoon (Bradley) is the principal small infantry unit of Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT). Mechanized infantry companies can be employed by Combined Arms Battalions (CABs) as Armor and Mechanized Infantry Company Teams, which are combined arms formations consisting of tank and mechanizned infantry companies. The heirarchy is as follows:

  • Armored Brigade Combat Team (3 Combined Arms Battalions, 1 Cavalry Squadron, 1 Fires Battalion, supporting and HQ elements)

    • Combined Arms Battalion (2 Mechanized Infantry Companies, 2 Tank Companies, HQ)​

      • Mechanizned Infantry Company (3 Mechanized Infantry Platoons, HQ)​

        • Mechanized Infantry Platoon​

 

As of 2018, 10 out of the U.S. Army's 31 brigade combat teams were SBCTs. Five of the National Guard's 27 brigade combat teams are SBCTs. The basic structure of the mechanized infantry platoons has been unchanged since 2002, although the equipment issued has changed over the years.

Each mechanized infantry platoon is equipped with 4 M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, abbreviated BFV for "Bradley Fighting Vehicle". The M2A3 variant was introduced in 2000, while the M2A1 and M2A2 variants were introduced in the 1980s. The Bradley is armed with an M242 25mm chain gun, M240C 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and 2 TOW anti-tank missiles. The Bradley is currently the U.S. Army's infantry fighting vehicle, although as of 2019 it is currently looking to replace it under the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program. 

In terms of personnel, the platoon consists of a mounted element and dismounted element. In the mounted element are the Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and vehicle crews. The vehicles are split into 2 sections (A and B), each containing 2 BFVs. When mounted, the Platoon Leader commands Section A (containing BFV-1 and BFV-2) and the Platoon Sergeant commands Section B (containing BFV-3 and BFV-4). They also act as their vehicles' Bradley Commanders when mounted. When the Platoon Leader dismounts, the Gunner of their vehicle takes over as Bradley Commander and the Bradley Commander of the other Bradley in the section takes over as Section Commander. The Platoon Sergeant, like in Stryker units, typically does not dismount and commands the mounted element when the Platoon Leader dismounts. If the Platoon Sergeant does dismount, the gunner of their vehicle takes over as Bradley Commander and the Bradley Commander of the other Bradley in Section B takes over as Section Commander.

The dismounted element consists of 3 rifle squads. Due to passenger capacity in the Bradley, the squads are split up and crossloaded among the 4 vehicles. Details about how the squads are crossloaded as per doctrine can be seen in the infographic in the "Organization" section. Squads are mounted in a manner where when dismounted they can reform quickly. Additionally, when fire teams are crossloaded, automatic riflemen stay with their fire team leaders.

On paper, a full-strength platoon does not have room in its BFVs to mount critical attachments, including a Combat Medic, Radiotelephone Operator (RTO), and Forward Observer (FO). In practice, platoons typically operate under strength, allowing enough room for attachments as normal. If a platoon were to be operating at full strength, other platoon personnel - such as riflemen from the rifle squads - could be crossloaded in the company headquarters' vehicles to allow for attachments. Based on consultation with soldiers in mechanized units as of 2019, the role of RTO is often task-assigned to a rifleman in the platoon rather than attached. Fitting more personnel than the prescribed passenger capacity is also an option.

Unlike Stryker and Light Infantry rifle platoons, Mechanizned Infantry platoons lack weapons squads. Rather, weapons that are typically contained within dedicated weapons squads are stowed in each rifle squad's Bradley giving them the ability to augment their firepower as needed. Weapons available to the rifle squads include the FGM-148 Javelin top-attack anti-tank guided missile and M240L general-purpose machine gun. When the Javelin is used, one of the squad's fire teams essentially becomes an anti-armor team with that team's rifleman acting as an anti-tank specialist. This is similar to how Stryker infantry rifle platoons operate. Further, as per doctrine, 2 disposable shoulder-launched munitions are available to the rifle squad. These are typically issued to riflemen - although this varies depending on mission and unit standard operating procedures (SOPs) - and are now typically AT4s.

Summary of Changes

Structural Changes from Before 2002:

  • One rifle squad was added to the BFV rifle platoon. Prior, each vehicle mounted 1 of the platoon's 4 rifle fire teams plus attachments.

Equipment Evolution:

  • The M320 grenade launcher, a development of the Heckler and Koch AG36, was first fielded by the Army in 2009. It fully phased out the M203 by 2015. Prior to this, M320s listed in this article would have been M203s.
     

  • The current service rifle of the U.S. Army is the M4A1 Carbine. It began replacing the older M4 Carbines in 2012, with almost a full phase out in the infantry by 2019. The M4 Carbine replaced the M16A2, which was fully phased out by the M4 Carbine by 2005.
     

  • The M240 general-purpose machine guns available to the rifle squads (stowed in the Bradleys) are currently the lightened and shortened M240L variant. In the past, the M240B would have been appropriate.
     

  • The current standard IR illuminator/pointer is the AN/PEQ-15. In the 2000s, the AN/PEQ-2 would have been more appropriate.

Sources

 
 
 
 
Mechanized Bradley Platoon 2016-01.png
 

Seating & Formation Graphics

 
 

Available Prints:

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

      - Marcus Aurelius

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