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Old 06-10-2019, 10:45 AM
Corry El is online now
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,759
Originally Posted by Kent Clark View Post
In the "strove to be realistic and accurate" 1960s TV series Combat, the lieutenant had a carbine, and the sergeant had a submachine gun. I can't remember if anyone in the squad used a mortar or machine gun, but everyone else except the medic had a Garand.

Combat was set in post D-Day France, not the Pacific, if that makes any difference.
I loved that show as a kid, not sure how realistic it would be viewed now compared to later generation 'realistic' WWII depictions (Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, etc,) But who is to say you can ever capture combat objectively realistically, even if the show or movie matches what veterans, decades later, say they experienced subjectively?.

Anyway a summary of the Table of Organization for Army infantry companies at that time would be three rifle squads to a rifle platoon, three rifle platoons to a company with an additional weapons platoon plus hq. Presumably Sgt Saunders commanded an (understrength) squad and Lt. Hanley was the platoon commander (lowest position in the company filled by an officer). The TO&E did say the platoon commander had a carbine, but otherwise everyone else in the platoon, but the BAR man in each squad, had a rifle. Actually nobody in a rifle company in the TO&E in effect at that time was permanently assigned a submachine gun, although 6 were officially provided as unassigned weapons in the company hq for the company commander to distribute as he saw fit among his 3 rifle platoons/9 rifle squads. But from photo's and personal accounts, and the huge number of especially the later M1/M1A1 Thompson (Saunders had an M1928) and M3 'Grease Gun' produced, it's obvious those weapons were more common in reality.

Regular infantry companies had M1919 light machine guns and 60mm mortars in a weapons platoons so no such weapons permanently under rifle platoon commanders like Hanley, though again there were eventually additional light machine guns as unassigned weapons at company hq, and a light machine gun or 60mm mortar squad from the weapons platoon might be attached to a particular rifle platoon for a particular mission. Likewise heavy mg or 81mm mortar squads from the battalion weapons company might be attached to a rifle company or on down to a platoon.

And given the general rate of infantry casualties the small size of Saunders' command wasn't unrealistic for any given moment. The fact that it was never, that I recall, at full strength of 12 men was maybe a little less realistic and more about limiting the number of actors.

Last edited by Corry El; 06-10-2019 at 10:46 AM.