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Development of the Modern Platoon - SS109, SS135, SS143

Kirkhill

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Further to the Force 2025 discussion and the development of structures I thought this article might be interesting




Between August 1914 and January 1915 the British Army (including Canadians and Aussies) reorganized itself from 8 small companies of about 50 PYs into 4 very large companies of 200 PYs.

In May 1916 it produced the company wave tactical manual that was employed at the Somme on 1 July 1916. SS109
By Nov 1916 SS135 was produced reorganizing the divisional attack around the autonomous combined arms platoon - 141 days after 1 July.
By Feb 1917 SS143 was produced detailing how the platoon should be organized, train and operate.
By Apr 1917, by assiduously applying the principles of SS143 the Canadian Corps had taken Vimy Ridge.

1 year in which the standards severed from those of the past and changed for the next hundred years. Tactical revolution driven by technological imperatives. De-emphasizing boots and emphasizing bullets.
 

Kirkhill

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Further to.

A WWI Division fielded 3 Brigades of 4 Battalions for a total of 12 Battalions.

Prior to 1914 those 12 Battalions would have fielded 12x 8 = 96 Companies of 50 Rifles
On July 1 1916 those same 12 battalions fielded 12x 4 = 48 Companies of 200 Rifles
On April 9 1917 those same 12 battalions fielded 12x 4x 4 = 192 Platoons of 40 soldiers armed with bayonets, rifles, machine guns and bombs.
 

Loachman

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"PYs"?

Not a concept that would have had any meaning back then, especially with the short life expectancies of the time and place...
 

Kirkhill

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"PYs"?

Not a concept that would have had any meaning back then, especially with the short life expectancies of the time and place...

Fair enough.

But hard to talk across the generations without some anachronisms rearing their heads.

Coulda/Shoulda Men, Bayonets, Rifles, ORs.
 

Loachman

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"Personnel"?

They weren't making political budgets then as we do now, or looking much beyond the immediate/next battle.

Most modern people wouldn't comprehend the PY TLA without explanation either.

I've got the article open to read through as soon as I can get to it. It looks interesting, and I thank you for that.
 

markppcli

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Small companies enabled to work independently or enabling a company to stretch it's platoons areas of operations wider? What's the practical difference?
 
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