Many of these disparities were due to the Marine Corps's experiences in the
Pacific in VVWWII. For instance, the Marines added more machine guns after the battle of
Tarawa in 1943. They also had a great many more BARs, organized in a different
manner within the squad (this is addressed in detail later on in this chapter) than the
Army, and this was also because of the need experienced in the Pacific war for more
firepower than previous tables of organization, adopted from Army doctrine, allowed for.
Thus, even without reinforcement from non-organic subordinate units, the Marine
division is "the largest - and heaviest - infantry-type division in the world."12
Furthermore, beyond standard tables of organization, a Marine Division in
wartime was usually reinforced with "additional combat support and combat service
support elements from force troop units." (Force troops were a pool of combat or
combat support units within the FMF not organic to a division or wing, which were there
for the purpose of reinforcing a division, brigade, regimental or battalion landing team --
or regimental or battalion combat team.)13
The structure of a Marine Division allowed for great flexibility and task grouping,
enabling applicability to almost any situation or contingency.
The combat support and combat service support units of the division are
organized to permit their attachment to subordinate combat units. Consequently,
task groups of combined arms are organized around the infantry regiment or
battalion. These task groups are called regimental landing teams (RLT) - or
12 James Donovan, United States Marine Corps, 98, 78.
13 James Donovan, United States Marine Corps, 98; Allan R. Millett, Semper Fidelis, 508, 102-03. Though
one source claims that force troops did not come about as a concept or organization until 1951, I have
found reference to force troops as early as 1948 in Marine war planning. -- Marine Corps Board Report,
"Organization of the Fleet Marine Force," (Quantico, VA: NAVMC, National Archives, Record Group 127,
1 December 1948): 4. "Force troops constitute a pool of supplementary and specialized units with which
the Fleet Marine Force commander may augment a landing force. Force troops and aviation units are
composed of combat support, combat service support, and service troops organized as separate
regiments, battalions, companies, batteries, or groups. Typical units found in force troops are
communication battalions, heavy artillery units, tank battalions, engineer battalions, service regiments,
dental companies, reconnaissance companies, and amphibious tractor battalions."
Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed July 12, 2014.