and three messengers or runners (Pvt). Each of the three rifle squads contained thirteen
men organized into three fire teams of four men each and one squad leader. (See chart
The weapons platoon within the rifle company had three machine gun sections
with two machine gun squads each, and a rocket section with three rocket squads each
(in the Korean War a "rocket section" was a 3.5 inch bazooka section for anti-tank
purposes). The machine gun squads each had one .30 caliber light machine gun (LMG),
"a squad leader, a gunner, assistant gunner, and five ammunition carriers for each gun
or 16 men per section. Each section is attached [at least in the September fighting] to
each of [the] three rifle platoons [in the rifle company]...,8
The Marine Corps rifle squad differed from that of the Army in the Korean War.
The Army squad consisted of ten to twelve men organized around one BAR. The
Marine Corps, too, organized its squads this way at first. But in World War II, 1943, the
Marines needed more firepower in the amphibious landings and on the small unit level
in jungle warfare. So they broke the squad down into smaller groups of four men called
"fire teams," each built around a BAR. "The result, first noted in reports on the Marianas,
and uniformly in later battles, was a notable gain in the aggressiveness and hitting
power of Marine infantry."19
Korean War Marine and infantry officer, James Brady, described the fire team
concept very well:
* Burton F. Anderson, We Claim the Title (Aptos, CA: Tracy Publishing, 1994): 90.
19 Andrew Geer, The New Breed (New York: Harper, 1952): 84; James Donovan, U. S. Marine Corps,
151-56; Robert D. Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea: The United States Marine Corps, 1775-1962 (Baltimore:
The Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America): 464; Allan R. Millett, Semper Fidelis, 406;
Isley and Crowl, Marines and Amphibious War, 341; 1st Lt L. M. Holmes, "Birth of the Fire Team," Marine
Corps Gazette 36:11, November 1952: 16-23.
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 May 5, 2015.