One for the oldies - when did fire teams take over from rifle and gun groups?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Rodney2q, Mar 4, 2013.

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  1. I was talking with an old mate recently and we got onto the subject of infantry stuff - I'd been reading a book about Arnhem and mentioned that the rifle group/gun group tactics developed during WW2 were basically the same tactics that I was taught at Bassingbourn in the late 70's, except using a GPMG rather than a Bren.

    IIRC the idea of two balanced fire teams was kicking around at the time but I could not remember when the rifle/gun group was binned in favour of fire teams. I have seen one vintage pamphlet from the late 70's which does mention both systems as being permitted during a transitional period (presumably while the SA80 and associated bits and pieces were being developed) but the pam does not give any date for the switch from one to the other although I assume it would have been during the 1980's.

    I just wondered if any of the old and bold had any memories of when the rifle/gun group was phased out and the fire team concept became prevalent in the infantry.

  2. I think you will find it was immediately after, and as a direct result of experience gained, in the Falklands. There was all sorts of scenarios being banded about such as 2 X 4 man teams with a GPMG or LSW in each group. Then there was talk about making the GPMG a Platoon Weapon (Rather like the 2" Mortar) all dependant on Role, being Air Portable or Armoured.

    The problem was the 'Old Style' of using the Gun Team to suppress an enemy Fire trench whilst the guys skirmished up to it went to rat shit if that trench had interlocking Arcs of Fire with supporting trenches (and lets face it, they all do)
  3. Certainly rifle group / gun group in '74.
  4. I think it came in after the Falklands, I was at IJLB just after the war and was told about it, but we still used the old gun group rifle group. I joined my first unit (2 Queen’s, Were you still with the Bn then) I Jan 84 in Londonderry, so it was not so relevant to our roll. We adopted the fire team system as soon as we returned to the UK. By time I did SCBC in 1986 it was well established.
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  5. We were taught this on PCBC at Warminster in 1980.I believe we were the "guinea-pig"course
  6. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    I did PCBC in '79 and it was still gun gp and rifle gp, but I was aware of fire teams before I handed the Pl over in 1981. I believed it was linked to the planned introduction of SA80 and LSW. There may even have been a conceptual link to the 4 man brick in NI, but that's just a guess.
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  7. I echo comments of after the Falklands.

    I remember sitting in the lecture theatre at Brecon listening to an LE Capt giving a talk on the importance of good section level tactics and the jist was that once comms broke down the platoons started taking more ground because lads took it upon themselves to break down into pairs and individual fire and manoeuvre.

    As a talking point I'd suggest this is what the army does wrong. They find something that works in a particular theatre then rip up and rewrite the pam instead of just adding the new tactic to the old and encouraging free thinking at lower levels (I know) on an op by op, tour by tour basis.

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  8. Thanks all - looks like early 80's/post Op Corporate has it!


  9. I'd left 2 Queens by them mate - transferred to Int in 1981. I ended up learning the fire team drills when I joined a TA recce regt in the 1990's after leaving the regular army.


  10. I agree with BL, more to do with LSW than Corporate.
  11. Wasn't that what the 3 to 1 superiority calculation was for though? A section took on a single enemy, A platoon took on a section, a company took on a platoon and a battalion took on a company etc etc hence if there were interlocking arcs of fire, it was obviously at least a enemy section and you manned up accordingly depending on the overall strength of the enemy.

    Having left in late 77, I never encountered the different strategy but I do recall the LSW on a reservist call up day being introduced as the new section fire support weapon. I thought at the time that a magazine fed fire support weapon would find the GPMG a hard act to follow but I wasn't there to give the army my views. I was just collecting my £100, taxed of course.
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  12. When we stopped having 'that' rifle and GPMG, and went to fire teams with equal firpower. 92 onwards?
  13. I think the answers above cover it comprehensively but in 1987 we were organised in fire teams with a GPMG and three SLRs in each one. Whether we would have had enough GPMGs to have mobilised like that I'm not sure but I do remember us getting a load delivered, crated up so maybe we would have done?
  14. I can throw some relevant light on this...

    In the ACF the field craft and skill at arms syllabus included reference to 'gun groups' as in 'diamond formation advances with GG on the left....' This was in 1982... mind you they used to give us 37 pattern webbing too. not much help then.