Organization and Equipment

1st Recon Troop Organization and Equipment



1ST RECONNAISANCE TROOP, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION

COMPOSITION

HEADQUARTERS UNIT - CAPTAIN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DIVISION LIAISON OFFICER, SUPPLY, MESS AND MOTOR OFFICER, 1ST SGT, SUPPLY SGT, MESS SGT, MOTOR SGT, TROOP CLERK, CHIEF RADIO MAN, COOKS, MOTOR CREW. A PIONEER AND DEMOLITION UNIT, DRIVERS AND OTHER PERSONNEL.

3 PLATOONS - LINE OFFICER (LIEUTENANT), PLATOON SGT (STAFF), 2 SECTION SGTS, 2 OR 3 SQUADS PER SECTION DEPENDING ON MANPOWER AVAILABLE AND MISSION ASSIGNED, CORPORAL FOR EACH SQUAD PLUS SEVEN MEN. 2 MOTORCYCLE RIDERS.

TRANSPORTATION

MOTORCYCLES, JEEPS, SCOUT CARS (ORIGINALLY M3A1; LATER ARMORED UTILITY CAR M20) 3/4 TON TRUCKS, 6X6 TRUCKS, 250 GALLON WATER TRAILER. EACH DRIVER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIRST ESCHELON MAINTENANCE OF THE VEHICLE SO IN THIS SENSE THEY WERE A LUXURY TO THE AVERAGE TROOPER AS COMPARED TO HAVING A HORSE TO TAKE OF. IT WAS ALSO SOMEWHAT OF A LUXURY TO BE ABLE TO STRAP OUR BEDROLLS AND MUSSET BAG ON THE VEHICLE AND NOT BE BURDENED DOWN WITH THEM. EVEN FOR THE DRIVER THEY GENERALLY DID NOT ENTAIL A GREAT DEAL OF TIME TO TAKE CARE OF. THE VEHICLES WERE IN SOME CASES MODIFIED BY OUR OWN MOTOR CREW FOR SPECIFIC USES HOWEVER, IN THE MAIN THEIR USE WAS AS FOLLOWS:

	MOTORCYCLES - WERE USED BY AND LARGE FOR TRAFFIC CONTROL OF
THE TROOP; TO MAINTAIN CONTACT BETWEEN PLATOONS, TROOP
HEADQUARTERS, AND DIVISION HEADQUARTERS. THEY WERE HEAVY DUTY
HARLEY-DAVIDSONS THAT COULD WITHSTAND RUGGED TERRAIN.
	JEEPS - WERE THE NUMBER ONE VEHICLE OF CHOICE FOR MOST
TROOPERS. MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THEM. I CAN TESTIFY TO
THEIR UTILITY AND OVERALL DURABILITY. WE ALWAYS SAID THAT THE
MOTOR CREW COULD KEEP THEM RUNNING AS LONG AS THEY HAD A GOOD
SUPPLY OF BAILING WIRE AND CHEWING GUM IN THEIR REPAIR KITS. THEY
WERE OUR PRINCIPAL RECON UNIT. OF THE THREE OR FOUR JEEPS IN EACH
SECTION THE ONE WITH THE LEADER OF THE UNIT WAS EQUIPPED WITH A RADIO.
	SCOUT CARS - USUALLY HAD TWO M3A1 CARS ASSIGNED TO EACH
PLATOON AND TWO TO HEADQUARTERS UNIT (ONE OF THESE QUITE OFTEN
WAS WITH DIVISION HEADQUARTERS FOR LIAISON AND MESSAGE RELAYS TO
G2). EACH WAS EQUIPPED WITH A RADIO AND THE EARLY ONES HAD
MACHINE GUNS MOUNTED ON A 360 RAIL. THEY WERE MOSTLY LATER
REPLACED BY THE M20.
	3/4 TON TRUCK - USUALLY TWO TO A PLATOON. ONE WAS DESIGNATED
AS A MORTAR SQUAD VEHICLE AND THE OTHER AS A 37 MM CANNON
VEHICLE. ONE WAS DESIGNATED AS A PIONEER AND DEMOLITION UNIT
VEHICLE AND CARRIED A JACK HAMMER, FUSES, DETONATOR, AND TNT --
IT WAS USUALLY WITH THE HEADQUARTERS PLATOON.
	6X6 MAINLY ASSIGNED TO HEADQUARTERS UNIT. MOST IMPORTANT JOB
AS FAR AS THE TROOPERS WERE CONCERNED WERE THE ONES USED BY THE
MESS SERGEANT AND HIS CREW. THEY, OF COARSE WERE ALSO USED FOR
SUPPLY AND VEHICLE MAINTENANCE.

WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT

	MOST OF THE TROOPERS WERE ARMED WITH A RIFLE AND A 45 CAL
AUTOMATIC PISTOL. THE PISTOL WAS CARRIER IN A HOLSTER WHICH WAS
ATTACHED TO THE WEB BELT ON WHICH ALSO WAS CARRIED A CANTEEN AND
FIRST AID BANDAGE POUCH. IN COMBAT AREAS THE MEN ALSO CARRIED
HAND GRENADES. SOME OF THE RIFLEMEN WERE EQUIPPED WITH ANTI TANK
SHELLS FOR THEIR RIFLES. EACH PLATOON ALSO HAD TWO HAND HELD
ROCKET LAUNCHERS FOR ANTI TANK PROTECTION. THE PLATOON AND
SECTION SERGEANTS CARRIED THOMPSON SUB MACHINE GUNS.
	A 50 CAL MACHINE GUN AND A 30 CAL MACHINE GUN WERE MOUNTED ON
EACH SCOUT CAR WHICH PROVIDED A GOOD PLATFORM FOR FIRING
PURPOSES. MOST SECTION JEEPS IN EACH PLATOON HAD EITHER A 50 CAL
MG OR A 30 CAL MG ON PEDESTAL MOUNTS WHICH GAVE THEM A GOOD
STEADY FIRING PLATFORM; HOWEVER, THE OPTION TO UNLOAD THEM
QUICKLY TO GET INTO A LOW FIRING POSITION WAS ALWAYS PRESENT AND
COULD BE DONE VERY QUICKLY.
	WITH T HE MORTAR CREWS IT WAS NECESSARY TO DISMOUNT AND SET UP
TO FIRE THEM. THE 37 MM CANNON WAS TOWED, ESPECIALLY AT FIRST,
BUT IF MEMORY SERVES ME RIGHT SOME OF THEM WERE LATER MOUNTED
DIRECTLY ON THE BED OF THE 3/4 TON TRUCKS. THIS GAVE THEM MUCH
NEEDED TIME IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.
	SINCE WE WERE CAVALRYMEN NOT INFANTRYMEN WE WERE NOT ISSUED
BAYONETS. SOMEHOW MOST OF US THAT SAILED ON THE QUEEN MARY TO
ENGLAND IN 1942 FELT WE SHOULD HAVE THE EQUIVALENT SO MOST OF US
CARRIED A LARGE HUNTING KNIFE IN A HOLDER ON OUR BELT.
THEORETICALLY I SUPPOSE IT QUALIFIES AS A WEAPON -- AT LEAST IT
CAME IN HANDY ESPECIALLY TO OPEN C RATION CANS THAT HAD THE KEY
BROKEN AS WELL AS FOR OTHER USES WHICH I LEAVE TO THE READERS
IMAGINATION.
	SO ALL IN ALL YOU CAN SEE THAT FOR A SMALL UNIT OF
APPROXIMATELY 200 MEN THEY POSSESSED AS GREAT DEAL OF FIRE POWER
AND VERSITILITY.

USE OF THE 1ST RECON BY HIGHER HEADQUARTERS

	IN THE GUIDLINES TO THE RECON TROOP PROVIDED BY GENERAL TERRY
ALLEN ITS MISSION WAS TO MAINTAIN EXTENSIVE AND AGGRESSIVE
PATROLS TO LOCATE THE ENEMY, TO ASCERTAIN THE ENEMY�S DISPOSITION
AND TO MAINTAIN CONTACT. IN THIS REGARD ONE PLATOON OF THE 1ST
RECON WAS NORMALLY ATTACHED TO EACH COMBAT TEAM. AS A RESULT
PLATOON LEADERS (LIEUTENANTS AND SERGEANTS) WERE VERY MUCH ON
THEIR OWN MOST OF THE TIME QUITE OFTEN FAR FROM HOME (THE TROOP
AREA). ALSO AT OTHER TIMES THE UNITS COVERED LARGE AREAS TO KEEP
CONTACT BETWEEN ELEMENTS OF THE DIVISION.
	AT THE CAVALRY REPLACEMENT CENTER IN FORT RILEY IN MY OPINION
THEY WERE VERY MUCH BEHIND THE TIMES. I LOVED THE HORSES AND
EVERYTHING CONNECTED WITH THEM BUT IN MY MIND I COULD NOT JUSTIFY
ONE SQUADRON BEING TRAINED AS HORSE CAVALRY AND THE OTHER AS
MECHANIZED. I WAS INITIALLY ASSIGNED TO THE HORSE SQUADRON BUT I
FELT THAT THE TIME SPENT TRAINING THE MEN TO RIDE COULD BE
BETTER USED TO READY THEM FOR ACTUAL COMBAT CONDITIONS WHICH BY
AND LARGE CALLED FOR VEHICULAR MOBILITY. I SUPPOSE MY THOUGHTS
WERE EVIDENT BECAUSE IT WAS NOT LONG BEFORE I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE
MECHANIZED SQUADRON AS THE ADJUTANT. HERE I FELT I WAS BETTER
SUITED TO GIVE THEM SOME INSIGHTS ON WHAT WOULD BE EXPECTED OF
THEM IN ORDER TO DO THEIR JOB AND CREATE A BETTER SURVIVAL RATE
AMONG THE. REPLACEMENTS WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO FRONT LINE RECON
UNITS.

TRAINING

	AS WOULD BE EXPECTED THE EMPHASIS IN A RECON UNIT WOULD
BASICALLY START WITH WEAPONS AND VEHICLE MAINTEANCE TRAINING.
THIS WAS FOLLOWED WITH MAP READING AND OTHER RECON TRAINING SO
THAT THE MEN COULD ACCOMPLISH THEIR MISSION. IT WAS IMPORTANT
ALSO THAT THEY HAD SOME UNDERS STANDING OF FIRST AID TO HELP THEIR
FELLOW SOLDIERS AS WELL AS THEMSELVES IN CASE OF INJURY.


1st Infantry Division

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This Page Modified 10 Feb 2017


Copyright William Van Horn and Bill Baty 1997