I. HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS COMPANY
The headquarters of the tank battalion includes a headquarters section,
containing the necessary command, staff, and communications personnel
and equipment for the control of the battalion, and a tank section. In
divisional tank battalions this section has two medium tanks. In
separate tank battalions it has three, the extra tank being for the use
of artillery forward observers.
The battalion commander.
The battalion commander is responsible for every phase of the training
of every component part of the battalion; for its actions in battle;
for the health and well-being of every individual in the battalion; for
the supply and maintenance of all of the equipment of the battalion;
and the repair or replacement of all items of equipment which become
unserviceable for any reason whatsoever. It is impossible for a
battalion commander to perform all these duties efficiently unless he
trains and utilizes to the fullest extent his staff and all the company
officers and noncommissioned officers of the organization.
The staff. Every
member of the battalion staff is trained to perform not only his own
duties, but those of every other section. In no other way is the
continuity of staff work in battle to be assured. Duties of the
battalion staff are given in FM 101-5, appendix III, and the following
The executive is the assistant to the battalion commander. He is
prepared at all times to assume the battalion commander's functions. A
high degree of intimacy must exist between the battalion commander and
his executive. They must understand each other and each other's
methods. The executive supervises all staff operations.
S-1. The S-1 is
responsible for the personnel administration and other duties which may
be assigned by the battalion commander. These duties are covered in
detail in FM 101-5.
S-2. The duties of
the S-2 are covered in FM 101-5 and field manuals of the 30 series. The
S-2 must be thoroughly trained in the basic principles of intelligence
work. The S-2 works intimately with the S-3 of the battalion. See par. (d).
He must be prepared to assume the duties of the S-3. He supervises,
under the direction of the battalion commander, the activities of the
S-3. The S-3
supervises, under the direction of the battalion commander, the
execution of the training program of the battalion and the operation of
the battalion in battle. In his section are prepared such overlays and
maps and sketches as may be necessary. One of his principle duties in
battle is coordination with attached and supported units.
e. S-4. The S-4 is
responsible for the supply functions
of the battalion. He is responsible for coordination, procurement, and
actual movement of supply vehicles to the places designated by the
commander and his subordinates. The S-4 must be intimately familiar
with the supply problems of the individual companies in battle. He
follows the course of the battle closely and estimates the probable
supply requirements of the companies so that in the event of
communication failure he may use his own initiative to furnish what he
believes to be the ammunition and fuel requirements of those companies.
The battalion surgeon. FM 17-80.
g. Battalion motor officer.
The battalion motor officer is responsible for the supervision of the vehicle maintenance
in the battalion. Company motor officers operate very closely with the
battalion motor officer. He is responsible for the efficient use of the
maintenance facilities of the battalion at all times to keep every
vehicle operating. He is responsible for liason and coordination with
higher echelons of maintenance and, in battle, maintains close contact
with supporting maintenance and evacuation units.
The communications officer is responsible for the efficient use of the
communication means within a battalion. Company communication personnel
operate closely with the battalion communication officer. He conducts,
under the supervision of the battalion commander, radio schools
throughout the training period and in the combat zone. He is
responsible for liason and coordinations with higher echelons of
communication and radio repair.
the duties of the headquarters commandant are diversified and detailed.
Besides being commander of the headquarters company he must be prepared
at any time to assume the duties of any member of the battalion
commander's staff. He is responsible for the organization of the
command post, and for traffic control within it.
Liason officer. FM 101-5 and paragraph 12f.
B. RECONNAISSANCE PLATOON.
reconnaissance platoon is capable of route, site, and battle
reconnaissance missions. It may also be used as a billeting party, for
route marking, and to establish and man observation posts. None of
these duties, however, can be allowed to interfere with its primary
mission. Because of its composition and the limited range of its
radios, the platoon cannot operate far from the battalion headquarters
unless relay stations are established.
C. MORTAR PLATOON (FM
17-27). The mortar platoon is
equipped with three 81-mm mortars mounted in half-track vehicles. The
mortar may be fired from the vehicle or the ground. The platoon
operates usually as a unit rather than as individual squads. The
mission of the mortar platoon is to give close fire support to tank
units with particular reference to destroying or neutralizing anti-tank
guns. It operates directly under control of the battalion commander. As
many of its missions will be screening, a preponderance of smoke
ammunition is carried. Smoke is used as directed by the battalion
commander and must not be allowed to interfere with the movement of the
battalion or adjacent troops. The platoon normally moves with the
battalion reserve and where it is readily available to the battalion
D. ASSAULT GUN PLATOON (FM
17-25). The assault gun
platoon is equipped with three 105-mm tanks. It may be augmented with
three 105-mm tanks from the medium companies. The mission of the
assault gun platoon is close fire support of the tanks with particular
reference to antitank guns. It usually employes indirect fire methods
for the initial attack and thereafter direct fire. It operates directly
under control of the battalion commander.
II. MEDICAL DETACHMENT (FM
17-80 & FM 8-10)
This attached unit is organized and equipped to provide close medical
support for the tank battalion.
The Medical Detachment furnishes mobile medical support to the tank
ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYMENT.
is equipped with a ¾-ton truck, and four ¼-ton trucks. It also has a
radio set SCR-510, netted with the battalion command and administrative
The ¼-ton trucks may be utilized
for service as ambulances. Each carries a crew of medical technicians,
equipped to administer emergency treatment.
During marches the
detachment moves in the rear of the battalion column, just in front of
the battalion maintenance platoon. Upon occasion, one or more of its
¼-ton trucks may be distributed among the tank companies if the
Before combat, the medical detachment establishes an aid station at the
As the tank
battalion moves into combat, the medical detachment closes the aid
station and follows in its rear with the company maintenance sections.
advance, the medical personnel may be able to locate disabled tanks by
direct observation. The presence of others is reported by radio to the
battalion surgeon. A ¼-ton truck visits each disabled tank. In case a
tank with wounded has been by-passed, one of the ¼-ton trucks returns
and collects them.
Tank crews are thoroughly
trained in first aid and the evacuation of wounded personnel from
tanks. Under normal circumstances they remove the injured and
administer first aid before the arrival of the medical personnel who
administer emergency treatment.
Casualties suffered during an advance may be evacuated by the ¼-ton
To the previously designated axis of maintenance and evacuation where
they are picked up by the battalion ambulance.
To a predesignated collecting point, established either by the medical
detachment or by the supporting medical battalion.
To the rallying point, in cases where the advance is rapid or the
casualties have occurred near that point.
The battalion surgeon
coordinates the movement of the ¼-ton trucks with the advance of the
battalion. The medical officer attends the more seriously wounded, the
minor cases being cared for by the medical assistant, MAC, and the
medical technicians. Speed and thoroughness are essential. The medical
detachment should not fall far behind.
The aid station is set up again
at the rallying point. All wounded personnel there are collected and
given necessary treatment. These may include wounded collected by the
¼-ton trucks during the advance and other wounded whose tanks were not
disabled and therefore continued on to the objective without them.
Evacuation from the aid station at the rallying point is:
ambulances of the medical battalion, directly to one of the division
clearing stations, from which further evacuation is handled by army
By the ambulance of the tank
battalion medical detachment to a collecting point on the axis of
evacuation, from which the medical battalion continues the evacuation
as in (a) above.
The battalion surgeon maintains
continuous contact with the medical battalion. He is aided in this by
an agent from that battalion who usually moves with him.
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III. SERVICE COMPANY
A. The service company has the necessary equipment
personnel for the administration, maintenance, and supply of the
battalion for a limited period of action. It is composed of the company
headquarters, the battalion administrative and personnel section, the
supply and transportation platoon, and the maintenance platoon. As
directed by the S-4, it procures and distributes the ammunition, fuel
and lubricants, rations, and water for the companies within the
When the battalion
moves into combat, service company headquarters usually remains in the
assembly area or service park, and the supply and maintenance platoons
usually move forward at night to service the battalion. The supply
platoon then spends the next day reloading at higher unit support
points. It is then prepared to resupply the battalion that same night.
If the battalion
operates separately, the service company sets up gasoline, ration, and
ammunition dumps in areas where the battalion is located. It draws its
supplies from the unit to which it is attache or from the next higher
unit. It is the responsibility of the supply officer to
G-4 or S-4 of that unit and acquaint him with the requirements of the
The work of the
battalion maintenance platoon and that of the company maintenance
sections are closely coordinated. Liason with higher maintenance units
is accomplished by the battalion motor officer.
When the battalion
moves forward into combat, the company maintenance sections follow
their respective units. The larger part of the battalion maintenance
platoon remains in the assembly area or service park, though its tank
recovery vehicles usually move directly behind the attack to recover
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