BEF Rifle Platoon (Early War)
with Command team, three squads, Anti-tank Rifle team & Light mortar team.
When the British Expeditionary Force first arrived in France there was a shortage of trained junior officers, so only the first rifle platoon in a company was commanded by subalterns (officers), while the second and third platoons were commanded by platoon sergeant-majors (senior sergeants). Most platoons now have officers in charge, but there are still plenty of PSM’s about.
The rifle squads (or sections as they are termed in the British Army) are eight men strong, with a corporal, Bren gunner, and six riflemen. The Lee Enfield Mk III rifle they use is much the same weapon as their fathers were armed with at the end of the Great War, but the first-rate Bren light machinegun has replaced the old Lewis gun. Two new weapons that would be unfamiliar to their fathers are the 2” light mortar and the Boys anti-tank rifle.