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Old October 14th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #1
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Default Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Well I don't know if this has been discussed so far so I made a thread.

Well I was always wondering how are units organized in the CM. In the film the organization/hierarchy is a little confusing. There are 9 combat marines forming a squad. That includes sergeant Apone (squad leader) and corporal Hicks (fire team leader) and corporal Dietrich (combat medic). This is quite okay. Now there is a lieutenant when there is only one squad. Perhaps a military mission can't be conducted without an officer. There are the two pilots with considerably low rank for pilots. I think they should be at least sergeant or some kind of unique rank (warrant officer maybe).

Now I would assume there are 9-10 marines in a squad led by a sergeant or stuff sergeant and there is one corporal as a fire team leader in case the squad has to split (like in the film). Then lieutenant commands a Sulaco type of warship which consist of 3-4 squads/dropships with a senior sergeant acting as a platoon sergeant.

I am quite keen on this stuff and I was really disappointed and pissed off when there were some stupid and lame hierarchy in all AVP games. There were tons of senior officers and no sergeants and lieutenants. Just for an example AVP3. There was this character who was a major but there were only about 2 dropships. He should have been sergeant in order to make any sense. I really hope they will be more precise in A:CM.

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Old October 14th, 2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

I guess many of us have seen the Table of Organization & Equipment, from the ACMTM.


Quote:
Originally Posted by from the ACMTM
A rifle squad consists of four marines, including a Corporal, a Lance Corporal, and two Privates / Privates First Class. Each squad divides into two-man fire teams: the Rifle Team and Gun Team. The Rifle team consists of a pair of riflemen assigned together on the ‘buddy’ system, both equipped with the M41 pulse rifle. The Gun Team is made up of a rifleman with a M41 and a machine-gunner carrying the automatic M56 Smart Gun.

Two squads, led by a Sergeant and riding with a driver in an M577 Armoured Personal Carrier, make up the section. In a drop operation, a UD-4 dropship is attached to the section from the aerospace company team.

Two sections, led by a lieutenant, form a rifle platoon, for a total paper strength number of 25 marines including the APC and Dropship crews - though in practice this is often less.
In the movie they weren’t at full capacity. They only had one section, maybe because the higher ups in the chain of command didn’t really believe Ripley’s story, so didn’t want to waste resources?

They were also down an APC driver for some reason, causing Bishop to fulfil that role.

As for the TO&E in the movie, I did a bit of research and came up with the following. (Though I haven’t studied the rank insignia on the marines uniforms yet, so some of these guesses might be a bit off. Also I’m not certain I put everyone in the correct squads so a little help would be appreciated here.)

Anyway in the movie the platoon basically looked like this:-


Platoon Commander
  • 2Lt. Gorman. S.

Platoon Support and Non Military
  • Exo. Bishop (341-B) - Synthetic (non command role)
  • Burke. Carter J. - Company Advisor.
  • FltLt. Ripley. Ellen. - Mission Advisor. (Holds non military warrant officer rank)

Marine Aerospace Wing Attachment - MAW (Dropship Crew)
  • Cpl. Ferro. C. - Pilot
  • Pfc. Spunkmeyer. D. - Weapons Operator

Section Sergeant
  • Msg. Apone. A. - Platoon Sergeant / 1st squad's leader.

1st Squad
  • Pfc. Hudson. W. - Com-tech.
  • Pfc. Vasquez. J. - Smartgunner.
  • Pvt. Wierzbowski. T. - Rifleman.
  • Pvt. Crowe. T. - Rifleman.

2nd Squad
  • Cpl. Hicks. D - 2nd squad’s leader.
  • Cpl. Dietrich. S. - Medic
  • Pvt. Drake. M. - Smartgunner.
  • Pvt. Frost. R. - Rifleman.

In the movie, Hudson and Vasquez are one of the Gun Team, and I noticed Drake and Hicks forming a Gun Team as well after the "order and search by twos" command is given. And Hicks tells Dietrich and Frost "your up", so that's a rifle team, so that only leaves Wierzbowski and Crowe for the remaining Rifle team.

Fire Teams
  • Gun team 1 = Vasquez + Hudson
  • Rifle team 1 = Wierzbowski + Crowe
  • Gun team 2 = Hicks + Drake
  • Rifle team 2 = Dietrich + Frost

As for the rank & insignia I found out that the USCM is similar to the US army insignia. Though its not exact, there are differences in title and insignia. Also found out that most of the marines don't wear insignia on their BDU's, only Apone and Ferro on her flightsuit. Not sure about Spunkmeyer.

Ranks (Abbreviation)
  • 2nd Lieutenant (2Lt)
  • Master Sergeant (Msg)
  • Corporal (Cpl)
  • Lance Corporal (Lcpl)
  • Private First Class (Pfc)
  • Private (Pvt)

Non Military Ranks
  • Executive Officer (Exo)
  • Flight Lieutenant (FltLt)
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Last edited by Sh0dan; October 22nd, 2010 at 05:31 AM.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Thanks for this.

Yes the insignia is basically from the US army.

The thing that is kinda confusing is the squad. The 4 men team that they call "squad" in the film would actually be a fire team in real life army. While squad is normally a subunit of platoon (around 10 men). A little confusing indeed but it is understandable since it's hard for the production team get every little detail right when there are so many more important issues to worry about. Perhaps Cameron just wrote the "squad" in screenplay because it sounds better.

Though I am not sure how they figured that there are only 2 "sections" per platoon and not more. Perhaps the second dropship in the film. Still it should always be one extra dropship as an reserve no matter how many section there are. So that doesn't really explain it.

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Old October 14th, 2010, 05:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Well during my research I noticed a lot of folks bring things like that up. But the thing is, these aren’t US army or Marine Core. There isn’t anything remotely like the Colonial Marine around today, so the way they are organised isn’t forced to be identical to modern day military organisation and hierarchy. Their organization is fictional.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

I'd still imagine the ranking to be similar to today though. I thought USCM ranking would be more like modern USMC ranking.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

It is similar, its just not identical. The USCM’s are a brand new organisation created in 2101 by the National Security Act, according to the ACMTM.

They are trained to fight in multiple theatres: land, sea, air and space. Really, they are a highly trained elite fighting force, taking bits an pieces from all existing military organisations. That’s why I think they don’t adhere to any one already existing hierarchy or organisation.

As for the smaller squad size, the ACMTM says the “USCM doctrine stresses the need for small, autonomous infantry units capable of operating with or without higher level support on non-linear (ie highly mobile) battlefield.“ In other words less man power with higher mobility and advanced gear.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

One thing that still bothers me is the position of a senior NCO. In the film we see Apone wearing the sergeant first class insignia of the US army. This is the lowest senior NCO rank and is normally assigned as a platoon sergeant (platoon's XO). As in the film, Apone is leading the "section" which should be led by sergeant or staff sergeant. I tend to think that this was some sort of an exception (since the whole mission was strange) because if the actual SFC position would be a section leader than it would create a gap for the junior NCO ranks (SGT and SSG).

Also the table doesn't seem to have a platoon sergeant which is a bit illogical since it makes all the senior NCO ranks redundant.

The way I see it is that platoon is made of 3-4 sections commanded by lieutenant and sergeant first class or master sergeant acting as a platoon sergeant while droid being the assistant. Then sections are led by sergeant or staff sergeant. I would assume Apone was a platoon sergeant who was assigned to the mission for some unknown reason and ended up commanding this single section.

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Old October 15th, 2010, 08:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Path-x View Post
One thing that still bothers me is the position of a senior NCO. In the film we see Apone wearing the sergeant first class insignia of the US army. This is the lowest senior NCO rank and is normally assigned as a platoon sergeant (platoon's XO). As in the film, Apone is leading the "section" which should be led by sergeant or staff sergeant. I tend to think that this was some sort of an exception (since the whole mission was strange) because if the actual SFC position would be a section leader than it would create a gap for the junior NCO ranks (SGT and SSG).
As I mentioned, the insignia’s do not always match the rank title. Apone is actually a master sergeant according to the movie script and his dogtags.

In the USCM organisation it could be that the 1st Sgt insignia is actually the top NCO rank, and now comes with the title Msg. There isn’t enough information available to really put together a detailed picture of rank structure and insignia.

The reality is, the costume department probably just banged that on his uniform without really thinking about it, so that the general audience would see that he is a higher rank solider than the rest of them.

Quote:
Also the table doesn't seem to have a platoon sergeant which is a bit illogical since it makes all the senior NCO ranks redundant.

The way I see it is that platoon is made of 3-4 sections commanded by lieutenant and sergeant first class or master sergeant acting as a platoon sergeant while droid being the assistant. Then sections are led by sergeant or staff sergeant. I would assume Apone was a platoon sergeant who was assigned to the mission for some unknown reason and ended up commanding this single section.
I think the Sergeant fulfils a dual role, both 1st squad leader and Platoon sergeant.

Do you not have the ACMTM path-x?

It makes sense of much of what your talking about with the platoon size. There is actually fairly large section about the shrinking of the platoon and why it was done, but it’s a bit to much to type out, so I’ll just give you the gist of it with this short passage:-

“The abandonment of the ‘triangular’ system of organisation, and adoption of a ‘pair’ or ‘buddy’ system was one of the most radical decisions Marine 70 made. Traditional doctrine was based on the principle of ‘two up and one back’, with two covering elements supported in attack or defence by a third element in reserve. While such an approach was sound, it was incompatible with the need to increase the speed of operations. Since two elements are more easily manoeuvred than three, it made common sense to organise this way on the new fast-track non-linear battlefield. At every level of mobile operations, the ‘buddy’ system is far more flexible; the commander can operate @one up, one back’ both in the attack and defence; or he can operate ‘two up’, with one element over-watching the other, or both piling in together at the schwerpunkt. However, the organisation is less suited to a more static, linear kind of battle; the set-back at Neusheune on Linna 349 is a cautionary example of a Colonial Marine force lulled into a less aggressive, less mobile, defensive mindset. There are ways around this, of course, and even here the ‘buddy’ system, with its ability to break down and cross-attack ever more discrete units has proven to be the solution when local commanders are faced with the need to balance line forces with their reserve.”


It then goes on to talk about the futuristic Colonial Marine equipment and how it makes one marine equivalent to two. etc etc.

Its a great read, you should definitely try to get your hands on a copy. The bits and pieces ive posted here dont really do it justice.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Quote:
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I think the Sergeant fulfils a dual role, both 1st squad leader and Platoon sergeant.
I don't think we understood each other there.

Platoon sergeant is second-in-command in platoon formation and there is only one platoon sergeant in platoon. His responsibility is not leading a squad (section in the table) but his job is to run the platoon and to advise the platoon commander. Similar position is first sergeant (not the actual rank but the man who is unofficially referred as "top") whose job is to manage daily responsibilities of running the company.

Platoon sergeant is missing from that table and it is illogical since that would make all senior NCO ranks redundant. It would be stupid to have 7 ranks for a single position which is position of a section leader. Why not just simply having one sergeant rank if that was the case.

Last edited by Path-x; October 15th, 2010 at 10:00 AM.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ranks and orgnaization of the Colonial Marines

Perhaps the android takes the position as a Platoon Sgt.
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