Men of Gambler Platoon 1944
From early on, multiple factors made it clear that RGTF could not follow one single nations doctrine when it came to the infantry platoon. From simply not having enough troops, to not always having the time to train or simply not having the right equipment. Initial documents indicate the newly dubbed 'Gambler Platoon' was to copy US doctrine of 12 man squads, then the British 10 man section. However these were both deemed unsuitable.
Whilst miltaries of the time were fairly rigid in training for specific roles, RGTF was to go a different way, cross training where possible and only having few specialisations, such as medics. It was often the case that newly enlisted members of RGTF would rotate through numerous roles before settling on a favourite. Because of this, it was decided that squad sizes could be reduced as each man was proficient in various tasks. It would mean the removal of things such as ammo bearers, however, with each person willing to carry extra weight there was little loss in the sustainability of the squad itself.
Medics would be armed, contrary to what many considered 'proper' at the time, with initial thinking the medics simply would not be identified as such with the standard Red Cross. However other friendly units soon insisted that medics be easily identifiable, so the arm bands and helmet paint was soon applied to medic's gear, forgoing protections of treaties signed to protect medical personnel, yet allowing easy identification for friendlies. This was deemed acceptable.
After a short time it was decided the standard RGTF squad would include:
2x MG Gunners
Anti Tank Gunner
Another big change from standard military doctrine was communications. Due to the decrease in Platoon numbers, it was decided squads and the platoon itself could ill afford to send runners to pass messages. It was concluded that each squad be fitted with 2 x Radios for platoon communications, this also allowed the squads to communicate with the rest of the task force should the need arise.
To complement the 4 squads, a small contingent would be attached to Platoon command to offer more direct fire and emergency support to the platoon if needed, it also ensured Platoon command would be able to defend themselves if necessary.
(Note: A fun anecdote, it is believed this 'cutting edge' thinking is what led to the individual squad names)
Below is a series of images found taken either just before the end of the war or shortly after, they appear to be taken in Europe. Possibly taken whilst on assisting with Post - War security efforts in Germany, although this is unconfirmed.
They mostly detail the appearance of each squad member in different theatres. On the reverse was some notes about the equipment on show. Almost as if they were taken just for this!
Attached to 101st Airborne,
CO, XO Platoon Support
Showing off their mortars and 30.cal and flamethrower
Squad Leaders posing infront of a Sherman
From Left to Right:
British, Airborne, Marine, Ranger, Winter
Sql's carried a Thompson or Sten
SCR-536 for comms
Airborne, British, Marine, Winter, Ranger
Armed with an M1 Carbine or sten, also carried a SCR-300 for comms
30.cal's, Bren and BAR on show, these guys bought the fun
Grenadiers infront of an AVRE
Showing off their Garands and Lee Enfield, with grenade attachment
Engineers infront of a Bren Carrier, with Garands and Lee Enfield
note the axe's carried on the webbing, makes them easy to spot.
Gambler Medics, Armed with Garand's and Lee Enfield
Marksman with scopes for their Springfields and Lee Enfield
Anti Tank troops, with PIAT and their 'bazooka's'
It is worth noting that it seems all troops also carried a compliment of medical and offensive equipment suitable to their roles eg, smoke ammo, mines, grenades etc. There is some documentation also that implies there was not a 'standard' amount of items carried and that troops were encouraged to take the extras they think they might need.
From the above images alone, it is evident that RGTF operated in many of the active theaters. I'm hoping to dig out more information on other sections in due time.