Field Manual: Platoon Organization

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Chapter 1 Platoon Organization and Makeup


The combat effectiveness of every unit is based on three factors: experience, equipment, and organization. Generally, the latter comes with the former; as a unit gains experience, the individual members grow into a cohesive, organized squad. However, one does not have to wait for combat to develop a command structure – in fact, one should not wait until combat. A well-organized, though inexperienced, unit will always suffer fewer casualties than one in which there is no unit organization.


X-COM derives much of its military organization from the armed forces of its member nations. However, the “traditional” squad and platoon command structure is rendered ineffective by the relatively small size of X-COM. This necessitated major revisions to our organizational ‘template.’

Firstly, squads. Traditionally, they had only one commanding officer – a sergeant or NCO. In the revised structure, they have three officers, one of whom assumes overall command. This allows the squad to break up into semi-independent ‘teams’ of three or four, providing greater flexibility within the squad structure.

Secondly, platoons. Traditionally consisting of two to four squads, led by a lieutenant with an NCO as second, the platoon is the next-largest unit within X-COM. The structure has been kept for this unit; however, the ranking officer and his second may be of higher rank.

Lastly, companies. Since X-COM is not expected to expand beyond five full-sized platoons, the “company” designation is ignored. Again, the ranks – captain with a first sergeant – are regarded as “minimum” ranks for the position.


As stated above, a platoon in a larger army consists of two to four squads, led by a Lieutenant or higher and NCO second. However, X-Com is a Special Forces-only organization, and the platoon is the largest combat unit that will be deployed. Therefore, there will only be six ranks for X-Com agents: Three Enlisted and three Officer ranks.

Rookie = E1-E2 (Private)
Squaddie = E3-E4 (PFC, Cpl)
Sergeant = E5-E9 (Sgt/NCO)
Captain = O1-O3 (Lt, Cpt)
Colonel = O4-O6 (Maj, Col)
Commander = 07+ (General)

X-Com Captains will often serve the same roles as conventional Lieutenants, and the ranks may become filled with Sergeants; hence a veteran X-Com landing platoon (2 or more squads) may be composed of a number of Rookies, Squaddies, and Sergeants, with Captains as squad leaders.

A Captain, Colonel, or even Commander should be on board any landing craft to provide morale for the lower ranked soldiers. This mission commander should be a "Rear Commander" and should primarily perform support, auxiliary, and sniper functions from a protected position.