We thought we’d give a little primer on some of the typical historical tank platoon structures to give you guys a little head-start before all hell kicks-off and full-scale Tank War breaks out!
As a basic guideline, a World War Two tank platoon would typically number from three to five vehicles, depending upon nationality and time period. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule – and particularly during the late war, armoured formations were sometimes thrown together from whatever happened to be available, forming improvised and often mixed combat groups.
The main core of vehicles would often be accompanied to battle by a nimbler command vehicle, who would then answer to the company commander. Armored companies would include three or more troops, and might include additional augmentation from the likes of an HQ Section, a Maintenance Section to ensure that the vehicles were fighting-fit, and Logistics to ferry ammunition and supplies to the front line, keeping the tanks fuelled and ready for whatever came their way.
German Armoured Platoons
German armoured platoons of light or medium tanks (up to and including Panthers,) would consist of five tanks, except in the very early stages of the war when sixes, fours and threes were tried. German heavy tanks were usually fielded in platoons of four.
An example of a common German Medium Tank Platoon would be the following – comprising 5 Panzer IVHs – one of the most numerous German vehicles of the war;
A further example of a German Medium Tank Platoon would be the following Panther platoon – comprising 5 tanks;
An example of a common German Heavy Tank Platoon would be the following – with 4 Tigers (this platoon organisation would be similar for the earlier Tiger IH and the later Tiger II.)
Soviet Armoured Platoons
The Soviet Union fielded tanks in platoons of three – except for the heavier tanks such as KVs. which were fielded in smaller groupings of two.
An example of a common Soviet Tank Platoon would be the following – comprising 3 T34/85s;
An example of a common Soviet Heavy Tank Platoon would be the following – with 2 fearsome IS2s;
American Armoured Platoons
US tank platoons of all types tended to be in fives. Tank Destroyers were organised into fours.
A classic US Armoured platoon would consist of 5 M4 Shermans;
When facing the German big cats, the US forces would call-upon the M10 Tank destroyer, in platoons of four;
British Armoured Platoons
British tank platoons were usually three vehicles, but with the introduction of Fireflies later in the war, they often consisted of three Shermans and a Firefly. US Tank Destroyers under British command via the lend-lease programme were organised into platoons of four.
A classic British Armoured Platoon would consist of three Sherman V tanks lead to battle by a Sherman Firefly VC Command tank;
American M10 Tank Destroyers were up-gunned with the 17pdr for some extra punch, renamed as the Achilles, and fielded in fours by the British;
Italian Armoured Platoons
Italy organised its tanks into platoons of five – while Semovente tank destroyers were used in platoons of four.
Italian Tank Platoons would tend to contain five M13/40s
When they needed a little more anti-armour firepower, Semoventes were called in, in platoons of four;
French Armoured Platoons
French tank platoons were normally organised into platoons of three – apart from the R-35 and H-35 – which were used in fives.
The French Char B1 Bis was one of the most numerous French tanks, and tended to be fielded in platoons of 3;
Whereas the smaller R35 was fielded in fives;
Japanese Armoured Platoons
Japanese tank platoons usually consisted of five vehicles – whether it was their main battle tank, the Chi-Ha, or the more potent Ho-Ro or Ho-Ni;
Remember – no good tanker worth his salt would dare go to battle without those supplies and sundries that are required to keep his vehicle moving – so don’t forget to pick-up your relevant Tank Crew, Stowage Packs, and other armour accessories from the Armoury while you’re perusing our webstore.
Full on tank war!
Fight with full platoons of T34’s versus the Panzer’s, or Sherman, make the battlefield your playground and create your own history!