Military History/combat ratio



I was asking for the amount of actual trigger pullers in these units. In an infantry bde (army) when one pulls out the forward support battalion, the HHC's for each line battalion and all those on medical profiles and detached duty to the base club, pool, and rec center, the ratio of real grunts to stay behinds was very-very small. Can you elaborate. Larry Weaver
USAR ret.

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Question -
I would like to know how many infantry soldiers are assigned to an army infantry brigade? I know a brigade is around 3500 soldiers but of course many are support troops. How many actual rifleman that is. Same with the USMC? Historicaly, I had heard that in most combat theaters the ratio is 9 support troops for every rifleman. Would that mean that in Iraq with our 140,000 troops that would mean only around 14,000 infantryman? I know that in Vietnam we had around 500,000 troops in 68' but never more than 50,000 actual infantry. Are the same ratios in Iraq? I know that in Afganistan we have 20,000 troops but only one infantry brigage of 3500 troops. What is your findings? THanks. Larry Weaver, Quincy, CA

Answer -
Dear Larry,
         I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but here is the answer to your question:

*The strength of one U.S. Army infantry brigade consists of two to four battalions with the strength typically ranging from between 1,500 to 3,500 personnel. It is usually commanded by a brigadier general or a colonel. A U.S. Army brigade with its assigned personnel and support units will vary with the mission and type of unit. A U.S. Marine expeditionary brigade consists of between 10,000 to 13,000 U.S. Marines. It is commanded by a brigadier general and consists of one infantry regiment and support units. Individual aviation squadrons are task organized to support the mission. In wars that the U.S. have been involved in since the end of World War II; the ratio of U.S. combat troops to combat service support and support have gone from 4 support soldiers to 1 infantryman to 7 support soldiers to 1 infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please rate my response and May God Bless-Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn

Dear Mr. Weaver,
         Once again I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but the answer you require is elusive because of the new U.S. Army's UA or Unit of Action, which will replace the brigade. In other words, the UA (more specifically "grunts") is oriented to the specific mission that it will be assigned. For example, a UA that is ordered to perform a humanitarian mission would be configured then one that was ordered to perform a combat mission. It's all about flexability. I hope this helps. May God Bless-LTC Robert A. Lynn  

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LTC Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard


I can answer both specific and general military history questions from ancient times to the present. I also provide references and footnotes where I obtained the answers from.


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